I knew that HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and I were going to be good friends, from the first day we met in Switzerland. I also knew that he was what I often refer to as simply "good people." This means while yes of course, he is part of the Royal Family of Norway, with all the respect and acknowledgement this requires — but he also behaves and comports himself as part of a larger global family of leaders and people around the world who care.
He is as normal as one could rightly expect from anyone with his sort of life pressures. This is why, during our tours to speak with children around the world, I took to calling him the "People's Prince." The young people we would interact with around the world would always agree.
Over time, I saw a consistency and a unique level headedness about him, and more so, a deep compassion and empathy for people. No push over for sure, as I have seen him both make tough decisions, on the spot, and I have seen him take initiative (and the associated risk) and to lead something from idea to reality, around the world and right home in Norway. These examples of leadership, amongst others, account for why he was the first person I chose to interview for my now bestselling business book, LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass). He uniquely represented, the message I passionately wanted to communicate to a world in leadership-crisis. A "new way to lead, in a fear-based world."
This said, real leaders are not crafted, but rather emerge in response to crisis and often in real time. In other words, real leaders become obvious, and boldly appear in response to an un-timed crisis, and in the immediacy of that "moment" in time. There is simply no faking it. This was the case of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and my personal hero and mentor Ambassador Andrew Young in response to the crisis that gave birth to the civil rights movement, and such is the case of Crown Prince Haakon, and how he has already courageously responded to the recent terror attacks on Norway.
Just reading his recent speech before countless thousands in Norway in the weeks since the crisis, you can sense his growing inner moral conviction, his compassion for the senseless loss, and his recommitment to all the virtues and values that made the Norwegian people special in the first place. He is the right man, at the right time.
It is no accident then, that the Crown Prince is also the co-founder of Global Dignity, along with Professor Pekka Himanen and myself, and no accident either that he has personally led the Global Dignity, Norway mandate in most every school through Norway in recent years.
Yes, he is the People's Prince. Yes, is the right man, at the right time. Yes, he is a representative example of Love Leadership, walking.
Rainbows only follow storms. You cannot have a rainbow, without a storm first.
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc., author of Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business book LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. Bryant is also a co-founder of Global Dignity, which is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum.