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Sanna in Suomi

A leader needs to have a vision of where to go, be able to surround herself with great diverse talent and demonstrate vulnerability and humility while leading.

By the time you read this story, the topic of my story is probably old news. 

For most of the news outlets, that is. I hope.

For us rational human beings, it should never be old news. And we should continue to ‘fight’ our blind spots forever.

I write my stories approximately a week ahead. Sometimes they concern general and timeless topics; sometimes they address what’s in the news.

I always have a reserve of two stories, just in case something prevents me from writing.

Sometimes I push in a story if I think something can’t wait or I want to be ahead of public opinion.

Most of the time, it doesn’t really matter. 

Yes, you already know what has happened (and even then, some diehard news avoiders are not). 

But you haven’t heard my spin on the topic and how I relate it to my purpose of growing leaders and teams.

My story for this insight is about Sanna Marin.

Sanna Marin is married, has a daughter, and lives in Finland. “Marin describes herself as coming from a “rainbow family,” as she was raised by two female parents. She was the first person in her family to attend university. Marin is a vegetarian.”

Sanna also likes to have a good time with her friends and family.

Sanna Marin is also the prime minister of Finland.

I came across her name for the first time when she was appointed as PM of Finland at 34. That was news.

I came across her name for the second time when she was interviewed with her colleague from Sweden while considering jointly applying for NATO membership. 

Since this happened shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was news.

I came across Sanna’s name for the third time when a video of her having a good time created a major controversy.

In the video, Sanna is seen dancing and having a good time. She comes across as happy but not intoxicated. I don’t know this for a fact, but that’s just what I saw.

The world would not have noticed if this had happened to any anonymous young woman.

But Sanna is the PM of Finland

A controversy emerged. 

People expressed their concerns that the leader of a country was exposing herself like this. And then people react to those who share their concerns.

The controversy has led to thousands of messages of support for Sanna on LinkedIn and other media. Women have posted their videos massively while having a good time, mostly dancing. 

Wonderful.

And, Sanna has taken a drug test (negative) because, according to some people, there must have been drugs at the party. 

Sad.

I’m not surprised that this makes it to the news.

Not surprised because we live in a world full of social media where certain people are out for scandal, outrage, and controversy.

Somebody decided to leak this video that never should have been made in the first place. The ‘friend’ who made it might have done so in innocence, but somebody (the same friend?) decided to leak the video.

A bit naive on the part of the group dancing, but why should they not be able to make videos while having a good time?

Well, this is why…

Some people still live in the past and have not discovered their massive bias, their immense blind spots, and confronted their dated world views.

A prime minister can’t be young.

A prime minister can’t be female.

A prime minister can’t be having a good time.

Because…

A prime minister is a role model and should always be aware of her position and impact.

Here’s where I agree with those sad people who created this controversy, stressing that Sanna has to be a role model.

Sanna IS actually demonstrating she’s a role model.

It’s just a different view of the definition of a role model …

… Sanna is showing that high-profile people also can have a good time.

… Sanna was not on active duty and has the right to spend her free time as she likes. I’m sure Suomi (Finland) was in good hands while she was dancing the night away.

… Sanna reacted professionally and responsibly to the controversy, expressed her disappointment in the reaction, and took the proper steps to tone the narrative down.

Most of all…

… Sanna is showing that life is more than just work.

In conclusion.

I’m so tired of this old-school thinking that …

… A leader needs to have all the answers.

… A leader can’t make mistakes and needs to be flawless (Sanna didn’t make a mistake, to be clear).

… A leader needs to be, look, act, and talk like us.

… A leader can’t be young, and female, and having a good time.

No. No. No, and No.

A leader needs to have a vision of where to go, be able to surround herself with great diverse talent and demonstrate vulnerability and humility while leading.

Those are the leaders we want to follow — the Sanna’s of this world.

Your turn: Ask someone about your blind spots. What are they?

Do more of what makes you happy!

Erikjan

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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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