The Iron Lady: Thatcher’s Leadership Lessons

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By: Windsor Smith, Tabu Butagira and Evaldas Labanauskas

Reviewed by: Evaldas Labanauskas

One of the greatest problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas. Now, thoughts and ideas, that interests me.-The Iron Lady

The movie The Iron Lady portrays Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain as a strong and powerful leader. The movie goes through he life from the time she first gets into politics all the way until the time after she was Prime Minister. It covered her political life as well as her personal life.

Her husband stood by her side throughout her entire political career while her children, when they were at a young age, were often confused as to why their mother was leaving them. In the movie Thatcher (Meryl Streep) often showed signs of sacrifice in her life, especially when it came to spending time with here family. One of the other leadership lessons that we pulled from the movie was that even when you are in power you need someone in your life that is going support you and back your decisions, like Margaret’s husband Dennis.

While the movie got mixed reviews it brought in around $114 million dollars world wide.  One important idea to keep in mind is that this is a biographical movie not a documentary, this means that production company could take some liberties in the production of the film but that does not mean that her leadership qualities were made up.

The movie has several other different leadership themes throughout. One of the main themes that the movie portrays is that Margaret Thatcher was always fighting for what she thought was right. She believed in herself and her decisions and almost always got her way.

What kind of leader am I if I don’t get my own way and do what I think is right?-The Iron Lady

She also presented strong will and taking risks while she was in power as well as always trying to maintain a strong face through out the challenging situations during her time in power. She was not afraid to make decisions that people would have thought to be unusual or risky in order to do what she thought was right. For example she would not give up on the Falkland Islands even though they were a small piece of the country and most people thought she should just move on. Margaret Thatcher had such great passion and love for Britain that she would not let a piece of it be taken away from them.

Thatcher never feared the pressure that was put on her and also never feared losing popularity, she knew that in the ended even if she did something that was good for the country that most people disliked now, they would thank her later.

If you take the tough decisions, people will hate you today, but they will love you in generations.-The Iron Lady

As a woman Margaret Thatcher broke through so many different stereotypes and became the first female Prime Minister of Britain, she realized through her time in politics that the other members of Parliament would only ever see her as a woman, who was out of place but she did not allow that to prevent her from becoming Prime Minister and leading the nation.

Iron Lady Gif

One of her downfalls during her time in office was the fact that Thatcher developed a bit of a power complex, she became intoxicated by the power and did not usually listen to others ideas, in the movie she even became a bit rude to some of her staff. In this instance she was standing up for the social class she grew up in, as a young girl her father was a grocer not a politician.

This was one of her weaknesses in the movie, she became a bit rude even though she was doing good things for the country people became a bit upset with the way she treated her cabinet. This was part of what lead to her downfall.

Margaret Thatcher was a very strong leader who led Britain in best way she knew how. She even wrote her own biography Thatcher, as any other great leader had people who supported everything she did as well as despised everything she did. During her time in power a British band called Notsensibles released a song call “I’m in love with Margaret Thatcher” which was used in the movie. This song claims to not be a pro or anti Thatcher song but it still alludes to people’s feelings about her leadership.



4 Comments on “The Iron Lady: Thatcher’s Leadership Lessons”

  1. I really enjoyed the many quotes you provided. It really helped paint a full picture of the Iron Lady. I also appreciated the examination of her strengths and her weaknesses. No leader is perfect but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them. I want to see the movie now to see how she deals with power in a personal manner. She was one of the most powerful people in the world at the time and it would be interesting to watch her transform. The pressure is immense to be a perfect leader and you have all the power in the world to do as you please. It would be interesting to watch her overcome this obstacle.

  2. I appreciate you including some of her weaknesses as a leader. One of the most important qualities as a leader is to identify where you’re not strong and be able to step down when needed. Leaders aren’t all-powerful, and their weaknesses, and how they overcome and deal with them, are the true signs of success.

  3. I really liked the quote of Margaret Thatcher as a great leader. Knowing her weakness and strengths of leadership style, I realized that we should hear and observe others comment to improve our weakness rather to be stereotype.

  4. Hi friends,
    Thank you for the quotes. They show about the own “my way” style of leadership at any time and for any gender. Your blog is a real well structured approach towards the movie itself and towards the reality and legacy of his iron lady.

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