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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Dragon Reborn - Chapter 28 [#100Days, Day 95]

A Smile And A Wink

    Mat is approached by Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne to carry a letter from Elayne to her mother, Queen Morgase.  In a sort of comical interlude, we see several attempts by the three women to bring Mat around to their way of thinking.

    "You're up to something, Nyanaeve.  You are all smiling like cats staring at a finch caught in a thornbush, and I think I am the finch."

Mat, The Dragon Reborn, p. 264

    "I told you we should ask him straight out.  He's stubborn as a mule when he wants to be, and tricksome as a cat.  You are, Mat.  You know it, so stop frowning."

Egwene, The Dragon Reborn, p. 264

    "I want you to carry a letter for me," Elayne said before Nynaeve could speak.  "To my moyther, in Caemlyn."  She smiled, making a dimple in her cheek.  "I would appreciate it so very much, Mat." ... From the look on her face, he did not think that dimple had failed her very often. ...

    She drew herself up, slim and proud.  He could almost see a throne behind her.  "Are you a loyal subject of Andor?  Do you not wish to serve the Lion Throne, and your Daughter-Heir?"

    Mat snickered.

    "I told you that would not work either," Egwene said.  "Not with him."

    Elayne had a wry twist to her mouth. "I thought it worth a try.  It always works on the Guards, in Caemlyn.  You said if I smiled - " She cut off short, obviously not looking at him.

Elayne, Mat, and Egwene, The Dragon Reborn, p. 264 - 265

    Communication - so frequently discussed in leadership - only yields success if sender and recipient fully understand each other.  In the case of wanting someone to do a task they may find unappealing, it's even more critical to ensure the message is clear.  It's tempting to try and do what Elayne and Nynaeve do, prod them into doing the task without them realizing it; but that fractures the long-term relationship. The phrase "Can I be honest with you?" in a conversation implies that everything up until that point has been dishonest.  Yet that phrase, or others similar, seem to be used frequently as an attempt to appear even more genuine to get the other person to perform the unappealing tasks.  It's far better to be continually honest, passing on the facts clearly, minimizing emotional outbursts, while articulating the reasoning behind the requests as much as possible.  Then match words with action.


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