Is a fiery temperament the no 1 must have quality for great leadership
Alexander the Great died at the age of 32. But before his untimely death he had lead his armies to conquer the Achaemenid Persian Empire, adding it to Macedon's European territories. It seems this was much of the world then known to the ancient Greeks.
That story of conquered lands may make Alexander the Great one of the more successful leaders in recorded history.
What were his qualities?
As a person he was known to have a violent temper and a rash, impulsive nature. He was also extremely stubborn and only his most respected advisors could persuade him to change his mind.
He was incredibly competitive. Towards the last years of his life these strong character traits of having to be right at all times and flaring up in temper if not listened to developed into megalomania. He felt he was a deity and expected his subjects to treat him as such.
Yet he achieved greatness beyond comprehension.
Attila the Hun - a Great Leader?
Attila the Hun - a Great Leader?
Attila the Hun was the leader of the Hunnic Empire which stretched from Germany to the Ural River and from the River Danube to the Baltic Sea. This was a fair size stretch of land.
What distinguished him from other leaders was his excessive cruelty. He was feared by all. He had a fiery temperament and he was known for his inordinate greed. In terms of these characteristics he seems to be joined by Genghis Khan and Timur.
All three cruel leaders were known for their fiery temperament and extraordinary power to be cruel. There are some writings that question these characteristics. One would imagine it could also depend on which side one was writing from.
Those who had been conquered could be considered to be less than objective in their assessment of the character traits of these huge leaders whereas those taking part in the conquering might look on their leaders with greater favour.
Whoever might be correct in their assessment of these great army leaders, one thing is for certain their achievements during their times are enormous.
During times where the horse was the mode of transport and the foot soldiers were literally on foot, these men led their troops to battle and won their way across countries and continents.
Their leadership style seemed to be through using their fiery temperament to push through their will and their instructions. Not many of their subordinates were prepared to incur the wrath of their leaders as it appears that commands were enforced through fear.
Leaders may therefore also be successful in leading their people even if they are prone to irrational and fiery outbursts. This is not a characteristic which would necessarily be tolerated in modern management manuals.
In fact modern managers might find themselves at risk of being taken to labour court and accused of wrong doing.
Yet these leaders were highly effective and the results they achieved certainly speak for the fact that their management style worked. One might say that wars and the societies these leaders lived through could require such a style. But then wars and doing business are not necessarily that divorced from each other.
What experience do you have with fiery managers?