Frances McDormand’s 2018 Oscars Acceptance Speech contains a powerful lesson on the essence of great leadership

Frances McDormand isn't just the 2018 Oscars Best Actress Award Winner - she also is a great example of what a leader must embody. Her Acceptance speech taught me a powerful lesson on the true essence of leadership.


Frances McDormand Oscar Speech Leadership Lesson

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to catch the 2018 Oscars show on television. While I loved Jimmy Kimmel's hosting, what really stood out for me was Frances McDormand's acceptance speech as she received her second Oscar for the movie 3 Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

During the three minutes that she spoke, her words and actions conveyed a powerful lesson in leadership. Here are my top takeaways from her speech:

1) It's okay to be vulnerable 

As McDormand made her way up the stage to collect her Award and started her speech, she seemed a little nervous. However, she wasn't afraid of exposing her vulnerability to the audience. She made light of her 'hyperventilating' and joked that audience members should pick her up and put her back on her feet should she fall over. 

As leaders, it's wrong to act as though one is perfect. Everybody has flaws and short-comings. It's best to deal with it head-on and comes to terms with it. Your team will respect you a lot more than if you ignore it.

2) Convey your Gratitude

McDormand may be a talented actress but she hasn't forgotten the role that others played in her winning that award. In her speech she thanked the writer-director of her film Martin McDonagh as well as her sister, spouse and son for their contributions and support.

Leaders are nothing without their followers. Don't be selfish with sharing the credit when your team helps you achieve your targets and goals. Let your team members know that your value their contribution. 

3) Use your position for the greater good

McDormand knew that when she was on stage, all eyes would be on her. She had a chance to voice her opinions and she made sure it was heard. She invited female nominees across all categories to stand up and share her spotlight. She used her platform to highlight issues that she was passionate about. 

As my Literature professor used to say, "We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us." Don't forget your roots. Use your leadership position to make a positive difference to the people in your organization, industry, community, or society. Use your platform to speak about issues that require attention instead of highlighting your achievements.

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4) Make a case for greater diversity and inclusion

McDormand ended her speech with two final words - "inclusion rider". For those of you who don't know what it is, an inclusion rider is an addition to contracts that helps ensure greater diversity in hiring of the cast & crew. 

As the world is becoming increasingly globalized, leaders need to play their part in building a diverse & inclusive corporate culture within their organizations. Use your leadership influence to ensure bias-free hiring and promotion in your team / organization. 

A great leader sets up others for success, and continues to inspire them on every level. Use your influence as a leader to create a legacy of giving back & paying forward. You may not win an Oscar but you certainly will win the respect of others. 

Questions for Reflection

Did you catch the 2018 Oscars Award Ceremony? What are some of your takeaways? 

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Chaitra K

With a background in Literature and Psychology, and an MBA in Human Resources Management, Chaitra is responsible for the design and production of NKoach’s courses, workshops and corporate training programs. Her mission is to help people discover their passion and become better versions of themselves.

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