Leadership is not a position, or a title, it is action and example. ~Cory Booker
It was hard not to see or hear about the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The event dominated every news (and entertainment) medium for a week. While listening to a Monarchy expert being interviewed on NPR, their perspective on the newest royal couple made me think about what it means to really lead.
This person said that they believed Harry and Meghan would have more influence as to how the Monarchy is viewed or perceived than would Prince William and Kate. Even though, it’s William who is in line to be king. As I’ve contemplated this statement, I thought of four behaviors I’ve seen from Harry and Meghan that could cause this prediction to become reality.
Behavior 1: Challenge the status quo. Their relationship alone is a challenge to the Monarchy status quo. The CNN headline says it all, “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marry in trailblazing ceremony.” However, I would add, they were always very respectful. I think that Travis Bradberry’s quote about influential people describes the new royal couple. “Influential people are never satisfied with the status quo. They’re the ones who constantly ask, ‘What if?’ and ‘Why not?’ They’re not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, and they don’t disrupt things for the sake of being disruptive; they do it to make things better.”
Behavior 2: Let your passions be known. Even before the couple was engaged, I was aware of Harry’s passion for wounded warriors and Meghan’s passion for women’s issues. They weren’t shy about their passions. Steve Jobs said, “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
Behavior 3: Be relatable. One of the reasons the Monarchy expert on NPR believes that Harry and Meghan will be so influential is because they seem to be the most relatable of any of the royal family. And people are more likely to follow someone with whom they can relate. John C. Maxwell describes the importance of being relatable: “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”
Behavior 4: Be authentic. Brene’ Brown defines authenticity as, “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” Ann Fudge said that “Authenticity and knowing who you are is fundamental to being an effective and long-standing leader.” And from the bride herself, Meghan Markle: “The people who are close to me anchor me in knowing who I am. The rest is noise.”
It will be interesting to see how history unfolds for the Monarchy and the newest royal couple. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time Harry and Meghan will be leading on the world’s stage and challenging all of us to think and move in new directions.
Challenge the status quo. Let your passions be known. Be relatable. Be authentic. Leadership is not a position, or a title, it is action and example.