Keep Calm and Carry On

I knew it was bound to happen. I have always had the utmost respect for Queen Elizabeth II, and while I had something else in mind to share in this newsletter, I wanted to take a moment to honor her one last time. While I am a confessed anglophile, what impressed me most about her was the way the Queen composed herself, and her outstanding leadership qualities.

Globally, we have all been touched by one of the longest-reigning monarchs in history. What did she teach the world and what can we take away for our own lives?

Here are seven of her leadership qualities we can learn from:

  1. Vision: When Princess Elizabeth found out that at the age of twenty-five she was to become queen, she addressed the nation with the following statement of her vision: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” She stayed true to her vision her whole life, keeping her promise to the Commonwealth.
  2. Leadership by example: Queen Elizabeth considered her work as service to her country and regarded others’ work in the same manner. She gave instruction by example using the servant-leadership concept instead of passing orders from behind a desk.
  3. Consistent hard work: Her Majesty worked 40 hours a week into her nineties, continuing her same daily routine. It was this habit that allowed the Queen to be efficient, create structure, save time, and reduce the need to plan.
  4. Commitment: She devoted her entire life to her duties as sovereign. The Queen created a positive public image not only in the UK, but throughout the world. She devoted her patronage to more than 600 charities, public service organizations and military associations, generating an extremely busy schedule.
  5. Curiosity: Queen Elizabeth II had a curious mind and was fond of asking questions. She posed these questions of interest no matter who she was speaking to. Whether they be world leaders, celebrities, or the public, people genuinely interested her. She was a fantastic listener and showed keen interest in the answers because she loved to learn. It was easy for people to relate to her.
  6. Respect for others: The Queen believed that respect was imperative. Her motto was “Respect and be respected.” She preferred to maintain a low profile, while letting others shine.
  7. Adaptability: She was openminded when it came to change and embraced the changes that each new decade provided. For example, when she was crowned, she opted to broadcast the ceremony on television instead of radio even though Winston Churchill advised against it. The Queen wanted to connect with the people on a personal level, and media would go on to enhance the importance of the monarchy.

Queen Elizabeth II possessed so many more traits that leaders can learn from. She was excellent at being impartial, devoted to her country and her family. She always took the high road and dealt with issues head-on. She was steadfast and composed under pressure. She maintained the many traditions and protocols of her role with dignity and grace, which was part of the beauty and elegance of the position. And in the end, there is something to be said and honored for a sovereign swearing an oath to the Commonwealth and keeping her promise for 70 years. That alone is magnificent.

Rest in Peace, Your Majesty.


Written by Cathy Heyne, GMS-T, President