5 Role Models that Exude Modern Leadership Qualities

Here are five role models from history and fiction that you can learn real leadership skills from:

1.      Never Stop Learning Like Captain James T. Kirk

As Alex Knapp of Forbes magazine points out, “No matter what your organization does, it helps to never stop learning.  The more knowledge you have, the more creative you can be.  The more you are able to do, the more solutions you may have at your disposal.”  So keep your phaser set to stun, and boldly go where no one has gone before.

2.      Learn to Forge Working Relationships like Nelson Mandela

Learning to forgive, and maintaining a good relationship with your employees and colleagues is important in the business world. After spending over two decades imprisoned, Nelson Mandela was able to set aside feelings of hostility and built strong working relationships with those responsible for stealing the majority of his adult life.   If you are preparing yourself for a leadership position, get used to forgiving people and getting along with those that you don’t necessarily like.  Meanwhile, if you are the type to label people and hold grudges, maybe leadership isn’t for you.

3.      Be Resilient like the Caped Crusader (Batman)

Batman, like so many other super heroes does not succeed without being able to first overcome defeat.  Whether it’s a surprise attack from the Joker, or dealing with a flaw in your financial forecast, real leaders need to be able to pick themselves and others up after failing.

4.      Become a Storyteller like Shakespeare

Believe it or not, there are several articles and courses that teach modern leadership through Shakespearean literature.  A professor of business at Wharton uses Shakespeare’s Henry V to illustrate the power of being able to “paint a vision of what success looks like” and hence getting followers to buy-in.  “But be careful,” states Sarah Green draws in her article published in the Harvard Business Review. “You’re not going to glean a lot of useful career tips out of Hamlet (promoted too soon? How to cope!) or, Macbeth (how not to get that top job!).”

5.      Surround yourself with “A Players” like Steve Jobs

As Eric Holtzclaw of Inc.com states, “Steve Jobs surrounded himself with what he called “A” players. He believed in them, and then willed them to super human feats of product development and programming. There are many examples of this in Jobs’ life.”  Some managers will proudly say that they like to surround themselves with people who are smarter than them.  More accurately, identify the competencies that you need in your workforce and empower your employees to try new things while continuing to develop their strengths.

Already in a Leadership Role at a Small to Mid-sized Company?

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