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Sir Winston’s key to rallying people

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Ever wondered how leaders lift their people out of a disheartening situation? Here’s the key: Offer them a reputation they’re proud to uphold.

Example: In June 1940, Great Britain suffered a defeat to the Nazis at Dunkirk. After that demoralizing loss,Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons. Here’s part of what he said:

“We shall fight in France. We shall fight in the seas and oceans. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.”

Lesson: No Pollyanna, Churchill acknowledges that England’s air corps is unsteady, that the enemy might invade, and that British citizens may have to defend their cities and towns, street by street.

At the same time, he emphasizes England’s growing strength and confidence, uses the formal “shall” to declare his certainty, and never admits that defeat is possible.

Churchill held up his countrymen’s reputation for tenacity, and their actions, in turn, met his challenge.

— Adapted from 25 Ways to Win With People, John C. Maxwell and Les Parrott, Nelson Business.

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