Inspiring Leadership: Learning from Great Leaders

By John Adair | Go to book overview

EIGHT

The Gentleman Leader

'He has a look upon
his face that I would
fain call master.'
'What is that?'
'Authority.'

SHAKESPEARE, KING LEAR

During the centuries that followed Alfred the Great the concept of leadership was both refined by further thought and spread more widely to 'commoners' as opposed to the feudal nobility. The more natural leaders forced their way to the front despite the dominance of a ruling class. Like the Greeks, however, the English in the age of the Renaissance believed that a good education had a vital part to play in producing such natural leaders, gentlemen who were fitted by their qualities and abilities to govern in peace or war. Such an education, in contrast to the pernicious doctrines of Machiavelli, was moral and Christian in its guiding assumptions about leadership. By the reign of Elizabeth these developments had become clear. Some of the more adventurous commoners would take this new understanding of leadership with them to the New World.

The Elizabethan society that Shakespeare portrayed in his plays was a hierarchical one. It was far removed from the democratic tribal culture recorded by Tacitus more than a millennium earlier. England was ruled by the monarch who gave the age her name. She was supported in council by her lords and bishops — successors to the tribal chief's council of lesser chiefs, elders and holy men. The gentry came next and were largely responsible for local government in the shires. Then came the lesser merchants, followed by tradesmen, and, at the bottom, the lower orders of labourers. There were even social uniforms, for sumptuary laws laid down what kind of clothes could be worn by each station.

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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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