Individualism is important for leadership. Here 5 leadership skills and lessons taken from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Royal departure.
- Do what you believe is right
- Break away from traditions
- Don’t let anything negative stand in your way
- Discuss conflict privately
- Prioritise work-life balance
The biggest news story of 2020 so far hasn’t been Trump’s impeachment or the conflict between Iran and the US. It hasn’t been the rampant and devastating Australian fires. Nope, it has been the story of a young royal couple deciding to go it alone… Whether you are interested in the lives of Harry and Meghan or indifferent to them, the story of their partial ‘defection’ from the British royal family is impossible to miss.
Why is it such huge news? Well it’s no secret we live in a celeb/public figure obsessed society, but perhaps there is something more going on? Perhaps two 30-somethings bucking tradition and putting their nuclear family before what is expected of them is tapping into something in our global zeitgeist?
Whether you like the move, hate it or couldn’t care less, there is no doubt the couple showed leadership and courage when announcing their decision. There is a lesson in everything, so what can aspiring leaders learn from the Megxit situation?
What leadership skills and lessons can young leaders learn from Megxit?
1. Do what you believe is right – even if it causes conflict:
When Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex came to the realisation that their family unit needed distance from the British media in order to thrive, they stuck to their plan even in the face of tremendous opposition.
The lesson for leaders is that if you know what the right move is for yourself and your team to succeed – whether this is starting a new digital division, shifting employees into a new team or changing terms of employment to make people more accountable – go for it. Deal with any backlash as diplomatically and kindly as possible, but don’t back down.
2. Break away from tradition
Resistance to change is a very common human trait. While the story surrounding Harry and Meghan is complex, and the amount they cost the British taxpayer is at the forefront of a lot of the controversy, resistance to the senior royals not doing what senior royals do is likely also part of the backlash.
Young leaders wanting to craft a new role and make changes are opening themselves up to opposition. They should have a firm plan for how to handle resistance from the ‘old guard’. A change management programme is a good place to start, where people are given the chance to voice their concerns and be taken on a journey to demonstrate how the change will benefit them and the business in the long run.
3. If there is something negative/toxic standing in your path to success or happiness, sort it out!
The British tabloids are brutal; their quest for sales and clicks is placed above the emotional wellbeing of the people they cover. They went after Meghan in a way that became unbearable for the family. As a result, Meghan and Harry have chosen to remove themselves, at least partially, from the public eye.
What can a young leader learn? That toxic forces should be stopped in their tracks. First prize is to deal with them through conflict resolution and mediation from HR. If that fails, concrete moves should be made to shift them away.
4. Discuss conflict privately
While we don’t know how much pre-discussion took place before the big Megxit announcement, it would most definitely have been preferable for the Royal Family to present a united front and collectively announce the changes being made. Instead, the family was supposedly blindsided by a social media announcement from the couple, resulting in a very public controversy.
The lesson? Try to resolve matters directly with those closely involved in a situation to keep the internal conflict away from the public eye. This can cause lasting reputational risk.
5. Prioritise your own work-life balance
An oldie but a goody, you only live once! It is not hard to imagine the departing couple saying that their little boy will only be young once and spending time being in the line of fire of a brutal British press is not how they choose to spend his precious early years.
Similarly, with all young leaders, finding a balance between work and your private life should be a priority. This will help you keep perspective on what is important in life and ensure that your maintain sanity during your working hours.
If you’re looking to succeed and thrive in your leadership role, why not enrol in our Leadership Principles and Practices course. This will provide you with strategic and operational leadership knowledge and skills to empower people, to build sustainable high performing organisations.