“The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery, and tenacity.”- Mahatma Gandhi
Great leadership is not an overnight miracle—it is a lifelong process of learning and self-development. What is it that empowers leaders to overcome obstacles, build strong nations or teams, and discover path-breaking solutions?
Exemplary and quick leadership lessons from great leaders
What are some truly exemplary and quick leadership lessons we can learn from them? Let’s have a look.
Jeff Bezos, co-founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Amazon, believes in a combination of strength and flexibility. Here is what he has to say about it, “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details…. If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”
Learn to be tough
Angela Merkel, the first female Chancellor of Germany, values cooperation and consensus. But she has often displayed the courage to take tough but transformative decisions. In 2015, she took the call of keeping Germany’s doors open to refugees from war-affected countries like Iraq and Syria. She made this decision in the face of opposition at home and abroad.
According to her, fear is never a good advisor, neither in personal lives nor in society. Under her leadership, Germany has prospered as a prominent global power.
In only a few decades, the first Singaporen Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew transformed Singapore from a British crown colony into a global financial capital. Lee was well-known for his tenaciousness—first as a lawyer and then as a politician who worked for Singapore’s independence from the British. As the Prime Minister, he was an aggressive advocate of multiculturalism and anti-corruption in public life.
He didn’t let setbacks and roadblocks beat him. For instance, he was a big believer in the merger of Singapore and Malaysia. Granted that he was upset when the Malaysians voted to expel Singapore from the Federation in 1965, but he didn’t dwell on it for too long. Instead, he set himself to the task of nation-building in Singapore.
Follow your dream
Who doesn’t love Mickey and Minnie Mouse? Walt Disney, the creator of the delightful cartoons, was a dreamer to the core. Despite the remarkable success of his pioneering animated cartoon films, he didn’t become complacent. Instead, his dreams became even bigger. In the early 1950s, he assembled a team to begin work on one of his pet projects: the Disneyland amusement park. It was a feat of imagination and engineering—even today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
It is no surprise that he once said: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
The story goes that a new secretary walked into the office of a software company on a Monday morning and found a person lying on the floor. She thought he might have been drinking heavily, but Bill Gates had to reassure her that he was only catching a quick nap after working all weekend. Microsoft co-founder Gates’ passion for his work is the stuff of legend. Whether it is software engineering or philanthropy, Gates has a singular enthusiasm for projects that have a transformative dimension.
The management guru Peter Drucker was a great votary of teamwork. He maintained that effective leaders never think ‘I’. They think ‘We’. They think ‘Team’. They understand that their job is to make the team function.
Important leadership lessons from Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker has some important leadership lessons for us:
- Follow effective action with quiet reflection
- Align your goals to your team’s or organization’s goals
- Improve, challenge, and increase your knowledge continually
- Define your leadership by results, not attributes
- Learn to say ‘no’ if an activity contributes nothing
- Search for change, respond to it and explore it as an opportunity
There are examples of great leadership all around us. We can find great leaders in every field and in every corner of the world. To learn how to be a better leader at work, try and imbibe leadership lessons from those with a proven track record of managing teams. They will be inspirational reminders for you to expand your horizons.
Harappa’s Leading Self course is crafted to enable you to develop the best version of yourself. In it, you will learn about concepts like the Performance Equation, a structured framework to help you fulfill your potential by reducing interferences. There are also handy tips for identifying and overcoming mental blocks that obstruct your progress.
Explore blogs on topics such as good leadership qualities, leadership strengths, the meaning of politeness, how to motivate your team, and how to deal with criticism in our Harappa Diaries section to hone your leadership skills.