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Business Lessons You Can Learn From Famous Leadership Examples

There are all kinds of leaders in the world today; some good and some bad. Chances are, you could quite easily compile your own list of leadership examples you have noticed, be that of people you have read about in the media, or through leaders you have encountered first hand, be that in business or otherwise.

Should you be a business leader, you owe it to yourself to learn from other leaders past and present. By doing so, you can make improvements to your business, and shape yourself into the kind of leader that your employees and your clients and customers need you to be. In this article, we are going to list two famous leadership examples. Take note, and if you realise you need to change the way you and your business operate, do so for the long-term future of your business.

Bill Gates: Leadership Ranking – GOOD


Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is one of the world’s wealthiest people living today. He’s allegedly worth around $100 billion. That’s a lot of moolah. And while it’s unlikely many of us will make a similar fortune (though never say never), we can still learn a lot from the man, including the following examples.

Lesson#1: Never give up

Some of Gates’ earliest ventures failed to come into fruition – have you ever heard of Traf-O-Data? – but he didn’t let his failures overtake his drive to succeed. And the same should be true of you. If your initial business idea doesn’t work, don’t assume your next business idea won’t take off. Gates failed multiple times before he made it big with Microsoft, and so might you. Take a lot at his success story here and be inspired should you ever struggle.

Lesson #2: Show compassion

Consider Gates’ philanthropic ventures. He makes a lot of money, but he gives much off that away to charities through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a result, he has received much respect from employees, customers, and the world’s media alike, and the good reputation he has earned has profited his company. You see, while Gates may be a very compassionate person, he probably understands that it makes business sense too. So, consider what you could do. While you might not have the funds to give away a lot of your profits, you might still show charity in other ways within your community, perhaps by lending your time to help others or by donating your equipment. This will boost your reputation and possibly boost your profits. Other than the example set by Bill Gates, here are some other examples of businesses who succeeded through charitable giving. Learn from them!

Ferdinand Marcos: Leadership Ranking – BAD


The Philippines has long been famed for it’s rigged political elections, and while new voting processes have gone some way to minimising the problem according to Smartmatic, we should still pay attention to the worst offender of them all, Ferdinand Marcos. He was the President of the Philippines between 1965 and 1986, winning time and time again, not because of his good character and respectable political views, but allegedly because of the lies he told to garner support, his great wealth and his vast number of political connections. When in power, he led his people through fear and brutality, embezzled billions of dollars, and brought about near-economic meltdown, before being ousted by the People Power Revolution when over a million Filipinos took to the streets to overthrow his regime.

Lesson #1:  Dictatorship is not a good leadership style

Under Marcos’ rule, sit-down strikes, work slowdowns, and mass walkouts were the norm as workers resisted the dictatorship that their lives had fallen under. This was their way of protesting against their conditions, and while Marcos outlawed strikes, over 80,000 workers still continued protesting. The message for you? Treat your workers fairly because they won’t take any unfair behaviour on your part lightly. Despite the power you wield as a leader, you can only push people so far. In your situation, you might experience strike action, employee resignations, and slow productivity from staff suffering from low morale. You need to operate fairly, because despite the fear tactics Marcos used, and despite his status as the President of the Philippines, the people did overthrow him. Learn from his example, treat your employees right, and benefit from the improved productivity that will result as a consequence.

Lesson #2: Remember your reputation

Your employees aren’t the only people who will take action against you. You need to remember your customers, clients, and both local and national media, all of whom will retaliate against you if you a) rule with an iron fist, and b) take part in any criminal activity that will taint your name. ¬†Marcos was known then and is still known as being one of the greatest political villains in history, through his corruption and dictatorial leadership style.¬† You have both your reputation to consider and your long-time legacy in business, both of which will suffer if you follow his example. Of course, when we say ‘his example,’ we aren’t referring to the extremes that Marcos showed, but any case of wrongdoing within your business could sabotage your reputation in business forever.

Thanks for reading!