Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) was known as “The Liberator”. He was destined for a life of luxuries as his family was one of the richest in Venezuela (the country where he was born). Despite a peaceful future, he changed his destiny inspired by Napoleon and other massive revolutionary leaders of the time. He ended up emancipating several Latin American countries from Spanish domination in the early 19th century.
Recently, a TV show about his biography was released, and that inspired this article. Bolivar is a show that reveals historical moments of this spectacular leader. A person that changed history using his determination and perseverance. His army was amassed of lowly farmers, slaves and people with no experience of war. How did he do it? With incredible motivation skills, strategic thinking and a clear vision.
His vision was to see a united America free of any domination and integrated into one land. This ideal was the product of his studies and education as he was an intellectual man avid for knowledge and political models that he could replicate and adapt in the Americas. So, his movement started as a military revolution, but he knew it would be much more than that. To achieve that, he gave up everything he had and faced many obstacles rising from the ashes after losing many battles.
He was definitely an incredible character who had to maximize his resources and be one step ahead of his enemy, no less than the Spanish crown. Here we have some of his leadership lessons:
- We need to set big goals to have significant achievements: sometimes we set small and easy goals that limit us from being great.
- Look for a big motivator for your team: Bolivar used freedom in his speech, and his followers were ready to die for this ideal.
- You should use any past experience to mould your future: Many said that Bolivar was a problem because he didn’t have a father figure of authority. Problem? I don’t think so!.
- Patience is a must!: time heals all.
- Being yourself and being independent is the best way to live successfully.
- The power shouldn’t be concentrated on one person: Usually, those who have complete and absolute power abuse it.
- Education is the best revolution.
- Intelligence is the ability to adapt to new things.
- Your team needs to treated with equality and justice.
- You don’t need to say bad words to offend someone, use irony (it is more effective).
- If you have found love, take care of it: the force of love motivates us and make us believe that anything is possible.
- The worst is when people think of their world is the entire world and don’t believe it could be more than that.
- Life without pain is not life.
- Be prepared to face the betrayal of the person you least expect.
- Don’t judge: You don’t know other’s circumstances.
- Choose your battles. Not all of them will help you to win the war.
- A leader has to be exceptional and must be able to do unimaginable things for the common good.
- A leader needs to know how to communicate his vision.
- Honour and loyalty are priceless.
- You will not always be right: others could have better ideas of how to do things and you need to be attentive and listen.
- Rumours and gossip can destroy lives: keep yourself away from those.
- Sometimes your courage and success are not recognised: many leaders have been famous after their death.
- Resilience is of paramount importance for leaders as many face the contempt and ingratitude from those they fought.
- Bolivar. (2019) Netflix. Friday 21stJune.
- Masur, G. (2019) Simon Bolivar. Available from: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Bolivar/Liberation-of-New-Granada[Accessed 2nd August 2019]
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