Leadership: Royals & The Rest of Us

Friday, April 29, 2011 was an important day in the United Kingdom and provided some escapism for over two billion people around the world who watched some or all of the coverage of the royal wedding. William and Kate fulfilled their roles perfectly, giving the world an opportunity to share fleetingly in their lives, courtesy of high definition television and world wide media coverage. It was fun.

William and Kate and the rest of “The Firm,” as the royal family is sometimes called, clearly live a life much different than us commoners. For one, we don’t have an army of aides ready to fluff our dress or hold our gloves. Though they have a leadership role in their country, and have a vested interest in keeping the monarchy alive and well, that lifestyle is not one that we should expect in any leadership position to which any of us might aspire. Quite the contrary.

Leadership in our world, as we carry out our activities at work, in our homes, in civic and religious life, or in any other pursuit you might mention is better defined by our service to those we lead, rather than the servitude we might mistakenly expect from our followers. If you are a leader who expects curtseys and bows as you walk down the hall, I’ll bet that your list of followers is small.

The most successful leaders, leaders that we want to follow, are those whom help us reach our potentials by challenging us, encouraging us and helping us secure the resources we need to be successful. The body of work on servant leadership is enormous, and it doesn’t describe anything that we see as “Royal Watchers.” Enjoy the fairy tale, but leave it as that: a fun story that someone else gets to live. Now get back to leading your followers by helping them succeed.