This is an ‘edgy’ post. We in no way condone what the protagonist in this piece did to others during his lifetime. In fact, most of what he did goes completely against everything we believe in and strive to achieve in our society. It actually makes us a bit uncomfortable to include it here.
So why put it in at all? Three reasons: one – it is sometimes good to know how people become successful – even people we don’t like and don’t want to emulate in any way. We can still learn from them (if only how to think of ways to prevent their success in the future!) Two – this story shows that bringing people together, for whatever purpose, requires developing relationships, continually learning from each other and improving. Three – it is worth remembering that even the very best tools for development can sometimes be double-edged swords. They have to be used in the right way for the right purposes or they can have serious consequences. This is something we, in our daily work with our clients, keep in mind from the start of every project.
So, with all that said, enjoy the read!
An unlikely ‘hero’ in the debate on leadership styles has emerged from continuing research into the life and empire of Genghis Khan(!) An empire that has known no rival in the eight hundred years since his death. A man with a reputation for utter ruthlessness and unrivalled cruelty. However, there is one surprising truth: if any historical figure could vouch for the notion of ‘employee survey‘, it could be this one.
Khan’s empire spanned a region of some 12 million square kilometres at the time of his death. His forays in to China and the Middle East have earned him both a profound respect and a simmering hatred, depending on the standpoint. There is no doubt that his abilities as a wartime leader were unassailable. But most importantly, in a region of the world torn by sectarian strife between warring tribes, the genius of this man lay in his ability to unite. The Khan made a habit of acting the mediator.
His ability to foment agreements between warring parties was not due to a winning smile or threats of reprisal. Khan used his position to encourage parties come to general agreements. He forgot few of those around him, and used multiple parties to evaluate those in whom he placed trust. He was merit-based, rather than authoritative, and used a primitive form of employee survey to evaluate these traits.
It’s an odd comparison, but one of the reasons he was able to maintain his empire was the love he gained from his countrymen. While allowing his fearsome reputation to flourish outside his borders – to ease the difficulty in military campaigns, by striking fear – Genghis Khan used many of the same tenets of 360 degree leadership to maintain the world’s greatest empire, through direct dialogue and through multiple sources of intelligence.
We think it can work for you too. And we insist there will be no blood-letting! In fact we will explain the part that Khan never knew – the part that engages people and gets them working together collaboratively from their strengths, without fear. And managers say they love it!
Contact Leaderskill to access Australia’s finest leadership resource team at 1300 769 909.