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Leadership Development

The Fundamental Leadership Mindset: Advice from Alexander the Great

Learning leadership lessons from Alexander the Great

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Learning True Leadership Requires Hard Work

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” - Alexander the Great

In my time as a leadership development consultant, I’ve worked with many groups of leaders at all levels. Regardless of what leadership development program they go through, what they study, or how many days they spend in a session, a few indicators show me who may be successful.

The ones who truly achieve their goals and can bring leadership skills outside of the classroom and into their day-to-day lives have one important thing in common: they have embraced the intentionality and discipline required to commit to learning leadership. They have the fundamental leadership mindset.

A key element of learning leadership is that commitment to intentionality and discipline. Each day, you must apply discipline by thinking deeply about the skill you are learning and how it fits into your day-to-day. In addition, you must be purposeful about how you apply it based on the situation and factors around you.


Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor

While the specific leadership skill you may be applying is a constant that hasn’t changed since Alexander the Great (or even before), the context around you and the person in front of you is always changing. Leaders analyze and understand the context and the person in front of them, then use their heart and compassion to adapt to that person.

Successful leaders are the ones who are able to consistently demonstrate that intentionality, purposefulness, and discipline when practicing leadership daily. They see exponential returns for themselves and for their organizations.

Every time I see a group of leaders just beginning to learn and practice leadership, I hope they each understand one thing: It will be so much easier for you if you believe that by truly committing to leadership, you will make gains.

Of course it’s up to those leaders to have the courage and the discipline to apply these skills in their real lives. Not everyone is willing to put in the effort to learn leadership because it is an inherently uncomfortable process, but as a facilitator I try my hardest to show them why they should. 

Leadership–in essence–is about becoming the constant in a volatile, continuously changing world purely by matter of your willpower. 

As Alexander the Great is remembered to have said, “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” The Leadership Challenge authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner knew this too. That’s why they say that leadership can be learned and provided a framework for absolutely anyone to do so. 

That’s why to me the single biggest indicator of whether a participant will be successful at learning leadership skills is their own desire. Do you really want to become a leader? Then you will adopt the discipline and intentionality necessary to do so.

If history is any indicator, people can certainly learn leadership if they want and if they put their minds to it.

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Bill Mugavin

Bill Mugavin is a Senior Leadership Development Consultant at FlashPoint. He has worked with top-tier Fortune 1000 global organizations to improve leadership and management effectiveness.