I’m a history guy, and one of my favorite British characters is Lord Nelson. In 1805, he beat the combined Spanish and French armada in the Battle of Trafalgar, and today sits atop Nelson’s column in Trafalgar square, surrounded by four huge lions made from the melted metal of the enemy’s guns.
He was amazing and formed the original “band of brothers’ with his brother captains.
One thing that he strongly believed in was personal deportment as a leader. He believed that all of his followers took their emotional cues from how he reacted to situations.
He must have felt fear, standing on the quarterdeck of a wooden boat, dressed in all the finery of an admiral, making himself a target to every cannon filled with grape shot and marine in the tops armed with a musket. Yet, he never ever showed it.
He would smile and and laugh and wink at his subordinates, while joking about the ‘warm work’ they were undertaking. He just didn’t show his fear. He knew that if he put on a brave face, others would too.
Same with General Macarthur retaking the Philippines.
If you don’t smile, people think you’re mad!
As a leader, you have to come to realize that your vibe, or personal deportment, sets the tone for what’s going on in your department or business.