The Genghis Khan way - his 10 Leadership principles
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The Genghis Khan way - his 10 Leadership principles



The man who created the largest kingdom that ever was, has got to have done some things right. His leadership principles were astute and spot on for his time. They are very relevant even today. Read ...

The man who created the largest kingdom that ever was, has got to have done some things right. His leadership principles were astute and spot on for his time. They are very relevant even today. Read more about his 10 principles and the modern day interpretations.



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The Genghis Khan way - his 10 Leadership principles The Genghis Khan way - his 10 Leadership principles Presentation Transcript

  • 铁 木 真 10 LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES The Genghis Khan way
  • Greatest leader ever? • The empire he founded became the largest contiguous empire in history, after his demise. His empire, which extended from China to Afghanistan to Hungary, was about 12 million sq. miles. • Brought the silk route under one cohesive political environment. • Born Temujin around 1162 and about 0.5% of the world’s male population carries his DNA. • Buried in an unmarked grave, in an unknown location.
  • The tri-variate • Genghis ran his Corruption or paranoia conquests, his kingdom and life by creating a delicate balance between the constant pulls of corruption or paranoia, the probability of losing reins of power and allowing events to dictate his agenda. • This maintenance of equilibrium in a way shaped him to be the Losing reins of power Allowing events leader that he evolved to to dictate be. agenda
  • Reward loyalty Historical context • Genghis remembered generous acts of people that he interacted with. He honoured the brave and loyal, regardless of their status. • Once convinced of a person’s loyalty, he delegated large responsibilities. Modern day interpretation • This perhaps is an easy one. A leader in the modern age (like any other time) needs to be able to reward loyalty. But, as important is locating people who will be are willing to be loyal. These people could easily be part of an inner team or be spread out across your larger team or enterprise. These are people who will pick up your burden and also make you look good.
  • Be austere Historical context Modern day interpretation • He despised luxury, and honoured simplicity. • There are many People say that he would examples of people who give the shirt off his back espouse simplicity; The to a Mongol in need. Mahatma, Steve Jobs and Warren Buffet are rather famous examples. • In modern times, it is less about wealth or luxuries, but more about simplicity of living as such.
  • Exercise self control Historical context • Of his many extraordinary qualities was the fact that he used to seldom lose his temper and also did allow others their say. Modern day interpretation • In our times, and always moderation and self control are ideals to be cherished. • Krishna, or the Mahatma would be two examples to espouse. • Calmness of the mind, obviously is helpful and many leaders get to that state either with meditation or picking up a stress buster set of regular exercises.
  • Find talent where you can, and use it Historical context • Under his reign, enemies became officers in his administration or army; herdsmen rose to be generals too. There were many non-Mongols who served under him Modern day interpretation • This is interesting. People usually gravitate towards people who are loyal (or seemingly so) to promote or elevate. • But leaders do, and should pick their team members from competition, from inside their own teams and also from completely different industries. • People with intelligence and talent are able to easily jump the chasm formed by difference in domains.
  • Kill enemies without compunction Historical context • He never forgot a favour, but also never forgave an insult. He was merciless, once convinced of disloyalty. Modern day interpretation • This sounds more politics related and is. No enterprise or company of some size is bereft of some manipulation, games and politics. • It is only silly not to play these games once you are in the middle of them. • A large part of the learning is to nullify obstacles ; that is people (inside or outside your organization) or organizations who work against your goal.
  • Oppose cruelty Historical context Modern day interpretation • Though he did order mass killings of those who • This perhaps would get opposed or insulted interpreted somewhat in him, no one ever accused a different context. him of cruelty. • Arrogance while on the ascent is a negative virtue to carry.
  • Adapt and be open to new ways of ruling Historical context • Though totally illiterate, over time he evolved and learned from many of the vanquished. An example would be getting record keeping done, and starting to put processes in his administration. This evolution happened as his kingdom grew in size. Modern day interpretation • Simply about nimbleness and agility in times of change. Whether one is able to adapt to change and modify one’s thoughts and ways of working. Or even how ready one is to appreciate and go with new paradigms. What does not matter is in-depth knowledge of the agencies of change, right up front.
  • Know that you have divine backing Historical context • Foreign rulers just had to acknowledge and understand this “truth” and all would be well for them. Modern day interpretation • Lets modify this to have a sponsor backing. It does not matter whether one is at the helm of an organization or leading a group of just two people; it does not matter whether you are working for someone else or yourself. You need to have a sponsor. Many a times you will need to use derived authority to push your ideas and actions through.
  • Make your followers and heirs believe it too Historical context • His followers acknowledged the heavenly diktat and saw success along with the Khan. Modern day interpretation • A large part of the concept of derived authority is to ensure that teams and other people who surround you accept the sponsor as a higher authority.
  • Respect freedom of belief Historical context • He was known to listen to advice, and also to all those who acknowledged the divine backing. Modern day interpretation • This principle perhaps has more to do with – Respecting an individual – And being open to thoughts other than one’s own. • This would require the leader to have an open mind and allow others to challenge a thought.
  • Genghis Khan’s principles of leadership So, to summarize 1. Reward loyalty 2. Be austere 3. Exercise self control 4. Find talent where you can, and use it 5. Kill enemies without compunction 6. Oppose cruelty 7. Adapt, and be open to new ways of ruling 8. Know that you have divine backing 9. Make your followers and heirs believe it too 10. Respect freedom of belief These leadership principles are based on John Man’s biography of Genghis Khan. However, the interpretations are our own.
  • In a similar tone, the Forbes magazine says… • The Forbes magazine interprets Jack Weatherford’s biography of Genghis Khan to mention the following as Genghis’ nine leadership principles – Have an end in mind • “For the Mongol warrior, there was no such thing as individual honor in battle if the battle was lost. As Genghis Khan reportedly said, there is no good in anything until it is finished.” – Lead from the front • “When it was wet, we bore the wet together, when it was cold, we bore the cold together.” – Serve a greater good than yourself • “[A leader] can never be happy until his people are happy.” – Have a vision • “Without the vision of a goal, a man cannot manage his own life, much less the lives of others…The ancients had a saying: ‘Unity of purpose is a fortune in affliction.”
  • The Forbes magazine says… • The leadership principles per Forbes magazine’s interpretation of Weatherford’s biography of Genghis – Be self-reliant • “No friend is better than your own wise heart! Although there are many things you can rely on, no one is more reliable than yourself. Although many people can be your helper, no one should be closer to you than your own consciousness. Although there are many things you should cherish, no one is more valuable than your own life.” – Be humble • “The mastery of pride, which was something more difficult, he explained, to subdue than a wild lion. He warned them that, ‘If you can’t swallow your pride, you can’t lead.’” – Be moderate • “People conquered on different sides of the lake should be ruled on different sides of the lake.”
  • The Forbes magazine says… • The leadership principles per Forbes magazine’s interpretation of Weatherford’s biography of Genghis – Understand your people • “The vision should never stray far from the teaching of the elders. The old tunic fits better and it always more comfortable; it survives the hardships of the bush while the new or untried tunic is quickly torn.” – Change the word, but change it gradually • “At no single, crucial moment in his life did he suddenly acquire his genius at warfare, his ability to inspire the loyalty of his followers, or his unprecedented skill for organizing on a global scale. These derived not from epiphanic enlightenment or formal schooling but from a persistent cycle of pragmatic learning, experimental adaptation and constant revision driven by his uniquely disciplined mind and focused will.”