In the now viral video, actor Kate Winslet was recently being interviewed by a young journalist regarding her career and recent movie, Avatar: The Way of Water. The young woman nervously blurted out to the famous actor that this was her first time giving an interview. Winslet’s response was an example of her kindness and humanity, to be sure, but it was also a master class for any leader in an organization.
Be Present in the Moment: We know nothing of what preceded that moment for Kate Winslet. But she immediately focused on what she had been told: that this was this young woman’s first interview. I imagine a lot of famous people might have looked around in irritation, thinking “What a waste of time!” Instead, she was present. She leaned forward, made eye contact, and said “O.K., Well, guess what? When we do this interview, it’s going to be the most amazing interview ever.”
As leaders, we have moments all throughout the day when we interact with people in our organizations. Do we take the time to stop and be present, or are we physically present but mentally somewhere else? Do we stop to recognize the other person? Do we acknowledge that person’s worth by listening, acknowledging them, being as focused as Kate Winslet was in that interview?
My late father was a busy attorney. I recall riding my bicycle down to his office on occasion. It has been more than 50 years since that last happened, but I remember vividly what happened when I arrived, always unannounced, and no doubt in the middle of a busy day. He would come out from his office to greet me, and say to his secretary, “Jean, hold my calls.” Wow. It made a statement: you’re not a bother or an interruption. You’re more important than anyone. Then, when we sat down in his office, he took off his watch, and put it in his desk drawer. I’m sure he must have done it so he wouldn’t be tempted to glance at his watch, but to me it said he had all the time I needed.
Take Time to Get Buy In: In another remarkable segment, Kate Winslet clapped her hands together and declared that “this was going to be the most amazing interview ever!” And explained that it would be because “you and I have decided that it would be.” Kate Winslet outlined her vision, that together they would make this the most amazing interview ever, explained that vision, and got buy in from her young interviewer.
Take Time to Be Reassuring and Encouraging: Kate Winslet is acknowledged as one of the great actors of our time. But she took the time with someone she didn’t know to be reassuring: “You can ask me anything you want, and you don’t have to be scared” and encouraging: “You got this.”
Give Praise: The clip ends before the interview begins, but there is no doubt in my mind that when this interview concluded, Kate Winslet stopped before leaving to tell her what a great job she did. There is always time to give specific praise to others in your organization.
Winston Churchill used to tell this story about the Duke of Wellington, who, in his last years, when a friend asked him: "If you had your life over again, is there any way in which you could have done better?" The old Duke replied: "Yes, I should have given more praise."
The entire video clip, from learning this was the young reporter’s first interview to reassuring her took 32 seconds. I suggest we have 32 seconds to be focused, get buy in, be reassuring and encouraging and to give praise in our interactions. As we do, we improve ourselves and those around us.
About the Creator
At the biotechnology firm, Seek Labs, which has offices the U.S, and does business globally, Craig Mosman works as the Vice President of Business Development. Learn more by visiting his website and socials.