Elements of Strong Leadership

By | September 16, 2019

[September 16, 2019]  Looking at mythological heroes and the stories about those heroes, we find that a common trait; they are physically strong.  They slay the dragon that’s been terrorizing villages, kill the shark that was eating tourists at the local resort, and save the city from Godzilla.  It’s an old story of humankind dating back into the antiquities of the origins of our species.  It should come as no surprise that strong leadership is an outgrowth of the hero myth.

There are several elements of a strong leader.  It is no longer all about the power of the muscles; the expert ability to wield a battle axe, to run faster than all others, to shot an arrow a long way to hit a target, or to overpower the enemy when surprised in an ambush.  Strength is, nevertheless, highly valued.  But strength without the interplay between good and evil is missing something.

In the basic idea of leadership, we cannot always equate what’s good to what’s strong.  Strength is one element of it.  Better to be strong than to be weak.  Strong and kind is better than strong.  Strong, kind, and wise is better than strong and kind.  Fostering social relations and respecting the value of others, regardless of status or position, paying attention to and protecting the weak, and treating them well and wisely, is a far greater way of leading than simply being the strongest person in the room.

Being physically strong may be good for one battle or two, but for 100 battles it is inadequate because the rules of the social battlefield requires much more.  The model of a strong leader is therefore complex and as societies develop and grow, complicating factors also grow in number.  Leaders who now display wisdom, vision, creativity, honor, and adhere to and respect traditions are those who have also increased their likelihood of success.

On the battlefield, the best leaders (and heroes) are those who have shown great insight into what is key to the battle.  In Clausewitzian terms, it is the center of gravity; the source of power that provides the moral or physical strength, the freedom of action, or the will to act.  The good leader or good hero is the one who grasps that point and uses his abilities to overcome it.  In the mythological stories of the dragon slayer, it is a kink in the armor on the belly of the beast where the spear must penetrate to kill the immortal dragon.

In these pages at www.theleadermaker.com, I have gone to great lengths to spell out those traits, skills, and abilities a good leader must possess.  Surely it is difficult and complex.  I will admit that to be the case.  It is necessary, however, to understand that a leader is not simply strong but multi-dimensional, and that is the secret of great leadership too.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

24 thoughts on “Elements of Strong Leadership

  1. Fred Weber

    Looks like a lot of our regular readers like this article. I do too. I would add that while there are many elements to good/strong leadership, that the basics have not changed. There may be some technological advancements but the human mind and soul has not changed.

    1. Wilson Cox

      Good to see you reinforcing this website and its articles, Jerome. Well done. I too re-read many of these because often times, I miss some smaller but important point.

    1. Autistic Techie

      😊 I read it three times to make sure I got it all.

  2. Max Foster

    MYTH: Hero slays the dragon and rescues the princess.
    TODAY: Hero pulls drowning boy from the frozen lake (and puts his life in danger doing so).
    The connections are remarkable and I do believe our ancient ancestors were trying to tell us something.

  3. Gil Johnson

    Just a thought but maybe there is a link because of the idea of courage and its value. Hero (physical courage) and leader (moral courage). Just an idea. Thoughts anyone? I know that being a leader sometimes means both.

    1. Eric Coda

      Now that is a really good thought. While there is clear overlap I do believe you have hit upon something here. Many times, Gen. Satterfield has stated also that moral courage is more difficult than physical courage. Not to downgrade physical courage any, of course. There is always a special place for leaders and this is why we need them.

      1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

        Spot-on comment, Eric. Good to get inside your head for a moment and to be able to ‘see’ better. Thanks.

    1. JT Patterson

      Good point, Lynn. The connection between the two is something I certainly never gave much thought. Good to see you on this morning.

  4. Bryan Lee

    Another excellent article. I read it a couple of times. Maybe I’m a bit slow but I enjoyed your thinking. This got me to thinking about leadership from a new direction.

  5. Army Captain

    Tying leadership and heroship together is an interesting thought process. I never thought of it that way. Made me think a little more about how the hero developed over time and how our myths of the past come together in modern stories.

    1. The Kid 1945

      A number of the best movies hark back to those days of myths. Cowboy movies, for example, embody the hero in action. Usually it’s a sheriff who goes up against the wildwest-like dirty gunmen who threaten to shoot anybody they don’t like or the horse thief, etc. Enjoyed today’s article.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        Keen observation, The Kid. You find the same in SciFi movies too.

  6. Ronny Fisher

    Ahhhh, are you becoming a philosopher, Gen Satterfield? Great article but I had to read it slowly to get its full meaning.

    1. Albert Ayer

      It is a bit too philosophical for me. I’m not sure I gained the full meaning. But I did like the article.

    2. Mr. T.J. Asper

      We are getting deeper and deeper into the inner-workings of leadership and that is a good thing. Bringing in practical examples will always be very helpful.

      1. Wesley Brown

        Good point. Good to hear from you again, Mr. TJ. THanks.

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