Leadership Lessons from Napoleon

Helping others to achieve their goals — that is the essence of leadership. A story in the December 1979 Bits and Pieces Magazine recounts how Napoleon did this:

napoleon1“Half of what he achieved,” said a historian of Napoleon, “was achieved by the power of words.”

Few Leaders in history have been able to stimulate men to action as Napoleon could. The secret of his leadership was simple: he first determined what his men wanted most, then did all in his power to help them get it.

Most of us take just the opposite tack: we first decide what we want, then try to persuade others to want the same thing as badly as we do. Napoleon knew better. He always keyed his plea to what his men wanted most at the moment.

When his army was half starved, he promised them food in exchange for victory. When they were homesick and thinking of deserting, he appealed to their pride by asking them how they wanted to return home: as conquering heroes or with their tails tucked between their legs? When they were fighting in Egypt under the Pyramids, he appealed to their sense of history: “Forty centuries are looking down on you,” he told them.

Do you help others get what they want first, or do you try to convince them that they want what you want?


Coach, Trainer, Speaker

I am a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker. I am passionate about Leadership and helping leaders reach their full potential by becoming all they can be.

I am a 30-year Army veteran with vast experience as a logistician. I have commanded small to large units and served on staffs all over the world.

I worked for six years in the defense industry supporting Army organizations.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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