Taking Leadership Lessons From the Queen

queen elizabeth 1I’ve always been intrigued with historical perspective and, in particular, the long-established monarchy that is still firmly entrenched throughout much of Europe. So it was no surprise that I found myself unable to put down the book Elizabeth I CEO: Strategic Lessons From the Leader Who Built an Empire, which chronicles Elizabeth’s long reign and leadership lessons that helped her to win intense loyalty and lead her country to greatness.

Despite being proclaimed the “bastard child” of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn,  she assumed  the throne of England at the age of 25 and reigned for 45 years. As a female leader, I found her approach fascinating, and while the book highlights 136 guiding principles and some great historical examples, here are just a few that stood out:

  • She was confident in herself and not afraid to surround herself with extraordinary advisors—seeking the wisdom and perspective of others.
  • She was of strong intellect, worked tirelessly to build her knowledge, and always armed herself with insights and facts to make clear, unwavering decisions.
  • She had the courage to make decisions and take aggressive actions, accepting full responsibility for them, even when they were unpopular.
  • In order to win over her subjects and the hearts of her people, she leveraged her personal dynamism, and was not afraid to project her humanity.
  • She found that mentoring and effective coaching helped her to accomplish much more than by simply doing it all herself—she was not afraid of empowering her team.
  • She communicated directly and often.
  • She had no issue with being present at the front lines and putting her life at risk with those she led.
  • She acknowledged people, thanking and rewarding those who had done or offered her service.

It’s a fascinating and inspiring look at leadership which is as applicable today as it was in 1558.

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