As we reach the end of the Platinum Jubilee month, we thought it would be a good moment to reflect on the leadership qualities of the Queen and what could be learnt from her.
“I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm, and their inspiration to work together.” Queen Elizabth II
Eagle Eye Vision
As a leader, the Queen flies alone at high altitude, high above the rest of us. Strong leaders have a different view of things, they see the big picture. Like an eagle, they have strong vision, and undeterred focus. Equally they are able to blur out the noise and distractions that could push them off course.
Lead by Example
Throughout her reign the Queen has lived by the ideal that her role is to serve her country and her people. She treats other people’s work as being as important as her own.
Servant Leadership is a philosophy of leadership where the needs of the employee come first, helping people to develop and achieve their best. The principles of servant leadership include the ability to listen, show empathy and foresight, a commitment to growth and a sense of community. This people focused style of leadership produces strong teams and work cultures. Employee morale and engagement is high and there is lower employee turnover.
The Queen is well known for her inquisitive nature and is always curious to hear from her subjects, young or old. She seems to enjoy asking questions and listens carefully to the answers. There is a lot of research on the value of curiosity in the workplace. Thinking we know all the answers surely only leads to stagnation, while the ability to ask questions and learn from those we come into contact with promotes knowledge and growth. Harvard Business School have written a series of articles on the many benefits of curiosity.
The world has changed enormously throughout the Queen’s life, as has the public’s expectations of the Royal family. Her ability to be adaptable and embrace change has helped her to keep up with these shifts. She used TV to modernise and connect with people on a more personal level. Her coronation was broadcast live to the nation in 1953 and in 2019 she uploaded her first Instagram post.
“I have lived long enough to know that things never remain quite the same for very long.” Queen Elizabeth II
Change is inevitable and strong leaders embrace it, seeing it not as an obstacle but as a chance for expansion and improvement.
Family businesses are the main form of business around the world, and yet very few make it past the third generation. 58% of the UK’s family run organisations don’t have a succession plan in place.
Even though the Queen doesn’t have to carry the weight of who is to succeed her, she has been working to prepare her successors for their roles. Her focus doesn’t seem to be just on the next in line, but also on her grandson. The rumours of William and Kate moving to Windsor highlight her influence over the future of the royal family but also her support for their desire to do things differently. Succession planning is a complicated process. Stepping back slowly, can help develop a dynamic that is going to stand the test of time.
There are many qualities that make a strong leader. Self-reflection and awareness of how we project ourselves are said to be crucial. Presence matters for people in leadership roles. As the Queen says, “I have to be seen to be believed.”