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Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
In his latest book, Phillip Barlag explains how Julius Caesar's leadership approach united an entire empire and how many of his techniques would serve any leader in any time period incredibly well.
Here are just five techniques Caesar used:
1. Maintain Personal Connections: It was often said that Caesar knew the names of all those who fought with him, and while this may be an exaggeration, it definitely attests to the fact that he connected with his men on a personal level and didn't act like he was "above" them and ate with them and slept with them on the battle grounds. His soldiers followed him into battle not because they were ordered to, but because they wanted to.
2. Sharing Information with All Relevant Parties: Every one of Caesar's centurions had as much information on the battle plan as Caesar himself did. This means that everyone in his "management" know the goals, the aims, and the strategies to get there. This meant that they in turn could lead their soldiers most effectively and in the most coordinated and unified fashion.
3. Don't Delegate Demanding Tasks: Punishing deserters proved unpleasant and was not something that someone of Caesar's standing should have to do, but he did anyway. Just as much as he supported his men personally, he also attended to disciplinary matters personally. A good leader can't be seen to act only in good times.
4. Take Risks. Historians have often argued that Caesar took careless risks including participating in the crossing of the Rubicon with his troops, which was considered treasonous. But the fact remains that much of the reason he was able to achieve as much as he did and influence as many as he did was because he took risks.
5. Communicate Effectively. Caesar is known not just for the way in which he freely shared information, but also the excellent manner in which he communicated with his soldiers and cohorts. He also knew, having come from poverty himself, how the common citizen thought and how he could break down complexities into simple language that could be understood by statesmen and legionnaires alike.