Don McCullough shares a story of hope and encouragement from his writing, Walking from the American Dream, about Winston Churchill. Mc McCullough writes, During World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation he asked them to picture in their minds a parade which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war.
First, he said, would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Then would come the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky.
Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner's caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, 'And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?' And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, 'We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.'
The ability to inspire others is one of the characteristics of a good leader. As the above story illustrated, Churchill was a man of great motivation and leadership. He encouraged a nation during its darkest hours and always lifted the hopes and aspirations of his people.
Churchill recognized that it was the sacrificial labor of everyone that would bring victory and he constantly reminded them of it. His words were not the rhetoric wishful thinking, but a call to persevere and thus alter the course of history. They were reminders for the workers then and are good reminders for us today.
First, he reminded them of the mission. In doing so, he showed them the big picture. Coal production was necessary in order for them to succeed. He also knew that the task was difficult. But instead of focusing on the hardships, Churchill painted a different picture to inspire them. He painted a picture of victory.
As an inspiring leader, it's your task to not just picture success in your own mind, but to articulate it to your people. When your team sees what you see, they are inspired to go there with you.
At the dedication ceremony of Disney World in Orlando, Mrs. Disney was being introduced to speak. Her husband, Walt Disney, had already passed away by this time. During the introductory remarks, the emcee said, I wish Walt Disney could have seen this.
Upon taking the podium, Mrs. Disney said, He did. It's visionary leadership that attracts top talent to your cause, and when the banner of success and accomplishment is raised, it will spur your team to success. Churchill's' reminder was not just of the mission, but also that despite the current hardships, they were on the way to victory.
Second, he reminded them of the power of teamwork. In calling upon the services and sacrifices of the workers, he pointed out the various key players and their contributions to victory.
He spoke of the sailors, the soldiers, and the pilots who would be honored in the parade. Then he did something fascinating as a leader. He spoke of the men who were deep in the earth with their faces to the coal - the miners.
You see, not every team member is a visible team player, but every team player is valuable. Churchill knew that some would call into question where the scraggly miners were during the conflict knowing they would not receive the same affection as a soldier, sailor, or a pilot. But Churchill knew of their contribution, and would not allow them to be forgotten. In fact, he had them in the parade.
As an inspiring leader, it's your job to honor all of your team, not just the ones out front. Without team members with their faces to the coal, you may not enjoy the success you have today.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.
You will experience success in your organization when you focus on your mission and when you unleash the power of teamwork. And if you really want to know who the real leaders on your team are, they are easy to find, they have their faces to the coal.