They say history repeats itself, though that phrase is usually used when someone is facing failure. However, there is no reason why we can’t make use of history lessons to bring us success. Mankind had produced some great leaders during the course of its history. So let’s take a look at some of the secrets to leadership that a few of these geniuses have bequeathed to history.
Almost 2500 years ago, a scholar named Chanakya taught his protégé, Chandragupta Maurya the essence of leadership and military strategy. Chandragupta went on to conquer large parts of the Indian sub-continent, creating a 2 million square mile empire. One of Chanakya’s pieces of advice was, “The king shall despise none, but hear the opinions of all. A wise man shall make use of even a child’s sensible utterance.” Chandragupta took this advice to heart, and is known to have consulted his commanders and ministers, never letting his personal opinions get in the way of decision-making. The Nishchala Blog has a list of 20 other great Chanakya quotes.
Chanakya also wrote the Chanakya Niti, a book on governance. He says, “If a king is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is reckless, they will not only be reckless likewise, but also eat into his works.” Chanakya advises the leader to be an example. Setting an example is the easiest way to motivate your team and create a work atmosphere directed towards success.
Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general best known for his book, “The Art of War,” written around 500 B.C. Sun Tzu’s work has been praised and used ever since its composition. Sun Tzu said of his warriors, “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” Get to know your team. That will help you motivate them and work with them better. Once you have evaluated their work and are confident of their effort, don’t hesitate to stand by them and defend them when they need your support. This will build a rapport between you and your team, and allow them to grow in confidence.
Mahatma Gandhi is known for having won India independence from the British. Uniquely, he used entirely non-violent means. Some of the essential qualities of a good leader found in Gandhi were his absolute commitment, insight, integrity and capability to inspire. With his unerring resolve and absolute integrity he managed to evict an occupying force that had been in India for two hundred years. The Isha Blog lists a few more keys to success.
Want to find out what kind of leader you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are? Check out the University of Kent’s online leadership test.