Tragedy? Hero’s journey? Fairy tale? Regardless of how you regard the story, Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi#, and the win of her party in last week’s Burmese elections, has confirmed her place in the politics, history and I suspect mythology of Burma. We can learn much about Fearless Leadership from this amazing woman.
- Align actions with values – Horrified by what she saw during the bloody 1989 military coup when thousands of students were killed, Suu Kyi chose to take action when it must have been tempting to return to her family in England. ‘I could not, as my father’s daughter, remain indifferent to all that was going on.’
- Retain trust and faith in human nature – Given her massive popularity with the Burmese people and ability to create international media attention, the ruling military government felt threatened by her. They held Suu Kyi under house arrest in her decaying Rangoon home from 1989 for 15 of the next 21 years. Throughout this time she retained her faith in people (and herself), and was ready to reengage openly with the world when she was released.
- Ensure clear purpose – All along she has been very clear on her purpose – democracy for Burma – and has successfully united others around this vision. This clarity gave her courage, despite years of being alone, missing watching her children grow up, and being unable to be present when her husband was ill and died in England.
- Communicate to build not bruise – She is truthful, compassionate, and direct, and yet is able to deliver very clear messages in ways that unite and not isolate others.
- Lead with poise and grace – Calm, strong, and refusing to be silenced, her fearlessness was recognised with the 1991 Nobel Prize for peace.
Have I mentioned that Aung San Suu Kyi is my hero? Everything about the way she leads inspires me, and I hope that sharing a little about her here inspires you too.
Have an Extraordinary day