Leadership From Europe

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Leaders instill belief in their followers.  Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Normandy Battlefields and a subsequent visit to London to visit the Winston Churchill Bunkers. Our tour guide, named Donna, did a tremendous job of incorporating her story into the tour.  Donna spoke of her grandmother, who recalled sitting by her radio each night in London listening to the captivating, invigorating and inspiring speeches from Churchill.

I kept reflecting on her story and as I was touring the museum, I wondered what made Churchill such an exceptional leader.  There are three reasons, that I observed during my tour:

1.) Inspired Belief:  Donna’s grandma or “Mammaw” as she coined it, spoke of those radio speeches as times of hope.  The bombs were exploding in the background and people were sleeping on the subway platform, yet the British believed that they were going to make it through and they would not be defeated.  Simply put, Churchill inspired belief, during a time when there was very little to believe in.

2.) Provided Hope: Although, the reality was grim, there was hope that the world would once again be free.  Churchill visited the sites of burning buildings and bomb shattered homes to stay connected to the true cause. His advisors said that this was far too dangerous, but Churchill insisted.  He stated that this was the only way to know the cause to which he was fighting for.   His convincing speeches convinced the British that they would win and claim the day.  His very presence instilled hope because he was present with the people.

3.) Focus On The Vision: Churchill had a vision in his mind of a free Europe.  He focused on this vision during a time of great crisis.  In the quote in the picture below, Churchill describes the emotions of being tasked with leading Britain through the war.  It was his story, that gave him great confidence. It was the power of his life experiences, lessons and failures that gave him supreme confidence to make it through such a challenging time.

You have the ability to influence others in a positive manner.  Your team needs to believe that they can accomplish their goals and reach their vision.  Your team needs to understand reality and be given hope that the future will be better than the present.  As a leader, continue to emphasize the vision.  IMG_2172 (1)