Below is a post I was going to post a few weeks back and didn’t. I don’t know why. Now that The King’s Speech won the Academy Award for best picture I’ve decided to resurrect it. I’ve reread it and like it.
Peggy Noonan in her article, The Captain and The King in The Patriot Post, talks about the lack of maturity rampant amongst leaders today.
I agree with Ms. Noonan. We live in an age where anything goes and being seen, as a “one of the guys or gals” is more important than showing authority and leadership.
The example Ms. Noonan gives is the relieving of the captain of the USS Enterprise, Owen Honors, of his duties because of his “lewd,” “raunchy,” “profane,” and “ribald” behavior.” Honors is a man who couldn’t distinguish his role from those he led, acting more like a deck hand than a leader.
Ms. Noonan cleverly contrasts Capt. Honors’ despicable behavior with the glowing reviews being given to the movie “The King’s Speech.” The movie portrays King George the VI unselfishly showing the ultimate in maturity as he reluctantly accepts the throne when his brother abdicates. With war impending, this is a time of crisis and England needs maturity.
A shy man with a hopeless stammer, in the movie King George sobs, “I am not a king;” he is by training and nature, a naval officer. Although not groomed to be king, throughout his reign, he was the symbol of leadership.
Here are some lessons learned on acting mature and as a leader from the notebook of King George VI.
He led by example by remaining with his wife at Buckingham Palace throughout the war despite nightly German bombing raids.
He did not have a personal agenda. He gave up the private and personal family life he would have preferred for the well being of his country.
He kept morale up by sharing the same deprivations – food rationing restrictions - as everyone else.
He was a role model and showed indefatigable determination by visiting citizens throughout England and was seen as a symbol of national resistance.
He remained optimistic by letting the people of Britain know that he believed in them and their ability to withstand hardship.
He communicated often and directly and plainly never shielding Britain from the realities of war. He began one message with, “The decisive struggle is now upon us” and ended it with, “It is life or death for all.”
He showed courage and that you can be “one of the boys” yet remain a leader by visiting Allied armies on several battle fronts and toured the home front extensively showing symbolic leadership in Britain which was crucial during WWII.
So, let’s hear it for King George and what it means to be a true leader!