I’ve spoken before on leadership. A refresher never hurts. Some go down in history for their skills and some are best forgotten. This is a point worth pondering because it takes the same amount of total energy to become either one. So…., why stink at something if you can be good at it with the same amount of effort?
The premise holds just as easily for one who wants to follow but my thinker is thunking on a man famous for leading. As with any good leader, he practiced the axiom that you must be a good servant to be a good master. Many of his works are viewed up close today and there is nothing wrong with that. To see how they worked together to form his world view we must step back to see how he was raised and how that rearing was one of obedience and humility. Those lessons in following congealed into the man who led. So, let’s take a peak shall we.
His education was far beyond the common drivel of today. If you do the extra credit assignment at the end I think you will probably agree that his teachers did not care if he felt “special” or “empowered”. They were wise enough to know that the education would create, as a end result, a man who gained those qualities on his own. They would be earned and not bestowed. The leadership then understood the foolhardy nature of any attempt to gift such as it is, by nature, corruption. (Feel free to challenge me on this. Note that I will compare my current subject and his peers to a half dozen modern counterparts.)
The method of his education is the same that a certain girly-girl is undergoing. Known nowadays as a “Classical Education” it still works wonders for providing thoughtful, well spoken thinkers. It’s first component is based on teaching Grammer. By knowing the language, you can understand thoughts and communicate your own. It’s second phase is Logic. With this you learn how to organize the thoughts that you can understand and convey due to your mastery of Grammer.
The third phase brings it together and makes you feel empowered. That phase is Rhetoric. You learn to use your knowledge of Grammar to convey the conclusion you reached via Logic. This rounding out creates an individual who, with time and experience, can be a fearsome force for the things they know true. The recipient of this education has always been sought after in life because of the quality of their thoughts when put forth. If you have ever seen someone with this education in action then you know exactly what I’m referring to.
The Jesuits were/are famed for using this method to produce exceptionally learned individuals. Even those not inside their formal system have been run through some of the wringers of their tradition and benefited. Such is the case at hand. As a boy, one of his lessons was to learn their code of virtue and civility and to write it out as part of his lessons. That act of copying out 250 year old (in his time) maxims helped form the man he later became. They helped define the world, his fellow man and his actions as he rose among them.
My lack of signal strength appears to be what precludes adding links but I’m sure that finding his work won’t be hard with ye olde cut’n’paste. For the short version and a direct application to leadership, search “Top 37 George Washington Quotes & Leadership tips” or….. Go for the longer route and take in the language and culture of a different age. Look for “George Washington’s Rules of Civility”. NPR has a nice list with the language somewhat modernized. (The original language is now almost 500 years old and could be hard to read for those unaccustomed.)
Read it and ponder the wisdom shown by the man and those around him. They almost all carried this education. I’m sure all modern leaders hold themselves to this standard whilst tweeting but, as a mere individual, I find them a useful read every so often. Never hurts to remember the burdens and grace needed while giving orders and while carrying them out. Doesn’t hurt to recall the duty to follow with a humble nature at points in every life and the responsibility to lead with the kindness when power is in hand.
Okie dokie, who will do the cut’n’paste for extra points?