Evaluating Historical Views of Leadership Essay

1180 Words Mar 21st, 2014 5 Pages
Evaluating Historical Views of Leadership
March 9, 2014
University of Phoenix

Evaluating Historical Views of Leadership This paper evaluates the leadership views of Plato, Aristotle, Lao-Tzu, and Machiavelli from the point of view of the modern military leader. The process of evaluation includes an examination of the commonalities and disparities between these views of leadership. The paper explores a definition of modern military leadership. The paper includes an assessment of the suitability of each of the aforementioned leadership views to be models for modern military leadership.
Modern Military Leadership The stereotype of the drill sergeant in basic training is not the leadership described in this section.
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Machiavelli’s View Machiavelli (1954) believed that the world in made up of the vulgar (as cited in Wren, 2013). In this word, the leaders (Princes) should have the appearance of good virtue. The Prince must establish and maintain his personal power by whatever means necessary including manipulation and deceit (Machiavelli, 1954, as cited in Wren, 2013). Men are vulgar and simple and easily governed. These men, when deceived, praise the Prince as being honorable (Machiavelli, 1954, as cited in Wren, 2013).
Commonalities and Disparities There are two commonalities I will discuss (a) maintenance of authority, power, and order, and (b) the leader as a good man. A major theme in the ancient world view is that leaders have as their charge the maintenance of authority, power, and order. Plato (1901) suggested that the philosopher kings are to be rulers of the hive, the king himself, and other citizens (as cited in Wren, 2013). This implies the king is to maintain authority and order. Aristotle (1900) suggested that leaders should excel over their followers (as cited in Wren, 2013). This implies that leaders are good men. A key disparity in ancient views of leadership is the importance of good moral qualities that the leader should possess. Plato (1901) suggested that leaders be the friend of truth, gracious, noble, and espousing justice (as cited in Wren, 2013). On the other

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