8 leadership lessons you can learn from Julius Caesar
If there ever was a most characteristic military leader in history, that was Julius Caesar. Beyond his undeniable ability for strategy, the roman general outstood because of his personal leadership lessons over his army, to whom he knew how to transmit his vision and wisdom. His troops gave Caesar back the trust he needed for his many victories. From him, we are taking these eight valuable lessons that a great leader should know:
Connection with his soldiers
Back in Rome, it was said that Caesar knew the names of each and every soldier fighting with him. That personal connection was a chance to win the confidence of his army. A leader doesn’t need to be “best friends” with every member of his team, but from this story we can learn that having a personal connection with coworkers is something positive, because it reduces the gaps that may exist in an office and strengthens leadership.
Julius Caesar, as many other politicians and soldiers in Roman times, was also a good orator. He used to show up, impeccably dressed, at the Roman Senate, and addressed his soldiers with vehement speeches. A good leader cares about learning communication techniques that will help him correctly convey messages and engage the team. There are simulators to improve these skills through practice, which ensures a solid and efficient learning.
A great part of the success of the roman legions was the information troops had available on the battlefield. Every centurion had as much information on the battle plan as the very Julius Caesar did. In our nowadays office, centurions would represent team or department managers. As a leader, you must make sure that these people are well informed and understand your perspective, so they can communicate to the rest of the team what needs to be done.
Max your potential out
Roman soldiers were trained to use gladius –small pointy daggers- with which they conquered half the world. Far from that powerful image of great swords and spears, the legions were specialized in the use of these small weapons, light but effective. Like Caesar, the tools you have available will be those which will make you reach success. Learn to use them correctly and develop your skills in order to max out your own potential and that of the people around you.
Accept your responsibility
Caesar was always close to his troops. In spite of the danger, the roman general wanted to communicate directly with his army because he knew that meant a boost to his soldier’s moral. He ate with them, slept with them, bled with them. Being close to his men also allowed him to identify weaknesses and make quick decisions to correct mistakes. Like Julius Caesar, a good leader must be ready for whatever may come, to give support to his people and make quick but well-thought decisions. Be accessible to your team and guide them towards the end of the process.
Julius Caesar made sure that everyone knew about his victories, many of which he wrote down and became classical works. You don’t have to write a book like Caesar did, but it is important that you learn to communicate everything you achieve, so that the team will feel a part of a common project and your leadership will be strengthened. Keep a modest attitude, but don’t forget to highlight every little success and goal you reach.
You may be interested in: 10 classical rules of leadership.
Don’t delegate the most unpleasant tasks
In Roman times, it was common to punish deserters, never minding whether they were friends or family. Caesar himself was personally in charge of this hard task, one of the hardest a soldier can face. Obviously, this one is a rather extreme example, but from it we can learn that, like Julius Caesar, a good leader mustn’t sit back and wait for others to do hard tasks for him; instead, he must get down to business straight away. In other words, be an example to others and take on the hardest tasks yourself.
Take a risk
Julius Caesar took on the risks which came with his leadership. A leader must be brave and take risks. If you set your conviction aside and make decisions based on fear and cowardice, you will be building your leadership on a faulty base. Take risks, be brave, learn from mistakes and you will achieve success on the base of a strong, solid leadership.