Ever seen the movie Gladiator? What I like about that movie is the leadership attributes on display: Bravery, honour, vision and truly an extraordinary individual.
More than ever before, now is the right time for more heroic leaders. This type of leader operates from four perspectives: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
A Gladiator leader dominates every arena. Failure is not considered an option. These leaders have a focused eye on the opponent, and have the mindset that they win every match, they know no resistance, nor fear but have ample courage.
They are obsessed with being ‘on purpose,’ in everything they do, they check in to see if it is relevant and aligned with their aspiration, and if it isn’t they don’t waste their time nor energy. A Gladiator leader is able to articulate that great big vision that drives their team towards the goal. They are concise in their communication and have a very clear picture of the future.
Gladiators viewed themselves as a kind of brotherhood…
A Gladiator leads from the front, they don’t tell their people what to do, nor do they dictate how to go about getting results. And they are not afraid to roll their sleeves up and get working in the trenches… As a result, this builds loyalty and inspiration.
They know how to connect with the work and the crowd, they are aware that they are on watch 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, they are in their own right a ‘celebrity’. They are revered for their loyalty, courage, discipline and leadership. Always composed and thinking ahead of time, and if need be, they will sacrifice themselves when faced with adversity to protect their team and build their team from the ground up. They are driven by virtues of honour and respect.
A Gladiator leader builds an exceptional culture because they know that they are stronger when they listen and smarter when they share, being transparent. They know their strengths and have the skills to draw the right people together as part of their team because they have compassion and care (rather than the old style of command and control using fear tactics to get what they want.)
Those who lacked enthusiasm to fight were cajoled by their leader…
The original Gladiators were risk takers, they were prepared to die and with honour. Their focus was survival.
These days leaders have way too many goals and wonder why they don’t land. But Gladiator leaders knew that when the $%&* hits the fan, they had to have their wits about them, they didn’t run away from the problem, they were there keeping their heads in the crisis fighting – they were quick to think on their own two feet and refused to give in and panic!
Today’s leaders are too quick to come up with excuses or defend rather than stay in position and be brave to find the best way to solve the problem without retreat. Gladiator leaders are always in battles and therefore are obsessed with training and developing their skills, talents, and mindset – they are continuously sharpening their sword. They know how to slow down enough to speed up.
Furthermore, good leaders must be flexible … to work with the talent they’ve got. The same management style that works for one person, is not necessarily motivating for another. A true leader knows this.
A true leader is also not afraid of the odd set back because ‘failure’ is not a word in their vocabulary – they will take the feedback, learn the lesson and change tack. Adaptability is key. Just because something worked some time ago, it doesn’t mean it still applies today.
Gladiator leaders are inspirational teachers and mentors…
In today’s rapidly changing environment, leaders must also teach and train those who may soon replace them. Great leaders know when to step aside, they focus on turning their team into leaders, they are working towards an exit strategy and making themselves redundant.
True leaders don’t create followers… they create more leaders because leadership is about being of service to others, not being served by other. Be a mentor… not a boss!!
A Gladiator leader knows that nobody wins alone, the strongest asset is being part of a healthy, high performing team.
The greatest leader always practices the three R’s, Respect for self and others, Responsibility for all of their actions, and take the Risk or lose the chance.
A true leader knows him or herself. They have a strong sense of their abilities and weaknesses and this is their greatest asset – because, in the immortal words of Olivia Pope:
“We know who we are, who will always be, and we have a choice. We can hide in the shadows, or we can stand in the light.”