It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to steal a top-class formula from a pro for managing people. And it’s not every day that it comes straight out the pages of the fairy tale that is the British Royal Family.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II provided a great blueprint that both senior and middle managers need after Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, ‘revealed all’ to Oprah Winfrey and the rest of the world.
We ‘convicts’ from the real world don’t have a Royal Communications department to lean on when we’re looking to engage our teams and get the best out of them. So let’s wiggle between the weasel words to find the formula behind this great piece of writing entitled ‘On behalf of Her Majesty the Queen’.
Packed with Royal pageantry, including influence, emotional intelligence, strategy, engagement, risk mitigation and how to have a good old-fashioned ding-dong in style, this is the most regal example of people management I’ve seen in ages. Not to mention the finest response in a difficult conversation…
But with a lifetime of diplomatic training and a bevy of servants skilled in writing, we’d expect HRH to be a world leader in diplomacy and effectiveness.
Included in the list of tactics were the odd missing fact and one or two hidden landmines. But take the gold and make it yours. And don’t be shy! Share it around – royalty free (LOL).
So Where Is This Gold-Standard Display of Influence?
Yes, it was a piece of expensive PR, and yes, it was written for world media. But let’s look at the exact words and phrases that make this a piece of EI genius.
Check out the gems from this royal masterclass:
- whole family means all the royals share this opinion, and HRH can speak for them all (shows her authority and a united front)
- saddened shows both empathy and humility
- learn says ‘We didn’t know’, i.e. this is new to us and now we can deal with it
- full means ‘I’m not exonerating myself, but I didn’t know everything’
- challenging hints that it was hard for Harry and Meghan, but HRH isn’t buyingg into the drama
- last few years says ‘It hasn’t always been like this’ – and there is potential for this to change in the future
- issues shows that yes, we take this seriously, we’re not denying how you feel
- race demonstrates that the Royal Family is like all of us, concerned about racism
- concerning could be another way of saying ‘We hear you’
- some recollections may vary means ‘We don’t agree with everything’ (did I mention landmines?)
- very seriously means no messing about, this situation is for real
- will be is a commitment to future action which stops Harry and Meghan from saying no effort has been made
- addressed means looked at directly
- the family implies the UK Royals, plus Harry and Meghan – ‘we’re all in this together’
- privately says ‘No. More. Interviews. Ok?’
- always makes it an unconditional offer
What Details Were Left Out That Make This A Success?
However much of a temptation it might have been, this statement:
× DOES NOT INCLUDE a counter opinion or an argument – it addresses the situation respectfully on Meghan and Harry’s terms.
× DOES NOT INCLUDE any expression of ego – it is about the circumstances, not HRH and how she might feel.
× DOES NOT INCLUDE any attempt to make anyone right or wrong – there is no blame, but a commitment to working together to reach better outcomes.
What Was Included That Makes It So Good?
Here are what I see as the jewels of the statement:
√ It acknowledges the feelings of Harry and Meghan.
√ It signals that their experiences and perspectives have been heard.
√ It is written in a calm, friendly and personable tone, signalling the start of an adult conversation about a serious state of affairs.
All jokes aside, this is a superb piece of writing that contains the perfect ingredients for a workplace culture that engages, inspires and retains staff.
Stick the image on your wall and start using the crown jewels in your own written communication.
Gradually transition to using the hack in your face-to-face conversations and watch how staff engagement improves – as well as your capacity to manage the people around you.
I regularly share mini challenges designed to stretch my spirited managers on the subjects that keep them stuck.
Mini Management Motivator No 248 –
Rummage in your outbox for an email that was written in a hurry – and probably in a huff. An email that comes across as anti-staff engagement, and that could definitely benefit from some spit’n’polish in terms of its emotional intelligence.
Find 3 words or phrases in the email that just bomb your EI score.
Consult your friendly thesaurus for some replacements.
Pop your new words on a sticky note that you will see next time you need to have a difficult conversation.