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Business Lessons - by George Washington

Today, more than 230 years later, his actions are still applicable. He was known as a true servant leader. George Washington was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States.

Here are three lessons Washington can offer the business world:

1. Lead by example.

What's really interesting about Washington as a leader is he led by example. He participated in what was being accomplished.

Employees need a role model in an organization, someone who sets standards and expectations for others to follow, Russo says.

Leading by example also generates respect. If a business owner or CEO is too casual, unfocused or generally unproductive, subordinates will emulate those qualities. "Leading by example is really setting the stage for what the tone of the organization is going to be,"

Leading by example also gives business owners a better sense of what can be accomplished by employees. It does no one good, least of all the overall company when goals are set so loftily that they are unattainable.

2. Be consistent with your message internally and externally.

Washington was first and foremost, trustworthy and charismatic, and people looked up to him because he stood firm on his beliefs.

Part of that consistency is being able to delegate tasks so business owners and managers can free up time to see the big picture. Washington recognized this, which allowed him to be more innovative in molding our young country.

Washington was good at was knowing the people he had around him were people he could trust and they were strong thinkers and complemented the skills that he didn't have. The same applies in business.

3. Listen more, talk less.

There are some CEOs, business owners and managers who get so caught up in their own importance that they forget whom they're speaking with -- often, it's employees. These are the people doing their everyday jobs to make your business successful. So it's important to take the time to talk with your employees regularly, ask how they're doing, address any challenges they encounter and be open to suggestions from them on how to improve business functions.

John Adams said that Washington possessed the gift of silence. He spoke very seldom. He just bought that quiet presence that everyone looked up to, but he was extremely persistent.

Of course, maybe the most important lesson we can learn from President Washington is not to chop down any cherry trees.

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