The UK is in the throes of a big celebration Coronation weekend. It has made me think about what it might feel like to actually wear a crown.
While most of us will never actually wear a physical crown, we may find ourselves metaphorically donning one in our daily lives.
Whether it’s taking on a leadership role at work or being a role model for our family and friends, we all have moments where we are looked up to and expected to set an example.
What would it be like to wear a symbolic crown every day, and how might it affect the way we speak and act?
Years ago during my Cranfield MBA, we did a course entitled “Stepping into Leadership” – it was all based around Shakespeare’s Henry V. It was actually taught by Richard Olivier, Laurence Olivier’s son. Henry V provided a template for leaders to evaluate themselves and examine their big projects. Henry must step into a new role, gather a diverse team together, agree on a big project and then overcome significant difficulties on the journey towards a great victory against the odds.
And Henry wears a crown, of course!
- Recognise the responsibility that comes with wearing a symbolic crown. When we are seen as leaders or influencers, our words and actions carry more weight. We have the power to inspire and motivate others, but we also have the power to disappoint or even hurt them. So, we need to be careful about what we say and do, always keeping in mind the impact it might have on those around us.
- Strive for humility – Wearing a symbolic crown might influence the way we carry ourselves. Just as a physical crown can make us feel taller and more regal, a symbolic crown can give us a sense of confidence and authority. But we must be careful not to let this confidence turn into arrogance or a lack of empathy for those around us. Instead, we should strive to be humble and compassionate, always listening to the needs and concerns of others.
A royal riddle – just for fun!
You’re the chief advisor to an eccentric king who needs to declare his successor. He wants his heir to be good at arithmetic, lucky, and above all else, honest. So he’s devised a competition to test his children, and ordered you to choose the winner. The future of the kingdom is in your hands. Can you find the worthiest successor?
3. Being our best selves – wearing a symbolic crown might make us be more mindful of our behaviour in general. Others will be watching and looking to us for guidance, so we need to lead by example. This means being mindful of things like our work ethic, our communication skills, and our ability to handle conflict. That demands strong self-awareness, empathy and a willingness to put our egos and our own perceptions to one side as well as commit to integrity as one of our strongest values.
We may never wear a physical crown, yet we can all find ourselves in positions of leadership and influence. When this happens, we need to be mindful of the responsibility that comes with it, always striving to be the best versions of ourselves and setting a positive example for others to follow. Not always easy to do but next time? Imagine you are wearing a crown!