Key themes encountered:
As we stood in front of St. George’s Cathedral within the walls of Windsor Castle we gazed upon a military music presentation which evolved into a parade of Windsor Castle guardsmen exiting the castle in a show of pomp and regality. We came to a collective consensus of the kinds of elements of hard and soft power present in this passing military formation, especially when an eager tourist intimated at getting in the way of a moving squad of guardsmen and was met with a show of force and an intimidating cry of “Make way for Windsor Castle Guard!” It was comical to see what was once a harmless photo-op turn into a threatening moment for tourists who expected to get a head-on shot of marching men in large black books.
These remnants of a once powerful monarchy are used to England’s advantage in exporting to the world a royal image we “commoners” could only dream of experiencing. It attracts tourists and a large revenue as visitors get to tour castles, walk on the graves of kings, and witness the performances of ceremonial guards. Nonetheless, the monarchy, although more a figurehead when it comes to the United Kingdom’s legislative processes, is still a head of state. The castles are their residences, a line of princes stand ready to inherit the throne, and the Windsor Castle Guard are primed to not only use force in their duties but to give their lives in service to the queen.
When we consider the types of power able to be wielded, I would argue leaders should not be so quick to elevate the preference or virtues of soft power versus hard power, rather, leaders need to be prepared to demonstrate both as the Lord leads and enables. No two people are alike and conditions always differ; as such, leaders can hope to find understanding from the leadership successes and failures of others, however, wisdom in using influence requires guidance by the Holy Spirit.
Depending on which we use, different tactics may produce the same outcome but consequences beyond that outcome may be different. For example, if I say to an individual, “May I pass, please?” I will likely get the same desired result from the individua by yelling, “Get out of my way!” But there will likely be a stark difference in the lasting impressions I leave. Yet, I can think of situations in which yelling “Get out of my way!” may be entirely appropriate and not harshly received; i.e. riding my bike down a crowded sidewalk when I’ve lost the ability to brake. For secular audiences they might perceive the use of power in leadership to be both science and art, and there is much reason to consider the validity of this assessment. However, for the Christian it is neither science or art, but as Scripture so aptly demonstrates, it is only Spirit-led.