The power of subtlety

1917 Subtlety
still from the movie 1917

I write often in my daily posts about topics such as Presence and on “being” a leader, not “doing” leadership.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

The movie still above is from “1917”, which I watched yesterday. It is a simple story about two men sent to deliver a message on the front line in World War I.

It is a quite brilliant combination of storytelling and directorial as it uses a single shot and the lead characters are in the frame for every second of the movie.

At the end of the movie the full theatre emptied slowly and quietly, the whole audience deeply moved, having been immersed in that feeling of what it must have been like to be there.

What it did not do was a) spell out how that would have felt, b) lecture the audience on the horror of war, nor c) use violence to shock or d) artificially use shock tactics.

Sometimes being direct and radical in approach is needed, but often there is great power in subtlety. In leadership, it is in your presence and your being, it is in how you make people feel, at least as much as what you say or you do.


Also published on Medium.