Learning From the Leadership Styles of Alexander the Great

I recently finished Partha Bose’s, Alexander The Great’s Art of Strategy. In my humble opinion it’s a must read for anyone who is interested in developing any type of successful strategy be it for business or how to win at the game of love. Well maybe not the game of love. But hopefully you get my drift. I particularly enjoyed the chapter I just finished, Seven Distinct Leadership Styles. As I read this I was struck by the level of clarity and succinctness Mr. Bose laid out how Alexander use each of the seven leadership styles which are:

  1. Trusting Leadership Style
  2. Inspirational Style
  3. Connective Style
  4. Aggressive Style
  5. Humanistic Style
  6. Commanding Style
  7. Marauding Style

I’m going to go out a limb and say that many who consider themselves leaders would have difficulty in determining if they have a leadership style. Let alone even if they have one that is recognizable in any meaningful way. I’m won’t spend a lot of time going through each of the styles, I will save that for future blogs. But let’s consider one that anyone considering a leadership role could stand to learn how to implement The Connective Style. Prior to going into battle Alexander would ride up and down the front of his troop formation and call out to familiar faces and extol them on their bravery in previous battles. He would call these people by name. He knew the names of many of his solders. He knew their accomplishments on the field of battle. He provided inspiration and confidence because he knew they where trained well he trained with them as a young man and he fought side by side with many of them. 

Alexander fully understood what his men could and couldn’t do and it was a short list of what his army couldn’t do.  Some of our modern day leaders could learn something from this. By connecting with their employees, acknowledging some of their accomplishments can go a long way toward getting them to put in that extra effort when needed. For those who would argue that the company size or the fact there company is global and it’s impossible to know the names or accomplishments of everyone are missing the point. Alexander called out those he recognized. The troops standing around them became inspired by the fact their commander thought enough of their brother-in-arms to call him out they felt as if Alexander was talking directly to them as well.  Alexander the Great was and extraordinary person. He was a brilliant tactician and strategist. He benefited from having the best of teachers and had a keen intellect. He was able to connect with his troops and get them to perform amazing feats on the battlefield.  

We can all learn from his connective style of leadership, the question is do we want to. Paying attention to what people accomplish can go a long way in getting them the do more.    

© Timothy A. Wilson 2008. All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved