Power, Politics and Leadership through the lens of the Spanish Princess Series
Episode 3: An Audacious Plan (Values-based leadership)
The seduction of power
The seduction of power can be alluring. It entices many to go out of character in order to attain it. Out of character? Or, in fact, the real character emerges? That is the question we need to ask. Princess Christina’s ambition takes the best of her. We see a side to her that makes us question her character. The consequences are dire. It leads to a question, what types of Leadership characters bend the rules a bit in order to achieve objectives. What are the consequences of our actions?
Back to Episode 3. Arthur has died. Princess Catherine has the option to return home. For now, she mourns the loss of her husband in her own way. She gains the affection of the English people as empathy for the young widow. The only terms she remains in England for is the hope that she is pregnant. She is under the watchful eye of the matriarch. If she bears an heir, she can be the mother of the new king. She plays her cards to her chest, waiting for the next opportunity to present itself. It takes utmost skill and character to stand in the moment of weakness and not make hasty decisions.
It is a Chess game and the shrewd player directs the strategy
She evaluates the prospects of a life in Spain and admits to her maid, Linah, that it would be a life of modesty, possibly being passed around Europe as an option for other Kings. This is not what she has in mind for her future. She holds fast to a dream of ultimate power, being Queen of England and conjures up a plan to gain Harry’s affection. He is the next in line for King and her only hope to a possibility of Queen of England. The only way to achieve her objective, is to be married to Harry. The plan is so daring and initially, unthinkable. She is set on making it work, so she begins to execute the plan. She rallies her confidant, Linah, to support the new course. Slowly, she charms Harry. She knows Harry’s passions through the fake letters. She uses this to her advantage. Sounds like a plan. Harry, smitten by the beauty of the Spanish Princess, seems only too eager to be part of this game. He eagerly takes on the role of influencing the matriarch to buy into the possibility of him and his brothers’ widow becoming a match.
It is important to acknowledge Princess Christina as a very astute political player. The Office Politics handbook by Jack Godwin maps out the archetypes of office politics, their attributes as well as suggested ways to deal with them. In office politics, it is very crucial to recognize these patterns, relationships and interdependencies and their descriptions are shared below.
Figure 3.1: The Office Politics HandBook — The Political Archetypes
In this scene, the Princess plays the Archetype of an Opportunist. Very strategic and set on achieving her goals at all costs. Deep down, she feels entitled to what she wants and sets it in motion. She is aware of the power she wields and she gives it her all. These are lone players, they are committed to only themselves and those who serve them. They recognize the course of teamwork and possibly cordiality with other women in the corporate space. They are not a party to that, they play the game on their terms. They play it so well, feigning innocence and ethics. Whilst they maneuver all things towards their goal, they still believe that their stars are aligning in their favor.
Every piece of the chess board is important
Here, she delivers on her most cunning plan yet. She uses the very same mockery and weakness she had protected Arthur from for her advantage. She convinces Harry that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated. Harry believed that Arthur was a nerd and that he would be scared to handle a beautiful woman like Catherine. She dangles this carrot right in front of Harry, and he immediately bites. This trick places her in a position to be considered a likely contender for the new king’s bride. Power at all cost.
She now realizes she has one more person to convince. Lady Pole, who was a witness and Arthur told her about his first time with the Princess. She is, of course, disgusted, by the evident ambition of Princess Catherine.
Questions to ask yourself
- Which player would you assign yourself as?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of your archetype?
- Map out the players in your office that have a direct influence to your role?
- What can you learn about their archetypes and implement in real life?