This week, as all of England throngs to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, there is a lesson to be learned from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Her image is not a fabrication of publicity maneuvers or slick marketing campaigns. Her leadership image is built on a consistent service-oriented philosophy, and a charitable and dignified sacrifice that has become familiar to the subjects of the English Crown for over 60 years. She was a subaltern and drove an ambulance during World War II. She gave comfort and symbolic hope during the London Blitz. She is the genuine article, and although a monarch, instills a sense of duty and service by her actions.
Leaders at all levels and in business, especially, can learn from her remarkable reign as Queen of England. If your people know that you genuinely care, and that their well-being takes precedence above all, and that you humbly believe your status and your standing result from their efforts and support, then very little can shake the foundation of your company or organization. Your people need to hear from you in bad times as well as good times. They need to see you sharing their hardships, and they need to see you recognize their concerns.
“Perfumed Princes,” “Ivory Towers,” “Meddling Ministers” aside, a true leader can expect remarkable achievements from subordinates and respect from competitors from simple practices in communications. After 60 years, the royal persona is not a facade or an act– we too, should be as vigilant in our daily dealings. Communication includes presenting and fostering an image. The image helps shape the environment which yields the quality of productivity and morale. Preserve that image with honesty, service-orientation, and focus not only on your customers or your “bottom line,” but on the people who carry out the daily work of your organization. Do that, and they will respond to you like…well, royalty…