Mrs. Thatcher told the Liverpool Daily Post in 1974 that she did not think a woman would serve as party leader or prime minister during her lifetime. Much to the chagrin of the establishment, Maggie proved herself wrong. Shortly after making that statement she was elected leader of the Conservative Party on February 11th, 1975. Thatcher continued to make history and won the national election as the first female Prime Minister in Britain’s history on May 3rd, 1979. She successfully led the Conservatives to three election victories, from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British prime minister since the early 19th century. She was the most powerful woman in the world.
There are many lessons to take forth from the Prime Minister, here are my 9 Leadership Lessons From Maggie…
1| Mean what you say and Say what you mean:
“She said what she meant and meant what she said and did what she said she would do,” said Tony Benn, a radical left-wing minister in the Labour governments that preceded Mrs. Thatcher.
2| Set the tone and express your intentions:
At her first meeting with Soviet leader Gorbachev, she set the tone early in the relationship: “Welcome to the United Kingdom. I want our relationship to get off to a good start, and to make sure there is no misunderstanding between us… I hate Communism,” reported Sir Bernard, her press secretary.
3| Set your sail and stay the course – Values and Principles don’t bend:
Thatcher described consensus as the process of “abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies… something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.”
4| Leadership sets the tone and the vision:
“I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.” – 1980
5| Followers are many, Leaders are few – Lead, follow or get out of the way:
Her father, a Methodist preacher, was active in local politics and a major early influence. “He taught her, don’t go with the herd if you think that the herd is wrong,” said Sir Bernard Ingham, Thatcher’s Press Secretary.
6| Your starting point does not have to be your ending point:
Margaret Thatcher grew up in a meager lifestyle, the daughter of a Methodist preacher who was himself very active in local politics.
7| Life is not a popularity contest, tough decisions are not always popular:
Thatcher said those who stood in the middle of the road risked getting hit by traffic coming both ways. “I’m not here to be liked,” she often said.
8| Stand for something – Have conviction and be yourself at all times:
“The trouble with you, John, is that your spine does not reach your brain.” Thatcher, as former prime minister speaking to a member of her party who supported Britain’s entry into the European Union in 1992.
9| Embrace the challenges in your life:
“When you’ve spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it’s exciting to have a real crisis on your hands.” 1982, commenting on the Falkland Islands war.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the ‘Iron Lady” was a Brink Thinker and stood heels above the crowd!