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For He Who Would be King

January 31, 2011

I saw “The King’s Speech” (finally) over the weekend.  I teared up and cheered and clapped as the theatre broke into spontaneous applause at the rousing conclusion.  My friend Matt Charney over at Monster Thinking interviewed Tom Hooper, the director of the movie just last month.  I encourage you to go and read it here for some good thoughts on leadership.

The future King George VI seemed terrified at the concept of being thrust into a role for which he didn’t feel prepared.  Nor could he imagine disrupting the commonwealth by ascending to the throne over his brother.  But not only did he rise to the occasion, this ‘Reluctant Leader’ admirably rose to the challenge.  The film chronicles not only the development of his own self-confidence, but also shows us the development of a deep and abiding friendship between the King and his speech therapist.


The film got me thinking, however, about the flip side to the Reluctant Leader – the individual who wishes to be a leader.  That individual who is desperately aching to impart their vision to others and move their group, company or organization towards a better state.  A person who is bursting at the seams to change things, provide new thinking or bring a blast of excitement to the status quo.

Your organization quite probably has employees who have the ideas and the energy and just wish they could share them.  But they are finding it difficult to be heard.  Maybe they’re early in their career or maybe they’re simply in a company with well-defined ideas of hierarchy and protocol and top-down decision making.

These individuals have a great desire to make a difference, implement change, focus on moving things forward.  And they feel they can’t.

Are you providing an environment where your “would be leaders” are given the opportunity to flex their leadership muscles?  Do you have a way of identifying these ‘would be Leaders?’  And once you do, are you allowing them to lead projects or activities?  Are you providing them with experiential learning. feedback and some form of mentoring?  Have you provided them with goals based on their development needs… and are you assessing and evaluating their achievement?

Sometimes it’s easy to get hindered by the thought that leaders are defined by the title they have or the office in which they sit.   But you have ‘would be Leaders’ all around you.  Don’t let them wither away.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 31, 2011 7:01 am

    Good questions. For years I felt the only way I could advance my career was to move within in my (large) organizations to other sub-corps or leave entirely. Now I look at the workforce and do not want that happening with the motivated young professionals on our team. A major leadership development project is on the radar for me this year, and your post is a timely reminder to ensure I’m addressing those without a fancy title too.

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