Independence and Leadership: Lessons from the 4th of July

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Lessons from the 4th of July


On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. This moment was marked by the ringing of the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. John Adams believed July 2 would be the date remembered by history. Instead the 4th of July has become the day we celebrate American independence.

The day gives us lessons in leadership, particularly about boldness, risk-taking, and principles.


Be Bold

Independence requires boldness. The founding fathers demonstrated this when they took a stand against Great Britain. They faced the world’s most powerful empire and chose the uncertain path of self-governance. This was not a decision made lightly. They understood the gravity of their actions.



In your organization, bold decisions can lead to significant breakthroughs. I think about Howard Schultz’s decisions to take Starbucks from coffee bean seller to global coffeehouse chain. Many thought expanding the brand globally was overly ambitious. Today, Starbucks is a household name worldwide. Bold leadership often involves stepping into the unknown with confidence. It means making decisions that others might shy away from.

What bold decisions are you making?



Embrace Uncertainty

The decision to declare independence was risky. Failure would mean severe consequences for the founding fathers, possibly even death. But they recognized that the potential rewards far outweighed the risks. They were driven by a vision of a free and independent nation.



Risk-taking is crucial in leadership. I think of many examples but top of mind is Steve Jobs, who risked everything to reinvent Apple in the late 1990s. He focused on innovation, leading to the creation of iconic products like the iPhone and iPad. These risks transformed Apple into one of the world’s most valuable companies.

What risks are you taking to advance your goals?


Act with principle

The Declaration of Independence was grounded in principles. It articulated the belief in equality, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These principles guided the founding fathers and gave them a clear vision.



Principled leadership means making decisions based on core values. It involves standing firm against opposition. Principled leaders make decisions based on core values. This approach creates a strong organizational culture where employees feel aligned with the mission. By adhering to principles, leaders create a stable foundation. This clarity of purpose not only inspires loyalty but also drives long-term success.

What are your key principles that you will uphold no matter what?



The Legacy of Independence

The legacy of the 4th of July is a testament to the enduring power of bold, principled, and courageous leadership. It reminds us that great leadership often involves taking significant risks and standing firm on one’s principles.

As leaders, we can draw inspiration from the story of American independence. It teaches us that true leadership is not about avoiding risks but about embracing them. It’s about being bold and principled. It’s about having the courage to pursue a vision, even when the path is uncertain.

As you celebrate this Independence Day, reflect on these qualities. Consider how you can incorporate them into your leadership style. Embrace boldness, take calculated risks, and stand firm on your principles.




Image Credit: bri tucker

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