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By Fred Kofman

Philosopher and Vice President at Linkedin

What a leader does for followers is turn anxiety into confidence.” Marcus Buckingham

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother.” William Shakespeare (Henry V)

Every man dies. Not every man lives.” William Wallace, Braveheart

“The opposite of a small truth is a falsehood,” a teacher once told me, “but the opposite of great truth is another great truth.”

In my last post I claimed that a true leader has no followers. In this one I affirm that people follow a true leader.

Fight For The Flag?

“Fight for the flag” is a figure of speech. People fight for what the flag symbolizes. Similarly, “follow the leader” is a figure of speech. People follow the vision through the leader. A leader embodies the vision, the mission and the values that unify a team.

A true leader also empowers the team establishing a personal relationship with each team-member. The team becomes thus “a band of brothers.”

Finally, a true leader offers those who follow him or her a sense of success beyond success based on the absolute integrity of pursuing a noble goal in alignment with noble values.

Here is Kenneth Branagh as Henry V, giving Saint Crispin’s Day Speech. Politics and militarism aside, see how he inspires people to be heroes (“I”), in community (“We”) and achieving great feats (“It”).

WESTMORELAND

O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING HENRY V

What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;

     And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

SALISBURY

My sovereign lord, bestow yourself with speed:
The French are bravely in their battles set,
And will with all expedience charge on us.

KING HENRY V

     All things are ready, if our minds be so.

WESTMORELAND

Perish the man whose mind is backward now!

KING HENRY V

Thou dost not wish more help from England, coz?

WESTMORELAND

God’s will! My liege, would you and I alone,
Without more help, could fight this royal battle!

KING HENRY V

Why, now thou hast unwish’d five thousand men;
Which likes me better than to wish us one.
You know your places: God be with you all!

MONTJOY

Once more I come to know of thee, King Harry,
If for thy ransom thou wilt now compound,
Before thy most assured overthrow:
For certainly thou art so near the gulf,
Thou needs must be englutted. Besides, in mercy,
The constable desires thee thou wilt mind
Thy followers of repentance; that their souls
May make a peaceful and a sweet retire
From off these fields, where, wretches, their poor bodies
Must lie and fester.

KING HENRY V

Who hath sent thee now?

MONTJOY

The Constable of France.

KING HENRY V

     I pray thee, bear my former answer back:
Bid them achieve me and then sell my bones.
     Good God! Why should they mock poor fellows thus?
     Let me speak proudly: tell the constable
We are but warriors for the working-day;
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch’d
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There’s not a piece of feather in our host–
Good argument, I hope, we will not fly–
And time hath worn us into slovenry:
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim;
And my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night
They’ll be in fresher robes, or they will pluck
The gay new coats o’er the French soldiers’ heads
And turn them out of service.
If they do this,–
As, if God please, they shall,–my ransom then
Will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour;
Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald:
They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints;
Which if they have as I will leave ’em them,
Shall yield them little, tell the constable.

Readers: How do you turn anxiety into confidence for yourselves and your teams?

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