Leaders – This Is How To Show People You Really Care!
February 18, 2014
Last week we blogged about the floods and how frustrated many people have become with the management of the crisis by Government Agencies and Politicians. Many leaders have visited the stricken areas and stood about in wellingtons looking at the murky waters before getting a tractor tour.
On Friday (Valentines Day) however two brothers appeared unexpectedly to help the relief effort. The Duke of Cambridge and his brother Prince Harry joined colleagues from the armed forces helping the flood effort in Berkshire. They started working at 6am in Datchet helping homeowners protect their properties with sandbags. Kensington Palace later released a statement that said: “They wanted to show their support for the flood victims and have joined the armed forces’ relief effort.”
It was intended to be a private visit and was unannounced (compare that to the formal, pre-planned ‘photo opportunities’ and visits made by political figures) but television cameramen and photographers followed every move of the pair once they had been spotted. Prince Harry was clearly annoyed when asked by reporters if he was enjoying helping, he replied: “Not really, with you guys around.” I am sure they would both have been totally happy to have worked for the day with Army colleagues and then disappeared without a single photograph or publicity statement.
Hardly surprising to me though that they decided to help in such a practical way. It is clearly in their DNA as their parents have done similar things in the past. Diana the Princess of Wales worked tirelessly and practically to help victims of AIDS and to help rid the world of land mines.
To me it is ironic that our British Royal Family do more to be seen to get their hands dirty than our elected politicians. Do they think it would be bad for their reputations?
I love those TV shows where senior leaders take on a disguise and go undercover “Back to The Floor” for a few weeks. Talk about an eye opener! These programmes do much to build understanding between workers and bosses and one thing always comes out of these programmes for the leaders’ involved, increased respect from their workforce. To see their ‘ivory tower’ leaders be prepared to take on manual tasks and ‘get stuck in’ can work wonders for morale.
My message to politicians is be less political, be prepared to say sorry once in a while and just occasionally give practical help rather than just arrange for others to do it for you! I have exactly the same message for business leaders too!