Leadership Lessons: Lead like the Wizard Gandalf of Tolkien’s Fantasy World

leadership 30th January 2017 Workbetter Team

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For anyone who loves reading fantasy fiction or for that matter watching such films, they would know that Gandalf is a celebrated name. He is a wizard and one of the protagonists in the J.R.R.Tolkien’s novels The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. While there are battles of epic stature being fought and heroes fight it out with villains, we’re introduced to an exemplary leader in the wizard himself. There’s much to learn from the wise, old man if you’re a leader in your organization.  So, ready for some leadership lessons?

Research inside-out

Saruman, the head of the White Council tells Gandalf that One Ring’s gone missing from the world, but Gandalf doesn’t believe it and sets out on a journey to understand the power of the One Ring and to establish that it indeed is in Bilbo Baggins’ possession. He could have sent someone else to research on his behalf, but doesn’t because it was an important matter and the fate of the world depended on it. Similarly, you too must set out on your research and dig beneath the ground to be sure of what is in your court and how you should go about it.

Related: What The Avengers Teach Us About Teamwork

Open communication channels

You may be the head of the group, but there are people in your team who are working hard. They have the potential and inputs that can ultimately be valuable for the project. So, it is important to not just talk, but also listen. Gandalf, if you see asks every stakeholder such as elves, dwarves, men and hobbits, to share their thoughts on the One Ring. After the discussion, they arrive at a joint conclusion that the One Ring could be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom in the land of Mordor. The resources are identified and so begins their project which is obviously in the right hands. Indeed one of the leadership lessons the wise Gandalf imparts that only keen learners would have spotted it.

Related: How to Exercise Power and Influence in an Organization

Don’t lead from a distance

You may be at the top of the hierarchy, but you are still a member of the team because you wouldn’t have existed if there were never a team in the first place! Like Gandalf, you must learn to be with them at all times, endure hardships like he does, and guide them if they go off the defined track. The Fellowship stays united because of him.

Related: 6 Key Differences Between Managers and Leaders

Everyone’s equal

A good team leader knows that every member of the team, whether experienced or inexperienced, is working on the project equally. Without one the other will not survive and if required, he/she will motivate all of them should there be a lack of vision. In the Fellowship too there are powerful personalities like Aragorn, Frodo, Boromir, Legolas, Frodo and Gimli, but he makes sure there’s no disparity and so treats other hobbits, Sam, Merry and Pipin equally too.

Related: Ways to Foster a Collaborative Environment at Work

You aren’t born a leader. You can become a leader too.

“The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there”, Gandalf says. When Bilbo then asks “..Can you promise that I will come back?” Gandalf replies honestly, “No. And if you do… you will not be the same.” While some believe that leaders are born, we’d like to believe that you can become an exceptional leader with experience and drive! There will be mistakes made and lessons learnt. You will fail in leading and at the same time outperform yourself in leading teams. You must continue believing in yourself and aspire to build top performing teams. Give them what they need and being there for them, with them at all times.

Related: How Travel Teaches You to Be an Exceptional Business Leader

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