Niccolo Machiavelli Leadership

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Throughout the history of the world, there have been countless examples of triumphant and unsuccessful leaders whose ideas and forms of governing a nation, state, or community of people all varied considerably. Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian diplomat and political philosopher from the late 1400’s, taught that in order to be a good leader, your people must fear you. He also believed that leaders, “must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war” (Machiavelli). While Lao Tzu, a 6th century philosopher and the father of Taoism taught that good leaders must, “learn how to follow” their people and trust that they will make the right decision (Tzu). I believe Machiavelli’s idea of ruling with fear is not a good one and that; “simplicity, patience, and compassion” are the greatest values a leader could have. In Niccolo Machiavelli’s book, “The Prince” he writes about power: how to get it and how to keep it. In it, he makes an analogy of two men and says, “It is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed” (Machiavelli). Machiavelli makes a good point here; an armed or feared leader would not have to worry about his people stepping out of line because a harsh punishment, such as death, would anticipate them. However, this concept of leadership neglects the fact that the person that holds the most power above others will not inevitably do what is right or necessary for his people. Machiavelli notoriously professed that if great rulers want to keep their power, they must learn how "not to be good". In today’s world, Niccolo Machiavelli’s teachings on how one must lead would not work because the world is not as chaotic as it was in his time. Italy, d... ... middle of paper ... have little to nothing in common but beneath the surface, they share one major characteristic: patience. The Tao teaches that if a leader is, “patient with both friends and enemies, they accord with the way things are“(Tzu). It seems that John F Kennedy took this page straight from Tzu’s book on October 16, 1962; the first day of the Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK received information from U-2 planes flying over Cuba of Soviet soldiers setting up nuclear missiles. It was calculated during that time that if a crisis led either side to fire nuclear weapons, “all humans in the northern hemisphere could perish” (May). For fourteen stressful days, JFK had no other choice but to hold his breath and wait patiently to see what would unravel of this sticky situation. Due to the extreme patience and caution delivered by President John F. Kennedy, the world escaped nuclear war.

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