Use Great Leaders from History as Teaching Models for How to Lead Through Uncertainty
Uncertainty in any aspect of our lives can elicit many feelings that can greatly affect individual, team and organizational performance. Leaders in settings as diverse as business, government, not-for-profit organizations, education and the military can learn many lessons from the actions of great leaders from ancient and modern history. Lets take four leaders from modern history as examples and look at vital lessons they taught, how they taught these lessons and the possible implications for transferring these insights into our own leadership and work settings.
Consider the following:
- What lessons did these leaders teach as they faced uncertainty?
- How did they teach these lessons
- Based on your answers to these two questions, what application do you see for leaders to teach in your organization?
Here is but a partial list of important leadership lessons demonstrated during periods of uncertainty, which we can draw from the lives, actions and words of four leaders–Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Thatcher and Mahatma Gandhi.
- Vision, purpose and values
- Strategy and execution
- Courage, persistence and resilience
- Inspiration and engagement
- Coalition building amongst diverse stakeholders
- Overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles
- Grace under fire
As learning leaders, we can help our executives to teach these and other vital lessons by drawing on examples of great leaders from history. Here is one teaching idea of how you can do this:
When faced with uncertainty and serious challenges, business and organizational leaders could start by showing the photographic collage above. They could then speak from both their head and heart about how they have been influenced by these great leaders and how these leaders faced their greatest challenges. Then ask, how can we work together to tackle our challenges and how can we learn from these leaders in doing so?
The Leaders as Teachers Institute should be a place where our members can share, adapt and use the teaching and learning ideas from others. One of many good starting points is to learn from the lessons of outstanding leaders from history.