Marie Curie was a Polish-born physicist and chemist who lived from 1867 to 1934. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and is one of only two people to have won Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields (the other is Linus Pauling). She is best known for her work on radioactivity, which led to the discovery of the element’s radium and polonium. She also made significant contributions to the study of X-rays and other forms of ionizing radiation. She was known for her intelligence, curiosity, and determination, and she was a role model for many aspiring scientists. So, what can we learn from her leadership?

Innovate

Although she is perhaps best known for her discovery of the element’s radium and polonium, Marie Curie demonstrated an ability to innovate at scale. She is perhaps less well known among the general population for her work on the development of X-ray technology for medical use. She recognized the potential of X-rays to help diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses, and she worked tirelessly to improve the technology and make it more widely available. She also trained many other scientists in the use of X-rays, helping to establish this new field of medicine. You might not discover an entire new way of doing things, but simply focusing on continuous learning and improvement you will be ahead of the majority of people. By staying up to date on the latest developments in your industry and encouraging your people to do the same, you can ensure that the company is at the forefront of innovation and progress.

Be a role model

Marie Curie was a mentor and role model to many aspiring scientists. She was known for her generosity, kindness, and support of other researchers, and she encouraged and inspired many people to pursue careers in science. She was also a pioneer for women in science, breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations of women to succeed in this field. The worst leaders say they don’t have time to coach their people. By supporting and encouraging your people, you can create a positive and collaborative work environment where everyone can thrive and contribute to the success of the company. It is also one of the best ways to ensure high engagement and low attrition, if people have a leader they admire and who supports them and helps them grow, there is very little reason for them to look elsewhere.

Focus on the big picture

Despite facing many challenges and obstacles throughout her career, including discrimination and financial difficulties, she never lost her passion for science. She was determined to uncover the secrets of the natural world, and her work helped to advance our understanding of radioactivity and other forms of radiation. She never lost sight of her overarching purpose. In a world of competing priorities and office politics its often easy to make convenient short-term decisions that have negative long-term consequences. Sure, the next quarter is important, but its not more important than the success of the organisation over the next decade. By staying focused on the big goals and never losing sight of the overall vision, you can inspire your people to do their best work and drive the organization forward.

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