Andrew Roberts, Historian and Author of Leadership in War

Published on27 FEB 2020

Andrew Roberts discusses lessons learned from studying some of the most consequential leaders in history, from Napoleon Bonaparte to Margaret Thatcher, and the qualities that shaped their tenures, particularly during times of war.  

On the lessons learned from leaders in war: “The first was that charisma, which one naturally assumes is an absolutely essential prerequisite for leadership, especially leadership in war, is an entirely artificial construct. Nobody's born charismatic.… And other people genuinely had something that inspired other people when they were near them. And that wasn't naturally charisma itself. It was something else. It was a form of a capacity to inspire. Napoleon and Churchill very much had that.”

On the leadership qualities of Winston Churchill: “[Churchill] had moral courage equal to his physical courage, which was an extraordinary thing, his physical courage…. He was very much somebody who people enjoyed interacting with rather than sort of looking up to as though there were some kind of rock star.”

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