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Nanny McPhee Returns… to Leadership?

Can the new movie Nanny McPhee Returns possibly have any ties to Leadership? Is Nanny McPhee a Contagious Leader? Really?

As you may have guessed, I’m a movie fan. In fact, I think I’ve about decided that in another life I must have been a movie critic as I am one of these goof balls who will go to a movie any night of any week and preferably on opening night of whatever the movie is. I love the movies (oh, and the popcorn, an occassional pretzel and twizzlers!) and believe it or not, in most of them, I take notes. Yep, I’m just weird, but I digress…

In the original Nanny McPhee movie, as well as Nanny McPhee returns, both written and starred in by Emma Thompson, this “army of nannies” who is not hired, but “deployed”, a rather frightful looking nanny arrives on the scene with 5 lessons to teach. What if we were that clear on what our five lessons to teach were when we got promoted into leadership? Hmmm…

In the first movie, her lessons were:

1) go to bed when you are told
2) get up when you are told
3) Listen
4) get dressed when you are told

and I had to imagine, what if our sole goal in life was to ensure that employees arrived on time, punched out on time to prevent overtime, did what we asked, and listened to our instructions, while we listened to their feedback? Might be a nice place to work.

However, in the second movie, when she “returns” at the request of a child she “Nannied” (is that a verb) in the first movie, her lessons have become a bit more advanced. In this movie, the lessons are:

1) Stop Fighting
2) Share with Each Other
3) Help Each Other
4) Be Brave
5) Have Faith

These lessons got me thinking even more. In other words, it sounds to me that if she were talking to leaders, she might be saying:

1) Eliminate office negativity and back biting and taking things personally all the time in our communication

2) Look out for the team members and give more than you expect to get; share knowledge; share resources

3) Be a mentor who values group accomplishment over singular achievement; the efforts of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts or contributions; help those you lead when you coach them instead of telling how much they messed up

4) Know that tough times make you stronger and that fear is something you stare down and move through, not something that is supposed to stop you in your tracks.

5) Believe in yourself; believe in those you lead; trust your instincts and have a sense of Contagious Confidence

So, if it is possible to learn leadership from a magical, ficticious nanny, then I think we’ve accomplished a sixth lesson in this post:

6) Pay Attention

Stay Contagious!

Monica Wofford

Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.


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Monica Wofford

Named one of Meetings and Conventions Magazine’s FAVORITE SPEAKERS! She’s been seen on CNN and FOX and has spoken in 25 countries! Monica Wofford is an internationally acclaimed leadership development expert who engages audiences and teaches them how to become better leaders. Learn more about how to book Monica as your next keynote speaker.

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