Iron Sharpens Iron; Thatcher’s Legacy

Photo credit: Norman Parkinson/Sygma/Corbis
Photo credit: Norman Parkinson/Sygma/Corbis

What can we learn from a woman who was loved by many, hated by many, and ousted by her own people?   Integrity and Persistence are critical to successful leadership.  Few can argue against the fact that Thatcher was effective as she executed her vision of making Britain as great as it once was.

“Of course it’s the same old story. Truth usually is the same old story.”– Margaret Thatcher

You can’t lie your way through leadership, although evidence points to many in business who believe to the contrary.  The simple truth is always, well, simple.  The simple is easier to manage than the complex.  When you know what you stand for, then stand.  It’s a way to gain respect and power and rally the troops to get the job done.

Growing up a grocer’s daughter, Thatcher’s earliest education was simple and powerful.  An understanding of basic economics established a platform for the success of Thatcher’s economic policy.

“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”  – Margaret Thatcher

The most basic economic principle of reining in free-spending in her own party, the absolute right thing to do in her own mind, served as the ultimate nail in the coffin of her own demise.

Battling the trade unions when she felt they were too powerful for the good of the country took guts.  It’s like Elliott Ness taking on Al Capone, or the little guy taking on City Hall.  If you’re going to take on those battles, know what you’re fighting for. Even if what you’re fighting for may hurt the common people in the end. 

“Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.”  – Margaret Thatcher

Thatcher took on positions and spoke out on the harmful climate change and took drastic action in the early fight against HIV/Aids. In those days, she didn’t have a lot of company when fighting for those issues.

Thatcher rose from the bottom, paid her dues and sharpened her resolve along the way.  When the Falkland Islands were invaded in 1982, her position was undeniable and her will was unshakeable.  When Britain was under attack, her leadership resolve seemed to grow stronger.  She was clear she was out to win a war and not a popularity contest.  Success meant her popularity grew.

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”  – Margaret Thatcher

Her steely determination showed as she spoke out against terrorism after the failed assassination attempt in 1984.  Her remarks of defiance against terrorism enamoured her to some, but thickened the hatred against her by others.

“Any leader has to have a certain amount of steel in them, so I am not that put out being called the Iron Lady.”  -Margaret Thatcher

 Margaret Thatcher was a leader.  Whether you agreed with her politics or not, as a woman, she made great strides for those of us who stand here today.  When you think of leaders that you would like to emulate, I do hope her image comes to mind.


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