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Lessons Small Business Owners Can Learn From Historical Leaders

Throughout history there have been many great leaders. Looking back at what they’ve done can teach us many things. Although the times when they lived in might be different, a lot of their messages still holds relevance to our lives. Becoming a business leader is no small task. No amount of education, skills, or experience will make you ready to become an entrepreneur. Becoming an entrepreneur and an effective leader will help you achieve more success and grow your business. Successful leadership lessons are universal, and it takes a certain type of person to lead a group. The following historical leaders have shown exemplary leadership skills, and their ideals and messages have been adopted by small business owners and even top level CEO’s.

Learning to Say ‘No’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi played a important role in helping India gain independence. Throughout his life he taught people the value of saying no. Gandhi was wise beyond his years and his teachings continue to stay relevant to this day.

One big mistake small business owners make is that they want to please as many customers or clients as possible. When you say yes to everything, often times you are taking on more than you can handle. Usually, when entrepreneurs first start out there are limited resources, and it is almost impossible to deliver on all the promises made. This can be more detrimental for a business then just saying ‘no’. While it is not always easy, it is sometimes necessary. 

Great Leaders Do Not Sugar Coat Reality – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the great leaders that participated in the civil rights movement in America. He saw the ugly realities that existed during that time and took them head on. The result was that he gave hope and eventually freedom to an entire group of people who had none. Similarly small business owners cannot shy away from their weaknesses or faults. It is important small business owners learn how to convert their limitations into opportunities and push forward no matter the circumstances. Being passionate about your industry should not make you blind to reality. Learning from criticism is the easiest way to improve your business. See where you lack and improve it, its that easy. If you don’t, then it may backfire on you.  

Changing the Culture – Nelson Mandela

It is easy to recognise the atmosphere of culture in an organisation. But working to change that negative culture can be one of the hardest things managers or entrepreneurs do. Nelson Mandela did exactly that in a divided South Africa. He changed the culture and future of a nation that was on the brink of a civil war. Despite spending 27 years in prison he still came out with the the ideals of a free and democratic South Africa.

While changing the workplace culture is proven to be difficult the end will result in a smoothly run business. As a small business owner you have an obligation to encourage your employees to have faith in tough times. Panicking will not solve any any problems. When you are cool headed and in control of your emotions that is when you will find solutions easier. 

Positive leaders throughout history have proven that if you have a strong message people will listen. Their legacy can teach us so many things about how to lead your small business. But learning is just the beginning, it is about executing their teachings in your everyday life and become a genuine leader to help lead your business into the world of success.

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