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  • Writer's picturePhillip Andrew Barbb

8 Leadership Lessons from Ancient Greece to WW2 to Wall Street

Leadership is more than just being in charge; it's about inspiring and motivating others to achieve their goals. The world's most successful CEOs have mastered this art and have shown us the way to achieve success and get the most out of their team. In this blog post, we will discuss 8 eight key leadership lessons from these CEOs, Coaches, Motivators, and Philosophers that will help you become a better leader and achieve success in your career and life.

Lesson 1: Know Your Identity as a Leader

As the Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, "Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly."

Successful leaders know who they are and what they stand for. They have a strong sense of their identity, which guides their decisions and actions. Knowing your identity as a leader will help you gain the trust and respect of your team and inspire them to follow you. Pick 5 key characteristics that describe you at your best and stay inside of integrity with the adjectives.

Lesson 2: Prioritize Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is crucial for maintaining good mental and physical health. Some of the most successful CEOs prioritize their work-life balance and make time for their personal life.

As Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, once said, "Work-life harmony is a concept where you never have to make a choice between work and life. It's a seamless integration of the two."

Also understand that thousands of articles have been written about Work Life Balance including “5 Proven Strategies for Achieving the Elusive Work-Life Balance.” If it were easy, we wouldn’t need so much help with it. However, it begins with the believe that you can have both a successful career and a fulfilling life. They are not mutually exclusive.

Lesson 3: Set SMART Goals

Setting goals is essential for achieving success. Successful CEOs set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

As Tony Robbins once said, "Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible."

Setting SMART goals will help you stay focused and motivated and achieve your long-term and short-term objectives. If you want more details on this, email me at and I will email you a worksheet on SMART goals I use with my executive coaching clients.

Lesson 4: Use Time Management Practices and Tools

Time management is critical for achieving success. Successful CEOs use time management practices and tools to manage their time effectively.

As Jim Rohn once said, "Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time."

Make sure to use time management tools like calendars, timers, and apps to prioritize and manage your time efficiently. One specific technique is ‘time blocking’ where you break your day into blocks of time and assign specific tasks or activities to each block. The idea is to schedule your day in advance, so you know what you'll be doing during each hour or half-hour of the day. This can help you stay focused and productive throughout the day, avoid distractions, and accomplish more tasks in less time.

Lesson 5: Embrace Failure as a Learning Opportunity

Failure is not the opposite of success; it's a part of success. Successful CEOs embrace failure as a learning opportunity and use it to improve themselves and their business.

As Winston Churchill once said, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it's the courage to continue that counts."

Embracing failure will help you develop resilience, learn from your mistakes, and eventually succeed.

Lesson 6: Be Creative and Innovative

Creativity and innovation are essential for staying ahead in today's rapidly changing business world. Successful leaders encourage creativity and innovation in their teams and use them to find new solutions to problems.

As Albert Einstein once said, "Creativity is intelligence having fun."

Make sure to foster creativity and innovation in yourself and your team to stay ahead of the curve.

Lesson 7: Stay Organized and Focused

Organization and focus are critical for achieving success. Successful CEOs stay organized and focused and use strategies like prioritization and delegation to manage their workload efficiently.

As Steve Jobs once said, "Focus and simplicity…once you get there, you can move mountains."

Make sure to stay organized and focused on your goals to achieve success.

Lesson 8: Prioritize Health

Health is wealth, and successful CEOs know it. They prioritize their health and make time for exercise, sleep, and healthy eating.

As Jack Welch once said, "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion. However, they also prioritize their own health."

Prioritizing your health will help you stay energized.

- Phillip A. Barbb is a 2x Emmy®-nominated TV Producer and a performance coach focused on emotional intelligence, dynamic leadership, and strategic short-term and long-term goal setting for C-Suite executives, entrepreneurs, creatives, and rising-star business professionals. He is also the author of “All the Reasons I Hate My 28-Year Old Boss” available in hard copy, eBook, and Audible

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