Real Leaders

Can History Teach Us Leadership?

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Sometimes history can give us a lesson in a battle against the odds – a call for perseverance and fortitude – that can ring true when seen against some of the leadership challenges we face in today’s world. Henry V, by William Shakespeare, has shaped my leadership style, informed my decision-making and inspired me to persevere during the inevitable setbacks of life.

As you may know, Henry V is about a young man taking over the family business and building the respect of those he is responsible for. During the course of the book, he takes decisive action to expand, rather than stagnate.

Finally, faced with the greatest challenge in his leadership tenure (the pending Battle of Agincourt), Henry goes undercover and talks with his “clients” to gather their true perspectives on his leadership. With this knowledge, he then defines leadership when he delivers the most inspirational communication in the English language.

This communication embraces the constraints faced by his men and inspires them, outnumbered five to one, to defeat the French in northern France. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother.” – Henry V While the glorification of war is never great, perhaps this post could drive some lively discussion and perhaps raise the level of consciousness about our choice of role models and the future we are leading people towards… peace/war, money/meaning, love/fear. Let me have your thoughts below.

Steve Brown is President of Custom Decorators, Inc. and has a Ph.D in history from Oxford


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