Leadership Lessons from an Illiterate turned Billionaire

You can surf the web and find countless studies, blogs, and companies focused on laws of leadership, characteristics of success, and so on.  As I start this post, I would like to lead off by setting the bar as to a picture of leadership and success.  Click HERE

Last week, I had the honor to attend some meetings with Dr. Peter Daniels of Australia.  While not a decorated war hero like Col Robert Howard (video above), he is certainly another picture of success.   He was from three generations of welfare recipients, has several relatives in jail, and illiterate to age 26…certainly not fed with a silver spoon.  Today he has read over 6,000 biographies, authored over 13 books, and is worth some $5billion.  As the owner of a global business with zero mortgages anywhere in the world and one that has never been sued, Dr. Daniels knows a little something about success, leadership and integrity.

When speaking on leadership, Dr. Daniels mentioned 4 key things…

  1. Leadership is the willingness to take responsibility for all of it.  At the end of the day, you are responsible for a business…its customers, its employees, vendors, etc.  A leader can not be blind via delegation, but must accept responsibility.
  2. Leaders must climb above the common.  As a leader you must not rest on position alone, but set the tone.  Arrive early, study the business more, work harder/smarter.  You must be the pinnacle.
  3. Leaders need a biblical morality.  It is amazing to see the Enron’s of the world.  Some may not subscribe to biblical truths, but there is something to be said for the standards set forth within.  Ethics and doing the right thing has been lost in litigation, ‘politics’, greed and so on.  At the core, leaders need to lead with integrity, ethics, and a strong sense of morality.
  4. Leaders should expect and accept a sense of loneliness.  You will often be difficult to be around.  Having higher expectations, staying out of the petty business, and standing on strong morals will make you a difficult person for many to interact with.  However, you are a leader and not a friend.  If you go back to the 3rd bullet, a leader should be more concerned with respected then being liked.

Dr. Daniels said “the first law of leadership is to instill a little fear”.  In today’s society we are so concerned with being liked, political correctness, etc.  A leader will be liked because of their integrity, example they set forth, and results they drive.

Next week I will have some more notes from my sessions with Dr. Peter Daniels.

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3 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from an Illiterate turned Billionaire

  1. In my own experience, as a former Marine, I can say that this certainly rings true. When I look back at those Marines for whom I had the greatest respect and would have gladly followed into combat, they were the ones that I feared just enough, but admired, respected and trusted the most.

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