Inspiring Leadership: Learning from Great Leaders

By John Adair | Go to book overview

TWO

Leadership Skills

'There is nobody
who cannot vastly
improve his powers
of leadership by a
little thought and
practice.'

LORD SLIM

The question of leadership transferability had a special importance in Athens in the days of Socrates. The various offices in the Athenian army and navy, including the generalships (which were roughly equivalent to the commands of large territorial infantry battalions today), were open to all citizens by election. To secure one of these commands was a first step for any ambitious young man aspiring to become a political leader in Athens. There were other offices, too, such as being choir-master of one of the city's choirs. Like the regiments, these choirs were based upon the old tribal structure of Athens. The Greeks were extremely competitive, and a choir that won the prize in competition brought much credit to its tribe and its choir-master.

Therefore Socrates and Xenophon had a contemporary reason for being interested in the question of whether or not any transferable or personal skills existed, as distinct from professional ones (which would equip a young man to lead in business or politics, in the arts, such as music, or in the Athenian army or navy). Athenians were essentially civilians. Like Socrates, when Athens went to war they had to fight in the phalanx of spearmen or pull an oar in the navy's warships. For the notion of having professional officers or soldiers was alien to the Greek states, except for Sparta — a nation of soldiers.

-24-

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Inspiring Leadership: Learning from Great Leaders
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Inspiring Leadership - Learning from Great Leaders *
  • Contents *
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 3
  • One - Leadership through Knowledge 4
  • Two - Leadership Skills 24
  • Three - The Servant-Leader 37
  • Four - The Ability to Give Direction 58
  • Five - Making the Right Decisions 77
  • Six - The Art of Inspiring While Informing 108
  • Part 2 *
  • Seven - The Roots of British Tradition 138
  • Eight - The Gentleman Leader 156
  • Nine - Nelson 187
  • Ten - Polar Explorers 207
  • Eleven - Leadership in a Changing World 220
  • Part 3 *
  • Twelve - Charisma 254
  • Thirteen - Women as Leaders 276
  • Fourteen - Styles of Leadership 303
  • Fifteen - Leaders for Tomorrow 335
  • Picture Acknowledgements 346
  • Select Bibliography 347
  • Index 349
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