L. Brooks Hill Trinity University
The urgency of effective leadership, both its practice and its study, is well documented in the early literature of Eastern and Western civilizations, and probably was a serious consideration in all civilizations if we could reconstruct their discussions. In Eastern civilization, for example, the Chinese provided extensive advice for military leaders ( Sun-tzu, 1993), and the current value of this advice is manifest in the extensive use of such Chinese classics in all military academies of the United States and elsewhere throughout the world ( Ames, 1993). Interestingly, these books dealt with psychological warfare and essential communication aspects of such strategies and tactics. In Western civilization the ancient Greeks and Romans from Homer and Hesiod onward struggled with the qualities of the hero and whether those qualities could be taught or were gifts of the gods. Ultimately accepting the promise of instruction, they began to develop prescriptive guidelines and principles of effective leadership in government and the military. Here again, communication was an essential component as Homer depicted the hero as a speaker of words and a doer of deeds. In both civilizations the tradition of imitatio or imitation, modeling, and mentoring was never replaced by instruction alone ( Clark, 1957), and often the lessons of leadership emerged in historical and biographical commentaries about prominent leaders.
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Publication information: Book title: Leadership in Times of Change:A Handbook for Communication and Media Administrators. Contributors: William G. Christ - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 199.