Leadership is a lofty purpose to which many aspire. Many have tried to succeed in leadership and most have failed. True and great leaders are a rare breed, a blend of charisma, vision, and determination. They are determined and focused. There is a sense of resolve and sound judgment. Leadership is about choices, and a leader must use their intelligence and their charisma to make the right decision at the right time. While there have been a number of effective leaders in the past, most have been men. In this paper, the idea of women as effective leaders, both in the past and in contemporary times will be explored. This will be achieved through the analysis of two great female leaders of the past, Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. However their leadership styles can still provide lessons to be used today as demonstrated by former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher. In choosing Elizabeth I and Cleopatra, there are several components to effective leadership addressed. Elizabeth, the strong and ever vigilant leader, lead her people through trying times without allowing herself to marry. Cleopatra, the seductive and complex leader, used all of her skills in order to achieve her objectives. These cases not only provide an overall guide to effective leadership, they exemplify all of the qualities that a female can use to succeed in leadership. Margaret Thatcher, through her steely resolve and determination in today’s time, became the “Iron Lady,” pushing the United Kingdom to retake its place in the world. Case Study #1:
Elizabeth I, Queen of England
Elizabeth I became Queen of England in 1558, a time when women were not often to be leaders of powerful countries. The last remaining heir to the throne Elizabeth had no choice but to keep the throne at all costs. A Protestant, she was forced to deal with the ramifications of a religiously divided country, which was caused by her father Henry VIII’s separation with the Roman Catholic Church. Elizabeth I’s rule began in hostile times, with many problems that had to be dealt with immediately. Not only did the young queen have to lead her people through off a number of rebellions from Mary Queen of Scots, a devout Catholic, but also lead her people against foreign enemies. Being the only surviving child of Henry VIII, not only did the Queen have to secure the monarchal line through marriage, but was expected to produce an heir. During her reign of 45 years, the Queen diligently brushed off all attempts to entice her to produce a successor to the throne. Through her life she was courted by several men, but never married. She rather cited the need to remain loyal only to England and that marriage would be a compromising factor in the defense of her country. When Elizabeth I died in 1603 she left no heir, but a legacy of dedication and leadership that arguably can still be found today. Leadership Lessons
From these experiences we learn many leadership experiences. Elizabeth first recognized the need to unify her constituency and secure the approval of those who served below her. In her speech to Parliament in 1562, she unified her constituency, telling them that foreign threats dictated the need for the people’s loyalty to England and the throne. (Elizabeth 6-7) Elizabeth I also demonstrated a great ability to mobilize her people. In looking at her words at Tilbury, she not only solidified her leadership skills, but mobilized the people to fight for her cause, their cause. “By your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdoms, and of my people.” – Elizabeth I, Speech to the Troops of Tilbury, 1588. With this one quote, Elizabeth I demonstrated her total faith in not only her people, but in her plans and in her vision. She remained determined. However the greatest lesson...