A Letter to Mr. Churchill: “You Are Not So Kind as You Used to Be”
Guest post by Garza Baldwin, www.baldwindavis.com
Below is a nugget that may interest students of leadership. It comes in the form of a letter to Winston Churchill written by his wife Clementine in June 1940, just after her husband became Prime Minister. Speaking truth to power, she makes some observations that we all might wish to preserve in our Emotional Intelligence files. I have excerpted portions of the original post and Mrs. Churchill’s letter, and those interested in the original post can read the full Churchill article here and other letters on the delightful blog called lettersofnote.com.
Full Post Source: lettersofnote.com
It’s difficult to imagine the stress experienced by Winston Churchill in June of 1940, as WWII gathered pace just a couple of months after he first became Prime Minister. Behind the scenes, however, the weight on his shoulders was noticed and felt by all those around him , so much so that on the 27th of the month, his wife, Clementine, wrote him the following superb letter and essentially advised him to calm down and be kind to his staff.
(Source: Winston and Clementine: The Personal Letters of the Churchills, via Mark Anderson)
One of the men in your entourage (a devoted friend) has been to me & told me that there is a danger of your being generally disliked by your colleagues and subordinates because of your rough sarcastic & overbearing manner ˜ It seems your Private Secretaries have agreed to behave like school boys & ‘take what’s coming to them’ & then escape out of your presence shrugging their shoulders ˜ Higher up, if an idea is suggested (say at a conference) you are supposed to be so contemptuous that presently no ideas, good or bad, will be forthcoming. I was astonished & upset because in all these years I have been accustomed to all those who have worked with & under you, loving you ˜ I said this & I was told ‘No doubt it’s the strain’ ˜
My Darling Winston ˜ I must confess that I have noticed a deterioration in your manner; & you are not so kind as you used to be.
The letter goes on to remind Mr. Churchill of the need for what we now recognize as emotional intelligence, even in times of great organizational stress, and it is comforting to know that a leader of Winston Churchill’s caliber needed the occasional reminder from loved ones to be mindful of such matters. Read the full post and letter here.
Enjoy, Garza Baldwin
Garza Baldwin is a principal of Baldwin Davis Group (http://www.baldwindavis.com), a coaching and leadership development firm in Charlotte, NC. Garza specializes in providing such services to law firms and lawyers, other service professionals, and C-suite, senior management and middle management executives.