Seven leadership secrets of Genghis Khan

Business is a dog-eat-dog world, and everyone wants to be on top. So how do you stand out from the rest and establish yourself as a leader of tomorrow?

It may sound strange, but the life of 11th century Mongol warlord Genghis Khan can provide crucial insights into how you can become a true modern-day influencer. From managing your team to dealing with unexpected adversity, there’s no mentor like the Great Khan. Follow these seven steps and you’ll be on the fast-track to the corner office in no time.

1. Unify your workspace

A united team is an effective team. Promoting cohesiveness is a vital part of every good manager’s job, and there are few better ways to synergise your work environment than by forging the warring tribes of the Mongol steppe into a mighty hammer with which to break the world. Listen to your subordinates, reward those with potential regardless of their background, and crush the dissident Merkits for kidnapping your wife, Börte.

2. Pivot to China

From tech to trade, China is the next big thing. Any thought leader worth their salt knows that to really thrive in today’s workforce, you need to subdue the rebellious Xi Xia, breach the Great Wall and lay waste to the Jin dynasty. Your victory at the Battle of Yehuling and subsequent sack of Zhongdu will gift your army advanced Chinese weaponry like the trebuchet and the siege crossbow, which will prove invaluable in later campaigns and look great at your next board presentation.

3. Initiate a hostile takeover

Conflict is inevitable when dealing with rival agencies, so don’t be afraid to pick a fight if you have to. When the governor of Otrar sends two of your emissaries back bearing the head of the third, you’ll have little choice but to take drastic action and reduce the Khwarezmid Empire to ashes and dust. It may seem harsh, but after you raise pyramids of severed heads before the gates of Samarkand, Rachel from Milton Lyle will think twice before taking your biggest client out for mimosas again.

4. Be frugal

It can be tempting to flaunt your success by blowing that quarterly bonus on a new Benz, but staying humble will make it easier to brush off the haters trying to tear you down and set an example your team will strive to follow. Sleep in the saddle, drink the blood of your mount when water is scarce, and don’t take more than your fair share of the office coffee pods. They’re a privilege, not a right!

5. Cultivate your image

Reputation is everything in business, and sometimes the best way to boost your rep is by letting others speak for you. Rather than tooting your own horn on LinkedIn, driving a vast horde of captured prisoners from the cities you’ve burned before your army will fill enemy forces with dread, throw their battle plans into disarray, and make yours a name whispered in terror from the Huang-Ho to the Indus. More importantly, you’ll be the hot topic at after-work drinks.

6. Kill 40 million people

You’re defined by your work, and nothing wows like a major project. What better way to catch the eye of corporate than by embarking on a campaign of mass slaughter so horrific in scale, people think you’re God’s punishment on a sinful mankind? Nothing says “go-getter” like single-handedly reducing the medieval world’s population by five percent in an orgy of death rivalled only by the Black Plague. Take that, Thompson in sales!

7. Leave a legacy

Even the greats know when it’s time to move on. When you decide to pursue new opportunities, do right by your old firm and try to find a suitable successor. While tradition may demand you leave the empire to your eldest son Jochi, the fractious and hot-tempered Chagatai will never accept his primacy. Choosing Ögedei as your heir will preserve the khanate while keeping your restive brood in line. Your soldiers may ride 1,000 horses over your grave so that it may never be found, but the meeting room they name after you at the farewell party will be thanks enough.