Leadership from Genghis Khan

In 1165, a child was born in the heart of Asia. It is said that when he was born, he was clutching a blood clot-a sign from Heaven that he was destined to be a great warrior. His name is Genghis Khan, meaning “Universal Ruler”. The word Khan is not a name, but a title. It means emperor or king. This word had been used by different tribes or nations in various forms in central Asia. Genghis Khan is the most greatest among those Khans.

(Abbott, 1902) His life was about to become a legend in human history. Many people believe that his story is full of butchering people and some scholars even compared him to Hitler. The real character of Genghis Khan, however, is far more intriguing. How did this illiterate outcast turn the feuding tribes of Mongolia into a powerful nation? And how did he transform the Mongol hordes into a ruthless and disciplined fighting machine?

Snapshot of Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan was born with the name of Temujin in 1165 on the banks of the river Onon.

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When he was 9 years old, he met his father’s death, poisoned by Tatars, who were the dominant tribe in eastern Mongolia at that time. None of his father’s followers want to be led by a 9 years old boy, but neither did they want to kill Temujin for fear of starting a feud with his father’s relatives. His father’s followers left Temujin and his mother by the clan, who are afraid of him succeeding to his father’s position.

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After that, Temujin began survival. He became the youth who fought for survival of him and his mother, abandoned by his father’s followers after the murder of his father. (Historic World Leaders, 1994) When he was 14, he was taken prisoners by the Taichi’uts. However, he escaped successfully.

Then he soon married to his first wife, Borte. Unluckily, his wife was later captured by his enemy. He then united Jamuka, who is his blood brother, and Toghrill to rescue his wife. But after this rescue, the gap between Temujin and his blood brother was becoming more and more large because both he and Jamuka are persons who are eager to be the leader of clan. They both want to be the Khan who can unite the Mongol. They cannot stand to become the leader assistance. In 1185, he Mongol princes acclaimed Temujin as their ruler. After that, he experienced tremendous setbacks and overcame. (Historic World Leaders, 1994) In 1206, Temujin united all the tribes in Mongol, he was proclaimed to the emperor of all Mongols, and given the title Genghis Khan, which means ” Universal Monarch”.

After that, Genghis Khan began his conquering to Asia and Europe. During the followed two decades, Genghis Khan would lay the foundations for the largest empire ever known. (Xu, 2002) In 1213, the Mongolian crossed the Great Wall, spreading out to northern part of China. Genghis Khan’s army sacked Beijing in 1215. In 1219, He began his bloody slaughters, moving westward. In 1227, it is said that he died because the internal injury suffered after falling from his horse. At that time, the land he conquered was from the borders of Turkey to Russia to northern India to China.(Schlager and Lauer, 2001) However, it is undeniable that Genghis Khan is a slaughter when he was conquering.

It is said that every time his army conquered a city, they would kill all the men whose height is over the height of wheel and put all the women, elderly, and children into slavery. There is a statistics states that the Mongolian army led by Genghis Khan killed 30 million people in China, 200 million people in total including Asia and Europe. In 1122, there are 93.47 million people in China. However, in 1274, when the Yuan dynasty was established by Genghis Khan’s descendants, there were only 8.87 million people in China. () There was once a rumor, which proved to be not real, said he killed 1,748,000 people in one hour. (Qing, 2011)

Leadership Traits

Genghis Khan has a majority of leadership traits, which does not change as him moves from situation to situation. I will analyze three aspects traits of Genghis Khan, which are physical or background traits, personality of ability traits, and task or social traits. Physical and background trait

From the perspectives of physical and background trait, he is always being an energetic person. He spent his whole life on integrating different tribes in Mongolia and conquering lands as large as possible. When he died, his emperor controlled a region that stretched from the borders of Turkey to China to Russia to northern India. However, he is illiterate all his life, not ever educated.

Personality or ability trait

From the perspective of personality or ability traits, Genghis Khan is the person who has a unique personality and charisma. He is a very creative person. The nomadic tribe was a backward tribe at that time. The weapons they mainly used are bow-and-arrow and sword. Genghis Khan developed different kind of technology during the conquest. He invented central Asian compound bow, which had the same power as to the European crossbow. He combined powder to the arrow, which did a great contribution to destroy the heavy European armour.

Also, He invented the Mongol military tactics and organization helped the Mongol Emperor to conquer nearly all of continental Asia, the Middle East and parts of eastern Europe. In many ways, it can be regarded as the first “modern” military system. (May, 2007) He is self-confidence, but not ego. He did not need any comments on his self-confidence because when one third of the world is under your control, you did not lack for self-confidence. As a tactician and strategist, he was initiative and superb at seizing opportunities. He was also flexible in adapting to change situations. Genghis Khan once saw the new needs of his policy he had created, he responded.

Social trait

From the perspective of social traits, he is famous for cooperating with his followers to come up with the strategy or new inventions. His inspirational leadership made his followers loyal to him. Genghis Khan has excellent organizational skills and he is talented in sociability. He is a disciplined person, same as his army. Because of his organizational an strategic skills, he created one of the most highly effective armies in history, he was given birth to administrate this army. (May, 2003)

Leadership Behavior

A good leader is someone who does not make plans for the group, but to influence the group members toward the achievement of group goals in which the members view the influence as legitimate. A good leader is not only organizing the group, but to unite the group members to generate great effectiveness. Throughout Genghis Khan’s life, he used several leadership behaviors to influence his followers.

Directive Leadership Behavior

Genghis Khan has a vision that defines and articulates clearly where he wants to go. He sets goals for followers, planning and coordinating followers’ work. As a commander and a statesman, he is always far-sighted strategic thinking. For example, Genghis Khan’s ultimate goal is to conquer the central part of China. However, after establishing his own regime in eastern Mongolia, contrary to expectations, he did not to attack the Jin Dynasty, which took over the northern part of China during that time by Jurchen people. Because he knew that even if he could win in the beginning, he would be attacked by other tribes in the middle west of the Mongolia. So, he did not attempt a direct attack on northern China, but to desire to concentrate on integrating Mongolia.(Qing, 2011)

Charismatic Leadership Behavior

I think the own charismas of Genghis Khan is the key reason why he could become success. Genghis Khan has a unique personality and charisma. It has been remarked that one of Genghis Khan’s greatest assets was his personal charisma, what R. P. Lister called “the power to arouse exaltation in his followers, so that they are no longer moved entirely by thoughts of self-preservation, but become slightly mad.” (Historic World Leaders, 2011)It is surprised that all his comrades showed long time loyalty to him, no one ever betray him. He never doubt about his comrades’ loyalty. After every time success, he always awarded his ministers. He never killed them in order to gain more power, but to assign the power to his ministers.

Leader Reward and Punishment Behavior

One of the obvious leadership behaviors of Genghis Khan is that he reward success. He advocated that if they defeated the enemy, everyone should be assigned spoils. He always rewards those people who have done great contribution to success. He punished those people who disobey his law or rules. Every followers need to clear his rules, and rigorously obeyed. For example, if a soldier deserted his troop, he was executed. If a soldier failed to stop to help a fellow warrior whose baggage fell from his horse, he was executed. If two or more members of a troop made a great advance, but were not supported by their comrades, the latter were executed. (Man, 2009)

Participative Leadership Behavior

Unlike other rulers, Genghis Khan involved in conquest every time. He spend all his life on conquering, even to his death. In history, there are few rulers who can participate in the conquest as he did. He is also good at taking counsel from other people. He shows great respect to people who counsel. He always involve followers in the decision-making process. He can always get the right people, and use them well. For example, during his early years conquest, he had simply killed everyone who stood in his way. A former official of the Chinese emperor told Genghis Khan that they could pay him valuable tax money to finance further warfare if he would not continue killing people in the lands they conquered. Genghis Khan accepted this advice. (Schlager and Lauer, 2001)

Genghis Khan’s Leadership Behavior in Hospitality Industry As a ruler of the empire which had the largest territory in the world ever. Genghis Khan’s greatest assets was his personal charisma. How can I use Genghis Khan’s leadership traits and behaviors for my career in hospitality industry? Can his leadership traits and leadership behaviors be used in hospitality industry? In the following paragraph, I will mainly analyze on how to apply his charismatic leadership behavior and his leader reward and punishment behavior in hospitality industry. There are mainly three attributions of Genghis khan’s charismatic behavior have strong influence on his follower’s attitudes, behaviors, and values. First, Get a Vision. In hospitality industry, even the same as the other industry, it is a great deal for a leader to have a vision.

Genghis Khan has a great vision ability, he always clear what to do next. When Genghis Khan began to conquer the Mongol, he had a vision that unity could defeat any singles. In the end, his tribal unity threatened all his rivals. With time going on, his vision is becoming larger and larger: unite nation, build up an empire, even conquer the world. (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 1998) The general manager, as a leader in a hotel, needs to have a right vision and influence followers to dream it up. A general manager of a hotel should analyze the hotel objective, and then have a vision that what this hotel needs most at this time. A hotel general manager should have a vision by considering questions like these: How to use the efficient administration to ascend the RevPar? What kind of marketing strategy does the hotel need to have under the specific circumstances? Do customers enjoy our services? What is the relevance stuff between the needs of employees and the needs of the hotel.

A hotel general manager should also have the vision changed with situation goes on. Second, employ the best, use the right person. One of the most charismatic traits of Genghis Khan is that he is brilliant in using people, no matter who they are. For example, he once found one of his prisoners, who has the administrative skills he lacked, but needed. His companions are people from different places, including Mongolian, Jurchen, Chinese, Jin etc..Choosing the right man, Mongol or non-Mongol, was one of Genghis’s supreme talents. (Shelton, 2005) However, in nowadays world, so many leaders do not like the people who are better than them because they are seen not as an asset but a threat. In hospitality industry, since the service is intangible, perishable, inseparate, and variable. Customers valued the hotel not only from the scales, but also the service.

It is very essential for a leader in hospitality industry to use the right person in different positions to expand the profits. Employ good employees is only the first step for a manger to go, the more significant is to use employees well. Moreover, the turnover rate in hospitality industry is usually very high, employees always change jobs because of not satisfy with their jobs. Employees would not make commitments to employers if managers do not treat the relations with employees well. Managers should recognize that every employees need to be satisfied with their basic demands, which are not the money, honors, or high-positions, but to discover their own value. Third, perseverance. During Genghis Khan’s childhood, he risked for survival. When he was grown up, he kept on conquering till the last day of his life.

Genghis Khan focus on one purpose in his life, which is to see his enemies brought to justice. He insisted on achieving this purpose all his life. He was never distracted by a desire for possessions or wealth as he became more powerful. In nowadays hospitality industry, perseverance also plays a significant role to a leader. In China, hospitality industry is a fast developing industry in recent years. Those international hotel brands, such as, Marriott, Hilton, and Carlson, are increasing star-scale hotels in China every year. Though there are a majority of opportunities in this industry, a lot of people choose to leave this industry but contribute to other industry, such as, finance or accounting. As a hotel leader, or even the employees in basic unit, persistence in hospitality industry can make you success.

Because there are more opportunities in this industry than others. For example, the finance industry is almost saturated, it is very hard to move forward in this kind of industry. In China, a hospitality major student may start a basic salary, which is usually lower than other industry, in a hotel. However, this industry is having a lot of opportunities and less risky. In the same uncertainty situation, choose less risky industry would bring more return. So, it is necessary for a hotel manager to hold on consistently and persistently in this industry. Genghis Khan’s leader directive behavior can be applied well in hospitality industry. Genghis Khan has a great vision of what he and his Mongol hordes need to do. Genghis Khan made clear and firm rules for his hordes. Everyone has to obey the rule, even the royal family.

This is also a significant step in establishing Genghis Khan’s hold over all the people and aligning them in support of his expansionist policies. He distributed different work to his followers and all of his followers made great commitments in return. In hospitality industry, the reason of some of the employees’ bad performance of services is that they are nor clear for their goals or not clear about the rules. At this time, a directive leader is certainly needed to pursuit followers, make a task-oriented, and specify rules. Also, Leader reward and punishment behavior is needed in hospitality industry. Hotel managers or supervisors should clear about the merits and achievements of their followers. They can build up a salary system to reward and make theLeaders should distribute fairly to followers so that followers will follow them loyally.


Genghis Khan was not only a ruler, but a unifier. Because of his conquest, he build up his empire stretching from Korea to Western Russia in the north and from Burma to Iraq in the south, opening up the road from eastern world to western world. Even, he made the foundation of the Eurasian history. Due to Genghis khan, the travel between East and West became relatively safe, which had not been exist for a very long period. However, he was also know as a harsh and mercilessly conqueror in history. In terms of leadership, Genghis Khan is a charismatic leader. He was exactly clear of his purpose, having a great vision, and insisting on that. He was humble, accepting criticism. He has a great ability of using the right people. His strategic and organizational skills created one of the most highly disciplined armies in history. Even in the hospitality industry, his leadership behaviors and traits can also be applied, and have contributions to it. People could learn from him in order to gain the benefits in their career.

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Leadership from Genghis Khan. (2016, Dec 21). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/leadership-from-genghis-khan-essay

Leadership from Genghis Khan

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