When we think of the name Julius Caesar, we can’t help but to identify it synonymously with the word leadership. Of course, if you have heard anything about Caesar you would know that he was perhaps one of the greatest leaders of all time. This is not to say that he was perfect, especially considering that his life ended quite abruptly. However, there are many lessons to be learned from his extraordinary leadership ability as well as his mistakes.
Lesson One: Diversify your Leadership Style
Julius Caesar was a legendary Army General and Statesman who lived between 100 — 44 B.C. During his tenure, Caesar oversaw the rapid expansion of the Roman Republic through an incessant chain of fierce battles across Europe. This was before he eventually declared himself a dictator for life. Yes you read that correctly. He declared himself a dictator for life.
Consider the following that there are many types of leadership styles. For this article, I will name only a few: Democratic, Authoritative, Paternalistic, Laissez-faire and Transactional. It should go without saying that Julius Caesar practiced the Authoritative leadership style.
This meant that he dictated policies and procedures, decided what goals were to be achieved, and directed and controlled all activities without any meaningful participation from his subordinates. This was perhaps one of the major reasons for his assassination.
He was believed to have died in the hands of his political rivals, on the steps of the Senate, after an illustrious career as a general and a leader. Furthermore, he is still without a doubt one of the greatest and most famous military minds in the history of the world. His leadership style was ideal and proved effective, for the battlefield, as there was no time for hesitation or democracy when lives are at stake.
Caesar fearlessly fought and won several battles, and laid the foundation for one of the greatest empires in the world: The Roman Empire. The first lesson that is to be learned from Caesar is that different subordinates and team members respond differently to various styles of leadership. As an aspiring leader, you must be able to adopt multiple leadership styles if you are to be effective.
Lesson Two: Believe in Yourself
Times have really changed; there are some significant differences in the style of leadership employed during Caesar’s time and the ones practiced today. Nowadays, the world is largely governed through democracy whereby leaders are elected by the people in a free and fair process.
The masses are usually quite informed and know exactly what they want and need. For any leader to be successful in the contemporary world, they must be admirably relentless in their beliefs and ideals, and truly care for the people that they represent.
It is especially relevant and important to understand that pleasing everyone is most certainly impossible. No matter where your journey takes you, there will always be individuals who will oppose your ideals. If you give in to every piece of negativity that comes your way you will never be effective.
Lesson Three: Inspire Others with Vision and Conviction
Caesar was a man of conviction. His ideals and beliefs became law. In those days rather, leaders mostly emerged due to armed conflicts. Around this time, coincidentally, while the weak were cast aside, the strong easily assumed command. The people answered to the leaders, and not the other way around. Throughout, the masses had to do whatever the leaders commanded. In most cases, leadership was primarily focused on self-progression and not on the best interests of the people.
Caesar is believed by contrast, to have been different since he never just thought about himself. As a man of vision, he managed to acquire a lot of power and authority for his nation. As a result, He was and is still considered a hero to date because he revolutionized leadership by making fair policies and laws. This was unheard of in his time. It is such traits that made him stand out among the rest of the leaders of his time and earned him a special position in world history.
Lesson Four: Command Respect
Some of the most exceptional leadership qualities that characterized Julius Caesar’s generalship were selflessness, boldness and decisiveness. Critics argue that sometimes, his exceptional boldness bordered a reckless willingness to go way ahead of his supply lines. As a leader, you will find that there will come a time for you to make a risky decision. This decision may or may not impact your whole team, possibly in a negative connotation. For a leader that commands respect and is true to his cause; subordinates will follow him or her through the gates of hell and back without question.
Many have argued that Julius Caesar was a self-seeking and greedy leader whose primary mission was to capture and cling to power. He always fought alongside his men, sometimes without the luxury of using a horse. Caesar never hesitated and always accomplished his intended objective.
His immense confidence formed the basis of his illustrious career. Be confident in your decisions, treat others firmly and fairly and you will be effective as a leader. Don’t be afraid to share the load. Just don’t share the responsibility.
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