[August 12, 2020] I’m starting a new mini-series about leadership lessons taken from the writings of famous Revolutionary War heroes. To begin the series, I will start with Samuel Adams (1722-1803) as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and political philosopher.
After Sam Adams passed away, his legacy was shrouded in controversy. In the early 20th century, he was portrayed as a master of propaganda who provoked mob violence to achieve his goals. This interpretation has been challenged by some modern scholars who argue that such depictions of Adams are myths contradicted by the historical record.1
“Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.” – Samuel Adams
Adams is considered the “spark” that touched off the flame of revolution in the American colonies. His writings, leading up to the American Revolution, called for the colonies to reject British “taxation without representation.” Samuel Adams was the essential leader of the birth of American Liberty.2
Here are five leadership lessons from Samuel Adams:3
- Leadership is the art of influence. If you want to lead, you must find ways to influence people to join your team, participate in your cause, and share a common vision.
- Commitment makes all the difference. To act, to do, to be committed to the cause is everything. People do not follow leaders who are not engaged.
- Leaders organize for success. Adams’ development of organizations such as the Sons of Liberty gave structure to the cause of Liberty. To lead effectively, you must organize for success and motivate your team to act.
- Leaders Shape the Culture of their Organizations. Adams’ life was about encouraging his fellow colonists to stand up for their rights as free men. He also understood that to lead effectively, you must have a vision and act upon it.
- Leaders understand that they must appeal to people emotionally as well as intellectually. Adams believed that people are governed more by their feelings than by reason. You can implore logic, but if you do not appeal to people’s feelings, you may never reach them.