An Elizabethan Lesson In Leadership

I have just finished reading Elizabeth The Queen, a biography of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir. In it she describes the naval battle between the English and the Spanish Armada. England’s victory was a mixture of luck – the weather was awful for the Spanish, many of whose boats sank as a result of gales rather than gunpowder – and expertise.

Central to that expertise was Elizabeth’s management of the English admiral, Lord Howard of Effingham. Unlike his Spanish counterpart, Medina-Sidonia, who, according to Weir “had been given detailed – and sometimes unrealistic, – instructions” by the Spanish monarch, Phillip II, Effingham had simply been told by Elizabeth “to conduct all engagements according to his own judgement.”

It is this combination of clear objectives and freedom to act that gives your managers and teams the energy and ability to deliver great results for your business. Are you micro-managing your people or are you allowing them to use their own best judgement in pursuit of your shared goals?

© Stuart Cross 2010. All rights reserved.

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