Last week I had the privilege of being in the audience as Prime Minster Justin Trudeau was interviewed at a client conference in front of more than 2,000 business leaders from around the globe. Regardless of your political point of view, Trudeau is an exceptionally gifted presenter and, to me, his comments were a reminder of what is truly important in leadership. As I listened, I was reminded of the lesson we often give to our speaker coaching clients – it all comes down to storytelling.
Below is my summation of the 5 key takeaways for leaders.
1. Live and Work by Your Values
Trudeau feels strongly that one “can only lead well if they are clear about the values that best represent them.” This can be challenging when facing complex issues and diverse stakeholders. Trudeau suggested that if you have identified and articulated your core values, you can more easily make decisions, help others with their challenges, and face adversity head on.
2. Surround Yourself With Diversity
When asked about the importance of diversity Trudeau responded, “If you don’t include women as well as people from diverse backgrounds on your boards, advisory teams or working groups, you really are missing out.” Surround yourself with people whose experience, background and thinking challenges your own. The outcome will be a more robust evaluation process and better decisions.
3. Be Disciplined
Believe it or not, whenever possible, Trudeau goes to bed by 10 p.m. and gets up at 6:30 a.m. Like any self-aware leader, he knows that to be at his best, to do his job well and to be a good father to his children, he must exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. This lifestyle takes discipline, and as Trudeau jokes, he’s “… had to eliminate late night TV from [his] diet!”.
4. Know Your Story
Early in the interview, Trudeau was asked about the most important skills for a leader’s development. His answer? “Listen and know your story. As a leader, it’s important that you are clear what you’re working towards and that you can clearly communicate that story.” The more ingrained your story narrative is in your daily dialogue, the easier it will be to move your ideas and people forward; at Talk Boutique, we call this your statement of purpose.
5. Question Everything
When asked how leaders can deal with “disruption”, Trudeau shared that he feels disruption has become a bit of a buzzword and is amused that some think they can control it. He did, however, give some wise advice around thriving in the face of disruption. “I believe we need resilience, not strength. That we should question everything.” Curiosity truly is a stepping stone to resilience.
Trudeau clearly knows his story and his statement of purpose, as reflected in much of his advice. He is clear on who he is and what he is creating for Canadians. These lessons told so succinctly by our national leader allows us all to better navigate today’s unsettled political waters. They remind us of the importance of values, diversity, discipline, storytelling and curiosity and are invaluable to all and particularly for aspiring leaders.