[Date (March 5, 2012)]
A composite leader refers to a person with a lead character who possesses all the elements that are desired in a good leader. In the ancient Greek, a composite leader was the one who treated his men right and handled problems with great integrity and knowledge, in that he was a good problem solver. For the leader to be termed good, he was supposed to possess ethical and moral values considered great in the society as well as the capability to maintain them. He was also to be tested and defined through his characters and actions. The ancient Greek leaders teach us a lot about leadership skills. The works of Hesiod, Homer, and Sophocles present us with some of the qualities that the ancient Greek leaders displayed while in service. Through the leaders, we are able to model a leader who can fit into the ideal Greek leader for service.
Qualities desired by Ancient Greek in a good leader
In order to understand the ancient Greek leaders, it is important to learn the most important characteristics expected of Greek leaders. The leader was supposed to be decisive, able to solve problems, democratic, courageous, confident and loyal. These properties are explained in detail in the following paragraphs.
A good leader desired by the Ancient Greek was the one who was ideal in the sense that he could attain/get the respect of those he led and also was capable of giving them respect in return. This means that the leader was required to behave and act in the same way he would like his followers to behave also, that is, the person was supposed to lead by example.
A good leader was supposed to be knowledgeable and capable of giving instructions and commands. This means he should be one who knows how to deliver instructions on what should be done and what that should not. The leader should be open minded and able to listen to those under him in order to ensure that their needs are met. The leader should know what is best for their people. In a bid to satisfy their subjects, a good leader should be able to give them chances to express themselves.
The leader should be religious. They must provide reverence to the gods for they are seen as the supreme leaders. The Greek religion was bounded in gods and goddesses. The gods and goddesses controlled nature. There was the Earth Mother who was earth and the provider of grain, Apollo the sun and provider of light and Poseidon who lived in waters was the king of the waters. The leader had to pay reverence to all these gods and goddesses for prosperity and peaceful stay.
The leader must be able to lead a military to victory and he was also supposed to know when the military action was not needed. The essence of the military is to protect the territory against the enemies, so, for the leader to be termed as good, they were supposed to portray the traits of a warrior and therefore ensure protection for their territory. In case of war, the leader ensured that his military were trained, possessed all the traits of a victorious warrior and also had all the weapons required to fight the enemy.
Significant acts that demonstrate how personal characters affects the actions of a good leader
Oedipus is displayed as very confident. He was very loyal to both the people and his kingdom. He got his fame due to his courage and ability to save Thebes from the spell of the Sphinx. He was very proud too. It is documented that Oedipus acted fast in whatever he did. He had such a character that he could not stand evil without putting a remedy in place. He is a person of quick understanding of the surrounding circumstances in every situation. His industry and hard work portray a busy person with quick comprehension skills. Oedipus had a kindhearted character and his judgment was full of justice. His honesty, concern for others and conduct as presented by Sophocles reveals the true character of a leader.
This was the youngest leader during the first generations of the Titans and the divine descendants of the earth and sky. He was a ruler during the golden age where people lived well and long without problems and sorrows of the heart. He was a farmer and liked farming a lot. Due to this, in his reign people never lacked food. They had enough to eat throughout during the golden age. He was a hater and a killer. He imprisoned the Hecatoncheires and the Cyclopes out of hatred. He wanted to take over his father’s reign and therefore killed him. His parents had prophesied that his throne will be taken over by his son and to avoid this he swallowed his children as they were born. He was jealous and wanted to be always at the top. He wanted to be a leader and never wanted to be led that is why he used his powers to mistreat people who were likely to take over his reign. He did not spare even his children to live but swallowed them so that the prophesied prophesy could not come to pass. This trait in leadership is seen where he killed the people who were eligible leaders imprisoned those he could not. Nothing could stop him from becoming a leader no matter what. From this leader, we learn that lack of effective leadership skills leads to reduced efficiency. A leader should be close to the people in order to meet their needs.
As portrayed by Homer in the Iliad, Odysseus was a great Greek leader. He performed extremely well in solving problems. His character was well brought out at the time when Achilles slew the Trojans. Odysseus advised Achilles to treat the men well by giving them food and allowing them to rest instead of killing all of them. He offered a solution to end the hateful killings. He was a person who displayed self-control, diplomacy and authority. Throughout Homer’s Iliad, Odysseus’ problem solving ability is greatly displayed. For example, whenever Agamemnon caused trouble in the Greek camp, he brought tranquil. In the night of battle that led to the killing of Rhesus, Odysseus he was of great help in assuring them of victory.
Achilles was courageous. As portrayed by Iliad, Achilles is described as a model leader. As expected by the Greeks, he was a person that they could rely on during hardship times. His courage was tested when he boldly faced the Trojans and prevailed against then many times in the battlefield. Despite his courage, strength and determination, he stood firm for what he thought was good. Achilles killed Hector to revenge the death of Patroclus. After killing Hector, Achilles displayed his courage by returning his dead body back to Priam. He was a furious person. He promised to feed his enemies to the dogs in a great feast.
He was the sixth son to Cronus who was not swallowed since her mother hid him and he was brought up by nymphs. He saved his brothers from his father by preparing him a drink and he vomited them out. This character of a savior is seen further when he frees the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires from prison who helps him in the fight against the Titans where he emerges a winner. In his description of the ancient Greek gods, Hesiod brings out Zeus as a leader who exercises democracy. He honours other people also. He was cunning and this is seen in his fight against his enemy where he emerges the winner. He also faced the monster that wanted to overthrow him and was able to kill it. He was jealous and easily angered. He overthrew his father from the throne and took it over, now he was the ruler. He was interested in making mortal human beings who resembles them to inhabit the earth. When these beings were created he told the sons of Titan to give them various gifts with hopes that they were to develop into something amusing that will interest the interest the gods. Due to his jealousy, he left the human beings defenseless with no weapons to protect themselves with and no fire to keep them warm. Prometheus loved the human beings much and upon finding out what had happened to them, he distributed his own gifts to them. He stole reason, fire to keep them warm and granted them. He became their protector shared with them the knowledge he had acquired. Zeus was quickly angered upon realizing this because fire was for the gods only and he did not want the human race to resemble the gods. Due to this, Zeus decided to punish Prometheus heavily and so he chained him and took him far away where an eagle could eat his liver each day and when the day is over, his liver could grow again for thirty years. This showed how inhuman and full of jealous towards the human race he was.
Priam had very desirable properties that the Greek could have loved. His loyalty to his children and the kingdom showed it all. According to the Greek, loyalty to the kingdom and to duty was among the greatest valued characters a person could possess. He never sent his son Paris back when he discovered that Helen came to Troy. By going to Achilles tent in order to get the body of Hector out, he honoured the gods. He was forgiving and ready to treat his enemies with mercy. His great love for his family and his people in general was displayed by his numerous sacrifices to ward off any evil from befalling them.
We learn the following lessons from the Greek leadership ideas:
- Bravery: Bravery portrayed by leaders is a prerequisite to success in any war. Leaders with fearless and determination characters are eligible to win every battle. These leaders also portray the character of the wise in that they organize themselves well and are always aware what it takes for them to emerge winners.
- Winning attitude: Leaders should always strive to be winners. This is seen from the way people act in a selfish way in that they murder each other in order to get ahead of everyone. With these traits leaders do not care about whom they are hurting or the impacts of their acts. Instead, they are only concerned about themselves.
- Good decision making techniques: Leaders should spearhead in decision making in that they should have the capabilities to think for themselves. They should not follow the majority who are wrong but base their decisions on a carefully analyzed thought. They are responsible in the inculcation of good character to their subjects. If leaders are for instance corrupt because the majority is corrupt, then leadership effectiveness will be in question. Good leaders should be like Socrates who was ready to die than going contrary to his conscience.
- Credibility: Successful leaders are the ones who are credible and respectable. These are the leaders who lead by example, they offer the society what is right for them and hence are respected and treated right. They lead with high integrity leading to success.
- Self-reliance: Leaders should be self-reliant and generous. They highly rely on themselves and give their allies all they need. They should not be beggars in the sense that they are believed to possess everything and mostly those things that are not easily owned by the rest of the population being led.
- Loyalty: Leaders should always be loyal to ensure peace love and unities are maintained. This important in that transparency leads to productivity since things and situations are just a true reflection of how they are. There is no exaggeration in the sense that if things are bad, people is able to undertake their duties to improve the situation to be better and if good they also work hard to maintain it.
It is evident that personal characters highly affect leaders’ qualities. Leaders with good characters that are acceptable in any society provide successful leadership in that society. Leaders are supposed to lead by example, that is, they should behave in a way that would like their allies to behave or do to them what they would like their allies to do to them.
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