Strategos Autokrator

More than 2300 years ago, Philip II of Macedon—the father of Alexander the Great—became strategos autokrator of the League of Corinth: the first federation of Greek States. The title strategos autokrator meant that he had the freedom to do what it takes to advance the interests of the Hellenic states, while at the same time he remained accountable for his actions.

This ancient approach to leadership continues to be useful in our time as well. When you want to grow as a leader, more and more tasks must be delegated to others. After all, your own time is a limited resources. This requires three steps:

  1. Clearly define what the task needs to accomplish. Don’t tell people what to do, but tell them what the outcome of their work needs to provide.
  2. Set the boundaries for the desired outcome. Think of timeline, budget, resources, etc.
  3. And finally, be very clear what you expect your people to do if one of those boundaries is in jeopardy. For example: “If you find that you run the risk of not making the timeline, I would like you to inform me immediately, so we can adapt accordingly.”

The difference between effective and ineffective leadership is subtle: Create as much freedom as possible by giving your people as few rules as possible: At the same time, hold your people vigorously, consistently, and visibly accountable to follow these rules.

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/Liountmila Korelidou

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