How can I be a good leader? How can I motivate my employees to give 100% to the project? These and many other questions haunt the minds of entrepreneurs in this country.

It is normal that when you are in charge of a team, no matter how small, you have doubts about how to deal with certain situations. Even the most experienced leaders of the moment have problems managing groups.

Today, we have decided to learn from General Napoleon Bonaparte, as he was one of the most important leaders during the French Revolution. 

Don’t worry, we are not going to detail his entire life. To do so would mean writing entire books, and the truth is that we don’t have contacts in any publishing house, yet 😉

We will see three key episodes of his life from which we can learn a lot and draw important lessons.

Let’s get to it!

Napoleon Bonaparte: A Great Leader

Early Years: Nothing Is Set in Stone

The story of Napoleon Bonaparte begins on the small island of Corsica, which years before Napoleon was born, France bought from the Republic of Genoa. From an early age, Napoleon repudiated French culture with all his might. He saw the French as the oppressors of the Corsicans, so from an early age, he demonstrated against anything that represented France.

When he was 10 years old, his father managed to transfer him and his brother Jose to France to study at the military school. There, due to his aversion to the French, Napoleon did not get along with anyone and was bullied by his classmates for the negative attitude he showed towards them. Even so, Napoleon managed to graduate and became a second lieutenant of artillery.

This teaches us that we should never accept things as they are and that our ideals are the most important thing we have as people. You must always question the why and look for all possible solutions to change your situation and reach your goal.

Italian Campaign 1796-1797

After several battles and after stopping several insurrections in the capital during the French Revolution, Napoleon was awarded the rank of brigadier general. At the time, France was at war against the Austrian Empire and the Papal States. 

Napoleon crossing the Alps

Napoleon was ordered to take control of the French army in Italy, far from where the important battles against the Austrian Empire were. Moreover, the state of his army was deplorable. Poorly uniformed, poorly fed, and unpaid for some time, the soldiers’ morale was at rock bottom.

Upon his arrival, Napoleon addressed his army and promised them glory and wealth. But it wasn’t this that really motivated his men. It was during the battles that he really earned the respect of his men. He stood beside his soldiers, getting dirty in the mud with them. 

This practice was unusual for the time, as the vast majority of generals stayed behind giving orders from a distance.

And finally, when he defeated the Papal States, he divided the wealth of those territories among his men before sending the rest of the money to France. In that way, he won the loyalty of his army for eternity.

This is probably one of the most important lessons to learn from him. Napoleon managed to motivate his subordinates, working side by side with them, to achieve the goals of his project. Moreover, he cared for them as no one had ever done before.

The Invasion of Russia

On June 23, 1812, the General assembled the largest army ever seen. 600,000 men gathered on the Polish border ready to invade Russian territory. And although several of Napoleon’s advisors opposed the plan, he proceeded anyway.

Napoleon Returning from Russia

The General’s strategies in battle consisted mainly of speed. He used light infantry to attack from different flanks and pursued enemy armies in retreat. This speed forced the enemy to retreat even faster, leaving supplies and food behind, which Napoleon took advantage of to feed his army and continue the pursuit. 

This strategy did not work in Russian territory because, every time they had to retreat from a battle, they burned the land, the houses, the animals, and everything that could be useful for the French army.

Then, Napoleon depended on supply wagons that were slower than his infantry so that his attacks were delayed. His advance slowed down so much that winter came and with it, the coldest months. His army didn’t have the right equipment to withstand the Russian winter cold and many perished there.

Due to Napoleon’s stubbornness, he moved forward and entered Moscow. There, he sent a letter to Alexander I to sign peace, although his reply never came. After a month in Moscow with his men freezing to death, he decided to return to Paris to appease the atmosphere, returning with only 40,000 men out of the initial 600,000.

The lesson to be learned is that it doesn’t matter how many resources you may have. What really matters is strategy, as it is a very important factor to follow. Also, it is key to listen to advisors, friends, relatives, so that they can give us their point of view. And finally, stubbornness is not always good and can lead us astray.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake” – Napoleon Bonaparte

That’s all for today. We hope you liked it and that you were able to learn a lot about Napoleon and his way of leading. 

Thank you very much for reading us as always.

See you in the next post 🙂

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