I recently finished the book, Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, upon which the graphic novel and movie 300 were based. Toward the latter part of the book the narrator describes what a true king is. The author’s thoughts here were profound to say the least and can be directed at every modern day boss who has the courage, valor, humility, grace, and heroic opportunity to lead.
I hope you are challenged and inspired by the comparisons below:
I will tell His Majesty what a king is. A king does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field. A king does not dine while his men go hungry, nor sleep when they stand at watch upon the wall. A king does not command his men’s loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold; he earns their love by the sweat of his own back and the pains he endures for their sake. That which comprises the harshest burden, a king lifts first and sets down last. A king does not require service of those he leads but provides it to them. He serves them, not they him.
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield (Paperback page 412)
I will tell you of a superior leader. A leader does not go home early when his employees are still hard at work on key company projects. A boss does not eat out at the finest restaurants while his employees have only stipend enough for fastfood, nor is he cavalier about directing the organization while employees see potential issues ahead. A boss does not demand loyalty by positional power or by threats and bribery; he earns their respect, admiration, and love by taking initiative, communicating, and shielding them from harsh business realities. The boss leads by example — he doesn’t need to have the premier parking space and is not so proud that he won’t get down on the front line himself — working long and hard. A boss is not in his position to be served but to serve his employees, board members, and stockholders. He is a Servant-Leader.