In chapters seven and eight, continuing to mine both current scientific findings and the ancient insights of Plutarch, we examine the complexities of managing the leader-follower relation as manifested in friendship and enmity.
If managed well, enemies can be a great boon to the leader as they force him to grow and to correct mistakes.
Friends and supporters too can be a great boon to the leader but only if he identifies and rewards their talents and accomplishments while simultaneously forestalling envy among potential competitors.
We conclude by examining one life, that of Julius Caesar.
We compare his accomplishments against Plutarch’s Seven Imperatives for Leaders. 2.
Act with Power and Confidence Veni, vedi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) –Suetonius, HYPERLINK “http://www.bostonleadershipbuilders.com/suetonius/caesar.htm” \l “37”The Twelve Caesars, Julius Caesar, 37 Military metaphors abound in leadership books.
From Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun to Sun Tzu on the Art of War, today’s business, civic, and political community leaders instinctively understand that military strategy offers practical lessons for all fields of endeavor.
Flip through Plutarch’s Lives and you’ll find general after general and naval commander after naval commander.
Of the 50 Plutarchan biographies, three, Lycurgus, Solon, and Numa—the semi-legendary lawgivers to the Spartans, Athenians, and Romans—were not men of arms.
The rest all rose to prominence through their military exploits.
Even the great political leaders and orators of the ancient world such as Pericles, Themistocles, Cicero, and Cato the Younger had had serious experience as military tacticians and commanders.
The victory of the naval battle at Salamis between the Athenian and the Persian fleets, for example, is surely due to Themistocles’ brilliant tactics. Plutarch ran his school of philosophy and rhetoric in the second half of the first century of the Christian Era.
It was a time of relative peace for the Roman Empire.
But for an instruction manual for his young students he chose to write of warriors.
Perhaps he was onto something.
Nowhere is character tested under harsher conditions than in battle.commanding men in battle necessarily requires very considerable leadership skills and command of one’s own emotions. In our closest animal cousins, the great apes, dominant individuals get preferential access to fertile mates, to plentiful food and space, and to a disproportionate amount of grooming (to reduce parasite load) from others.
In short, dominance leads to enhanced reproductive fitness.
Scientific research done in the 1990s showed that women regard as attractive precisely those men who look dominant.
Like all primates, humans in face-to-face groups form themselves into fairly consistent dominance/status hierarchies so that higher-ranked members have more power, influence, and valued prerogatives than lower-ranked ones.
Dominance hierarchies represent a kind of order within primate societies.
The dominant male and his allies are expected to maintain order in the troop.
There is even some indication that the dominant male needs to lead the group to plentiful food sources or some other valued resource if he is to maintain his status. Is there any evidence that leaders share a trait that might reasonably be called dominance? Are leaders in fact socially dominant individuals? In a meta-analysis of 78 studies of personality attributes of leaders a team of researchers on leadership found that the personality trait “extroversion” exhibited the strongest relationship to leadership than any of the other of the “Big Five” personality dimensions (‘openness to experience’, ‘agreeableness’, ‘conscientiousness’ ‘emotional stability/neuroticism’).
Agreeableness demonstrated the weakest relationship to leadership of any of the big five personality dimensions. “Extroversion” in turn is known to be linked with social dominance. When the Myers-Briggs personality inventory is used to compare leaders with non-leaders, leaders are more likely to exhibit a profile of extroversion combined with intuitiveness and thinking behavioral styles.
Research utilizing other personality inventories have identified ‘optimism’, ‘adaptability’ and ‘nurturance’ as important personality styles of effective leaders.
Studies of motivational antecedents of leadership identify need for power, achievement and dominance as powerful motivations that differentiate leaders from non-leaders.
In short, we (especially the men) have evolved to be warriors whether on the battlefield or in the corporate boardroom.
So Plutarch was right to expose his pupils to stories about warriors. Plutarch, however, argued that warfare could produce both excellent and poor leaders with the poor leaders often engaging in colossal stupidities.
Take for example, Marcus Licinius Crassus.
Crassus, the wealthy Roman aristocrat and general of the first century B.C.
Initiated an unnecessary and un-called-for war in Parthia in his vain and failed attempts to exorcise his own psychic demons.
It was malicious envy of Pompey and Caesar and his unbridled and intemperate desired to excel all that brought Roman legions into a war they could not win.
In the process he lost his son, all his hopes for greatness, and plunged the vaunted Roman legions into one of their most humiliating defeats. In short, Crassus produced a disastrous war and caused the annihilation of an entire Roman army.
Of course we can look at it another way.
Advocates of the warfare theory of the evolution of human nature maintain that warfare culls the stupid ones from the population.
Crassus’ armies did not pass their genes onto the next generation as they were all killed.
Thus, genes associated with stupidity in war are culled from the population.
It’s a rather harsh way for the race collectively to learn a lesson, but it is effective.
Only the smart armies live long enough to mate and to pass their genes down the generations.
Over time, therefore, the average level of human intelligence increases.
That is why the instruments of warfare increase in effectiveness and lethality.
To be a winning army you need to outwit and outmaneuver your enemies, who have the latest technically advanced weaponry. It is also important to note that a thesis that leadership skills in the male co-evolved with the evolution of warfare does not entail that male leadership profiles will always involve top-down authoritarian command type leadership styles.
It is very probable that war stimulates the capacity for cooperation as well as conflict.
Paradoxically, in order to win at war you and your group need to learn how to cooperate among yourselves.
Dissension within your own ranks invariably leads to defeat. Plutarch understood that human dominance hierarchies, unlike those of other lower creatures, are less linked to threat or force.
War and police actions may be exceptions to this more general rule.
To establish order in a war or police action one needs to use force.
In most human social groups, however, order is likely to be established with the help of status or dominance hierarchies.
These dominance hierarchies have unique properties relative to the rest of the animal world.
First, they are headed by a leader who very likely carries the traits of exceptional intelligence, extroverted personality disposition, intuitive and thinking behavioral styles and strong motivations to achieve a goal etc, in short a prestige-oriented leader.
Second, the hierarchy is not governed by force or threat of force (except again in special situations like war or police actions).
Instead the hierarchy is governed by prestige. For more on the tension between dominance and prestige, let’s look at the leadership decisions of Lucius Licinius Lucullus (114-57 B.C.).
Early he showed his abilities in the Social War of 91-88 B.C., the struggle between Rome and her Italian allies (socii) who demanded rights of Roman citizenship.
In that conflict, and on the eastern front fighting Mithridates (88-84 B.C.) he caught the eye of the Roman Dictator Sylla.
Sylla, seeing the competence and integrity of Lucullus sent him to Egypt and Libya for reinforcements in the war.
While there he proved susceptible to neither the riches nor the grandeur of Egypt.
However, the Egyptian king Ptolemy, seeing the seeming strength of Mithridates, deserted the Roman cause.
Lucullus responded by setting sail to wins over new allies for the Romans in the naval theatre of the war.
Lucullus proved himself no prey to self-destructive ambition just as he had rejected Egyptian attempts at bribery.
For when Fimbrias a Roman commander on land, approached Lucullus suggesting that their combined land and sea strength could crush Mithridates, leaving HYPERLINK “C:\Documents and Settings\David\My Documents\bostonleadershipbuilders.com\plutarch\sylla.htm” Sylla out of the honors for the final victory, Lucullus, knowing Fimbrias to be faithless, rather allowed Mithridates to escape for the time leaving to his superior, HYPERLINK “C:\Documents and Settings\David\My Documents\bostonleadershipbuilders.com\plutarch\sylla.htm” Sylla may have the honors.
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