There are plenty of books on business leadership to help
you perfect your skills, but we should take inspiration from Queen
Elizabeth II who is celebrating 60 years in the same
Essentially the Queen took over as the head of the family
business as an inexperienced 25-year-old and has steered the firm
through good times and bad times, inspiring awe and admiration
while representing the country at home and abroad.
She has attended an estimated 30,000 events and still has 450
official events every year and though she may increasingly delegate
events to younger family members, she has no plans for
While business leaders often head down the golf club as they
enjoy early retirement, the Queen is not planning on giving up the
day job any time soon.
So here are five lessons from the monarch to inspire small
As the country's leader and figurehead the Queen gets invited to
some incredible events and meets lots of interesting people
from all walks of life. But exciting as that life style may seem,
it is sure to get tiresome and tedious at times. Being an
experienced professional networker, the Queen doesn't give off any
hint of boredom as she represents the country abroad, making
connections, working relationships and bringing in business as the
sales person in chief for Great Britain.
In your business - especially as a start-up - it is absolutely
essential that you develop and nurture relationships by working the
conferences and attending relevant events. You need to get yourself
out there to make sure your business image is maintained and to
strike up potential partnerships.
When the Queen of Denmark celebrated her 25-year wedding
anniversary, she famously came to the window of the royal palace
straight from bed and greeted the people with her long hair
uncombed and still in her dressing gown. That would be unthinkable
for Queen Elizabeth. While she lets the public in slightly - we
know of her love of racing and her dedication to her pet corgis -
she keeps a respectful distance from the people. We know plenty of
juicy details of the lives of her children and grandchildren, but
the Queen has drawn up firm boundaries between herself and the
When you have staff in your business it is equally important to
have a respectful and friendly relationship with your employees,
but you need to keep a certain distance. They are not your friends,
but at the same time you want to keep a good relationship, so it is
important to strike a balance.
Queen Elizabeth has a fairly well established image: prim and
proper, professional in her approach and always well turned out.
She has never pretended to be someone she is not. Legend has it
that her private secretary once attempted to include a joke in her
speech and was promptly told to remove it. The message was that she
didn't do jokes; it was simply not her style. It's an admirable
attitude to have at a time where a gimmick is appreciated and it is
tempting to be showy. She knows people will see through her
if she isn't genuine.
This is easily applied to entrepreneurs and business leaders;
don't try to be someone you are not. If you show the world who you
are, people are more likely to understand your proposition. It's
simple - if they 'get you' and like what they see, your business
will prosper. If you pretend to be someone you're not and get found
out, it could cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
Learn to bounce back after a setback
The Queen has shown time and again that peeling yourself off the
ground after a setback is crucial in her position. And, like any
business, the royal family has seen its fair share of difficult
moments. Labelling it her "annus horribilis", the
monarch has said 1992 was the most difficult in her
career. The year saw Prince Charles separate from Princess Diana
who also published a scandalous tell-all autobiography, Princess
Anne also got divorced and Prince Andrew's estranged wife, Sarah,
appeared in the tabloids, having her toes sucked.
Fast forward five years when Princess Diana died and the royal
family took several days to react amid a public outpouring of
grief; it's safe to say the royals' popularity was dwindling. Yet,
recent polls have revealed that the royal family is now more
popular than they have been in a long time.
You have got to learn to deal with difficult customers, ride the
choppy waters and get back on your feet. A bad review can be hard
to take but there's always a way round it.
Accept the need to delegate
While the Queen has never known any different from royal life,
there must have been moments where she craved more normality.
There's no chance of her popping out for a pint of milk, or going
shopping for clothes - she has had to accept that other people had
to do these jobs for her throughout her whole life. Equally as she
gets older she will need to enlist her children and grandchildren
to carry out official visits and other public duties.
In business too, there are many things you couldn't - and
shouldn't - spend your time on. You need to trust people to do the
jobs for you, and as they do they represent you and your