Whether you need to inspire a work force of 20, an army of thousands, or guide a nation of millions through a tumultuous cultural and political upheaval, you will require the ability to lead. There’s a difference between leading and managing. Here are some leadership lessons that are worth passing on. We’ve given you the highlights, you can click the links for further elaboration.
Nelson Mandela’s Eight Lessons of Leadership
1. Courage is not the absence of fear — it’s inspiring others to move beyond it
2. Lead from the front — but don’t leave your base behind
3. Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front
4. Know your enemy — and learn about his favorite sport
5. Keep your friends close — and your rivals even closer
6. Appearances matter — and remember to smile
7. Nothing is black or white
8. Quitting is leading too
Colin Powell – Quotations from Chairman Powell: A Leadership Primer
1. Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.
2. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.
3. Don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgment. Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world.
4. Don’t be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their own backyard.
5. Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.
6. You don’t know what you can get away with until you try.
7. Keep looking below surface appearances. Don’t shrink from doing so (just) because you might not like what you find.
8. Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavours succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.
9. Organization charts and hence titles count for next to nothing.
10. Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.
11. Fit no stereotypes. Don’t chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team’s mission.
12. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
13. Powell’s Rules for Picking People”—Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done.
14. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.
15. Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired.” Part II: “Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.
16. The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise.
17. Have fun in your command. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you’ve earned it. Spend time with your families. Corollary: Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.
18. Command is lonely.
Warren Bennis, from his book “On Becoming a Leader” on the difference between managers and leaders
- The manager administers; the leader innovates.
- The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
- The manager maintains; the leader develops.
- The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
- The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
- The manager accepts reality; the leader investigates it.
- The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
- The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
- The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader has his or her eye on the horizon.
- The manager imitates; the leader originates.
- The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
- The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
- The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.