Leaders come in all shapes, sizes and from all walks of life. Their experiences and paths to leadership are as varied as their histories. And many leaders, as I’ve discussed in previous posts, are atypical leaders. They don’t lead companies or divisions or departments. Sometimes, as in the case of Anne Frank, they lead by saying what others can’t or won’t say and often in daunting circumstances. That Anne Frank did so beginning at the young age of 13 is impressive. And that her set of circumstances were the worst that humanity have seen make it all the more remarkable.
Along with her family, Anne spent most days – from 8:30 in the morning until after 5 in the evening – in near utter silence. An outgoing girl, she struggled more than others with the cramped space, confined schedule and inability to be expressive. Hence the diary. It was a way for her to say what she was thinking and to talk about what went on in that cramped space each day.
In addition to being the ultimate documentation of the hiding, fear and discovery that was the Holocaust, her diary was also a two year lesson in patience, perseverance and ways to handle conflict and fear among a small group of people. I highly recommend reading (or re-reading) The Diary of Anne Frank. In addition to the heartbreaking situation and the compelling, true story, you will find some nuggets of leadership wisdom that may help you from time to time.
“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
“Happiness. That’s something you can’t achieve by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy.”
“I shall not remain insignificant. I shall work in the world for mankind! I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living, even after my death.”
“Beauty remains, even in misfortune. If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance.”