Leadership Lessons from The Godfather

I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your computer screen on the day of your daughter's wedding. And I hope their first child be a masculine child. I pledge my never-ending loyalty.
 
No really, though. The Godfather is consistently ranked among the best movies of all time, and even though it's ripe with crime and violence, there are some key lessons to be learned about leadership. Justin Moore, CEO and founder of Axcient, explains how Don Corleone and the rest of the characters demonstrate some characteristics that can be helpful in the business world.
 
 

 
1) Build a powerful community.
 
Vito Corleone builds an extensive network of people who are loyal to him, because he helps people with their problems. On the simplest front, it boils down to a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" mentality, but in The Godfather it's more than that. The Don doesn't always expect a measurable favor for helping people out, but by consistently granting favors to those around him, he builds a community that definitely comes back to help him in return.
  
Leaders can use his strategy in a less … violent and illegal way. Building relationships with other members of the group through "time, trust, and mutual benefit," according to Moore, can lead to an extremely rewarding group dynamic and strengthens leadership skills.
 
 "Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me." ~Vito Corleone
 
2) Hold people accountable.
 
Tough love can be underestimated. When Vito Corleone let his team slip a little bit, he was almost assassinated. Now, in the business world, your boss (hopefully) won't murder you if you mess up. But it's important that as a leader, you make sure your team is performing at its highest level at all times. You don't have to be a ridiculous tyrant, but letting little things slip consistently can seriously impact productivity and can end up biting you in the butt in the end.
 
"What's the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft." ~Vito Corleone
 
3) Don't get emotional.
 
While compassion and understanding definitely have a place in leadership, it's important to realize that there will be times when you'll have to ignore your emotions and ego when making decisions. Always keep your morals in the forefront of your mind, and don't do anything to compromise the ethics of the situation, but remember that you won't always be the most likable person on the team -- you're the one that has to make the tough decisions.
 
"It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business." ~ Michael Corleone
 
4) Be decisive.
 
Along those lines, learning to step and make the tough calls is something that leaders have to do. Obviously -- and I feel like I've been saying this for the whole post! -- you're not going to pull a Vito and whack a team member to prove a point. But once you make a decision, immediately start taking steps to follow through with it. Being a leader means carefully considering all options and then choosing the best course of action. Sure, it might end up being the wrong decision, but being wishy-washy won't get you anywhere.
 
5) Spend time with your family.
 
Don Corleone is always stressing the importance of family. Throwing yourself into outrageously long work weeks and letting your job or project consume your life won't help you get ahead in the long run -- in fact, in can lead to burnout and cloud your judgement. Balancing your work life with family, hobbies, and other outside passions can enhance your perspective and ultimately lead you to make decisions with more clarity and effectiveness.
 
"Do you spend time with your family? Because a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man." ~ Vito Corleone
 
Once again, although The Godfather isn't exactly a moral role model (and I must stress the importance of NOT KILLING PEOPLE EVER,) some valuable lessons can be learned from this iconic movie. The full article can be found over at FastCompany.com.
 
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Stay awesome,
 
Janelle