There is a lot to learn when it comes to modeling leadership styles after strong female role models in our history such as the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, and the late Princess Diana of Whales. To this day, Queen Elizabeth II plays an important role in the monarchy by providing steadfast leadership for her people and striving to keep her country united, safe and strong. The Queen maintains a formal public demeanor and has a democratic leadership approach with a transactional leadership style. Princess Diana also had a democratic leadership approach with more of a transformational leadership style and used her charisma, demonstrating a unique ability to convince others to join her humanitarian efforts. Queen Elizabeth II and the late Princess Diana are both known in history as being very respected and powerful female leaders of their time with some similar and dissimilar leadership styles and qualities.
Queen Elizabeth II, formerly Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, is Queen of England and honored as the 6th female to be crowned. She made history by having served the longest in the British monarchy, since 2007. At only 25 she was propelled into the role of Queen on February 6, 1952 when, King George VI, passed away at an early age of 56 (New York Times, 2015). At such a young age, England required her to do her duty and be the public figure they needed. Despite these difficult circumstances, the Queen showed her strong leadership by handling her new role with both confidence and grace. Over the years, Queen Elizabeth has proven her leadership by her willingness to try new things and be adaptable. For example, she approved changes to the succession laws in 2011, which now allows the firstborn daughters to take preeminence over their younger brothers (Loftus, 2015). Although she has made efforts to embrace some change, she has a high respect for keeping most of the old traditions and customs of the monarchy. The Queen is known for her democratic leadership style by using a calm and firm approach, demonstrating intellectual, tactful and rational leadership. During her speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, the Queen once said, “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together,” (Thiran, 2018). Queen Elizabeth II has many other important leadership qualities that we can learn from.
Another example of how Elizabeth II is a good leader is that she isn’t afraid to ask questions. Her inquisitive nature helps her interact with various ranks of people she meets from Prime Ministers of the UK to common laborers. This shows she is a good listener and demonstrates her personal awareness of those she interacts with, making the effort to understand them to provide valuable leadership lessons in her speeches to commoners. The Queen has proven to be a very loyal and dedicated leader when it comes to public service and her family. She leads by example through her servant leadership style (Third, 2006). Servant leadership is when a leader puts their people first and leads by example to encourage them to be the best they can. Elizabeth II is also noted for her bravery, strong spirit, and capacity to unite her people. For instance, after the terrorist bombings of the London public transport system on July 2005, which killed and wounded many people, she made an address to all of England requesting that everyone unite and be strong in times of tragedy and hardship (Thiran, 2018). The Queen instilled hope and confidence in her people by proclaiming that violence only makes the people of England stronger, and that all people are capable of humanity and respecting the laws for safety. Elizabeth II has always been discrete, especially when she uses social media. She doesn’t make “flashy’ speeches and avoids addressing issues concerning public policy and personal interviews (Geoff, 2015). The Queen has always shown a strong responsibility to protect the royal family’s private issues from being in the negative spotlight. This is the reason she initially refused to address the nation related to the heavily publicized tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997. Her mistake was when she would not allow the British flag to fly at half-staff to show respect. The public reacted negatively to this and expected her to publicly acknowledge the loss of the Princess. The Queen rethought her original decision by making a meaningful address to the people honoring Princess Diana and explaining her actions by expressing that in times of loss, everyone has different ways to cope and deal with initial shock and tend to focus on the concern for those who are left behind (New York Times, 2015). Princess Diana, a leader and role model, will always be remembered as one of the most popular and admired members of the royal family.
Diana Spencer was born in 1961 to a noble British family and in 1981, became Princess of Wales. Princess Diana married Prince Charles, first born to Queen Elizabeth. Initially, Princess Diana had difficulty accepting her royal status, being constantly in the spotlight and felt uncomfortable having a royal title. However, once she had her two sons, Princes William and Harry within three years of their marriage, she started to find herself and become more assertive. The Princess proved to be a very devoted and loving mother which appealed to many women around the world and showed them that a mother could be a leader too. She became insistent in how she raised her children and was very involved in their lives. Diana made her children a priority by ensuring that all her royal responsibilities were scheduled around her children’s agenda. She was a mother first, then a public servant. Princess Diana was determined to raise her boys as normal as possible and often disregarded royal customs. Sadly, Diana’s marriage to Charles was not as successful as her parenthood. There were marital problems which involved infidelity only five years into their marriage. This caused negative publicity for the royal family and relentless paparazzi. The Queen advised a separation due to the negative spotlight, and they divorced in 1996. However, Diana continued to be a leader and role model by continuing her humanitarian work more privately (Liza, 2017). Despite all this, Diana never stopped showing her love for the people and continued helping those in need. She was a true leader from her heart.
Princess Diana was an effective leader with strong beliefs. She had a deep commitment to her charity work and social causes, especially helping HIV/AIDs and Leprosy victims. The Princess helped to raise public awareness of these victims, despite Queen Elizabeth’s disfavor of the nature of her choice of charities. (Liza, 2017). Diana shook hands and embraced people who had diseases with her bare hands, when at the time HIV was thought to could be passed on by touching. Diana helped to de-stigmatize those infected with these diseases. Princess Diana also worked very hard supporting the Red Cross campaigning against the use of land mines in Huambo, Angola. Princess Diana bravely showed her leadership by walking through tested paths of land mines. She was passionate about this due to all the injuries and deaths they caused in post-war time, especially to innocent children (Pettinger, 2010). Many people around the world were floored that a princess would put her life on the line to raise awareness for those greatly in need. Princess Diana campaigned against cruelty to animals, contributed to the British Lung Foundation, National AIDS trust, the British Red Cross Youth and numerous other foundations. Princess Diana’s mission was to devote her life to helping the most needy and who’ve been ignored and disregarded by society (Liza, 2017). She worked to change how people viewed these sicknesses through her personal approach in her humanitarian work. For this, she was referred to as “The People’s Princess”, as she was admired, respected and loved by nearly everyone, “having one of the largest followings in the world” (Ebrahem, 2013). Her strongest leadership traits were the deep compassion she had for people and the sincere kindness she showed everyone she met. Diana had a big heart which fueled her leadership skills and became an inspiration to people that shared her dreams and desires to change the world by putting people first. She was quoted, “Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life – a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are,” (Liza, 2017). Princess Diana, even after death, continues to be one of the sincerest leaders of all time.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana have both similarities and dissimilarities in their leadership styles. Some similarities are that they are both private in their endeavors, viewed as strong/brave female leaders, and set positive examples for mankind. They are similar in their shared democratic and servant leadership styles as well. Both Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana are loved and respected by the public and have demonstrated their servant leadership styles by making a life-long commitment to serving the people, supporting their charities/associations, and making a difference in the world. Some of the dissimilarities between Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana include their choice of charities and involvement in their causes. The Queen is dedicated to serving her country, while Diana broadened her service to everyone around the world. The Queen’s leadership style is more reserved and formal, compared to Diana’s way of interacting with the public. The Queen always wears gloves in public and never shows emotion, while Princess Diana broke tradition and did not wear gloves. Diana preferred direct contact with the people, showing a warmer approach while shaking hands, and stopped wearing hats as well (Schaltegger, 2018). Some of these dissimilarities could be due to the role the Queen plays rather than a princess. A queen is meant to be part of the elite and to act a certain way while in public view. Princess Diana was more modern and took a more relatable approach, which helped to modernize the way royals should portray themselves in the eyes of the world.