A Labor MP was recently suspended for making a totally inappropriate remark about another Conservative MP.
It’s possible that it’s not in their nature to be cruel to another human being, but in a hurry, they not only made a cruel comment, they went further before apologizing. The apology was, at best, almost a grudging admission that they’d been slapped in the face in public, but you could tell it lacked sincerity.
Much has been said about the soft power and leadership qualities of our late Queen, and it got me thinking how this applies to all aspects of our lives, no matter where we are and with whom. It applies both in business and in our personal world.
Last year I was fortunate enough to welcome a dog into my world. Like most dog owners, I will say that my dog is no ordinary dog. I grew up with a German shepherd as my father had one when I was about three years old. Owning one, however, is another matter entirely.
You might be wondering what that has to do with “soft power”. I would say anything
In order to get a dog to behave well, you need to give them respect and agency so they can make the right choices. My dog, Oscar, has a lovely temperament. But there is always a risk that he will take me for a walk instead of me taking him for a walk. To be honest, we’re both still learning as we move on.
One of the first things I was drilled into by these wonderful trainers at the Yorkshire German Shepherd Training Center in Calverley was the importance of free leash walking.
Mutual respect, even if we don’t speak the same language. A close lead takes away his agency and shows my fear and it shows my lack of trust and respect for him.
In return, he shows me enormous respect. Well, we don’t share the same language, but we can still understand each other, so why should it be any different for us humans when we’re communicating with others.
This may be a simplistic example between two different species, but it also applies to bringing out the best in us when dealing with our own species.
If a point needs to be made, why not beautiful? I mean, haven’t we learned anything from the horrors of the pandemic that has hit us all and brought us to our knees? Hopefully yes.
It does not make a harmonious world when we speak ill of others and hurt them either by our words or actions.
Her late Majesty had a massive impact, not through aggression but through her restrained wisdom and tact. She was a global leader, not just our head of state.
When President Macron of France paid his tribute, he said she is our queen, but she is the queen. I can’t think of any other leader who is respected in this way. She was a class when it comes to soft power, and why not show her our gratitude by learning to use our soft power on those around us even more than we would like.
In summary, like the loose lead analogy, it’s like leaving people alone and then gaining their trust to influence subtle changes. It may take some time to work, but it has an impact in the long run.
Daxa Manhar Patel is a lawyer, author and executive coach.