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1

What's this Chapter?

Ch.6 - Lead From The front - Authority

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What's this Chapter's Judgment?

In any group, the person on top consciously or unconsciously sets the tone. If leaders are fearful, hesitant to take any risk, or overly concerned for their ego and reputation, then this invariably filters its way through the entire group and makes effective action impossible. Complaining and haranguing people to work harder has a counterproductive effect. You must adopt the opposite style: imbue your troops with the proper spirit through your actions, not words. They see you working harder than anyone, holding yourself to the highest standards, taking risks with confidence, and making tough decision. This inspires and binds the group together. In these democratic times, you must practice what you preach.

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The Fearless Approach
Throughout history we have witnessed the following pattern: certain people stand out from the crowd because of some special skill or talent that they have. Perhaps they are masters at the political game, knowing how to charm and win the proper allies. Or maybe they have superior technical knowledge in their field. Or maybe they are the ones who initiate some bold venture that has success. In any event, these types suddenly find themselves in leadership positions, something for which their experience and education has not prepared them.
Now they are alone and on the top, their every decision and action scrutinized by the group and the public. The pressures can be intense. And what inevitably happens is that many of them unconsciously succumb to all kinds of fears. Whereas before they might have been bold and creative, now they grow cautious and conservative, aware of the heightened stakes. Secretly scared of being held accountable for the success of the group, they over-delegate, poll everyone for their opinions, or refrain from making the hard decisions. Or they become excessiely dictatorial, trying to control everything - another sign of weakness and insecurity. It is the story of great senators who make lousy presidents, bold lieutenants who turn into mediocre generals, or top-level managers who become incompetent executives.
And yet among the group there are inevitably a few who demonstrate the opposite - they rise to the position, displaying extraordinary leadership skills that no one had suspected were in them. What links these people together is not some mysterious skill or bit of knowledge, but rather a quality of character, a temperament that reveals the essence of the art.

They are fearless. They do not shrink from making the hard decisions by themselves - instead they seem to relish such responsibility. They do not suddenly become more conservative, but in fact show a propensity for bold action. They exhibit tremendous grace under fire.

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The Fearless Approach
Such types come to understand in various ways that a leader has a unique power that generally goes untapped. Any group tends to assume the spirit and energy of the person on top. What happens if that person is weak?

If that person is weak and passive, then the group tends to splinter into factions. If such leaders lack confidence, their insecurities tend to filter their way down the line. Their nervous, fretful moods put everyone on edge. But there is always the opposite possibility.

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The Fearless Approach
Such types come to understand in various ways that a leader has a unique power that generally goes untapped. Any group tends to assume the spirit and energy of the person on top. What happens if that person is fearless?

A leader who is audacious, out in front, and setting the tone and agenda for the group sparks a higher energy level and confidence. Such a person on top does not need to yell or push people around; those below want to follow his or her lead because it is strong and inspiring.

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The Fearless Approach
In war, where leadership skills are more immediately apparent and necessary because lives are at stake, we can distinguish two leadership styles - from behind or from the front. Describe the former.

The former type of general likes to stay in his tent or headquarters and bark out orders, feeling that having such distance makes it easier to command. This style can also mean involving lieutenants and other generals in important decisions, choosing to lead by committee. In both cases, the commander is trying to hide himself from scrutiny, accountability, and danger.

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The Fearless Approach
The greatest generals in history, however, are invariable those who lead from the front and by themselves. They can be seen by the troops at the head of the army, exposing themselves to the same fate as any foot solider.
We notice the same two styles in business and politics as well. Describe those who lead from behind.

The executives who lead from behind will always try to disguise it as a virtue: the need for secrecy, or their desire to be more fair and democratic. But it really stems from fear and it invariably leads to a lack of respect from those below.

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The Fearless Approach
The greatest generals in history, however, are invariable those who lead from the front and by themselves. They can be seen by the troops at the head of the army, exposing themselves to the same fate as any foot solider.
We notice the same two styles in business and politics as well. Describe those who lead from the front.

Leaders who work harder than anyone else, who practicce what they preach, who are not afraid to be accountable for tough decisions or to take risks, will find they have created a well of respect that will pay great dividends down the road. They can ask for sacrifices, punish troublemakers, and make occasional mistakes all without facing the usual grumbling and doubts. They don't have to yell, complain, and force their men and women to follow. People do so willingly.

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The Fearless Approach
Leaders who work harder than anyone else, who practice what they preach, who are not afraid to be accountable for tough decisions or to take risks, will find they have created a well of respect that will pay great dividends down the road. They can ask for sacrifices, punish troublemakers, and make occasional mistakes all without facing the usual grumbling and doubts. They don't have to yell, complain, and force their men and women to follow. People do so willingly. How should this be your perspective as well?

You start with nothing in this world. Any titles, money, or priviledge you ineherit are actually hindrances. They delude you into believing you are owed respect. If you continue to impose your will because of such privileges, people will come to disdain and despise you. Instead only your actions can prove your worth. They tell people who you are. You must imagine that you are continually being challenged to show that you deserve the position you occupy. In a culture full of fakery and hype, you will stand out as someone authentic and worthy of respect.

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The Fearless Approach
The greatest leaders in history all inevitably learned by experience the following lesson: it is much better to be feared and respected than to be loved.
All of this had a strange and paradoxical effect on the cast and crew. They came to love working for John Ford and would die to gain a place among his exclusive team of return staff. His standards were so high, it forced them to work harder - he made them superior actors and technicians. An occasional nice gesture or compliment on his part carried double the weight and would be remembered for a lifetime. What's the lesson?

To be a leader often requires making tough choices, getting people to do things against their will. If you have chosen the soft, pleasing, compliant style of leadership, out of fear of being disliked, you will find yourself with less and less room to compel people to work harder or make saccrifices. If you suddenly try to be tough, they often feel wounded and personally upset. They can move from love to hate. The opposite approach yields the opposite result. If you build a reputation for toughness and getting results, people might resent you, but you will establish a foundation of respect. You are demonstrating genuine qualities of leadership that speak to everyone. Now with time and a well-founded authority, you have room to back off and reward people, even to be nice. When you do so, it will be seen as a genuine gesture, not an attempt to get people to like you, and it will have double the effect.

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Keys to Fearlessness
What's this Chapter's quote by Thucydides?

"For it is a general rule of human nature that people despise those who treat them well and look up to those who make no concessions." - Thucydides

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Keys to Fearlessness
Thousands of years ago, our most primitive ancestors formed groups for power and protection. But as these groups got larger, they encountered a problem with human nature that plagues us to this day. Individuals have different levels of talent, ambition, and assertiveness; their interests do not necessarily converge on all points. When it comes to the important decision upon which the fate of the tribe hangs, the members will often think of their own narrow agendas. A group of humans is always on the verge of splintering into a chaos of divergent interests.
For this purpose, leaders were chosen to make the hard decisions and end all the dissension. But the members of the tribe would inevitably feel ambivalence towards their leaders. They saw the necessity for them and the respect that should be paid to their authority, but they feared that their chieftains and kings would accumulate too much power and oppress them. They often wondered why this particular person or family deserved such a lofty position. To be a leader still means that you are playing a role, out in front, fearlessly driving the group forward. If you fail to unify the group around some glorious cause, some equivalent of the Promised Land, then you will find that you are having to push and pull followers, who are constantly splitting up into factions. Instead you must assume a prophetic air, as if you were merely chosen to lead them towards some higher goal. You are compelling them to follow on their own, making less a show of personal power and more a demonstration of the cause that unites them all. This will give you the proper authority to lead and an aura of power. What's the lesson?

To master the art of leadership you must see yourself as playing certain parts that will impress your disciples and make them more likely to follow you with the necessary enthusiasm.

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Keys to Fearlessness
What are the four main roles you must learn to perform?

-The Visionary
-The Unifier
-The Role Model
-The Bold Knight

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-The Visionary
How does the Visionary get his power?

A group of any size must have goals and long-term objectives to function properly. But human nature serves as a great impediment to this. We are naturally consumed by immediate battles and problems; we find it very difficult, if not unnatural, to focus with any depth on the future. Thinking ahead requires a particular thought process that comes with practice. It means seeing something practical and achievable several years down the road, and mapping out how this goal can be achieved. It means thinking in branches, coming up with several paths to get there, depending on the circumstances. It means being emotionally attached to this idea, so that when a thousand distractions and interruptions seem to push you off course, you have the strength and purpose to keep at it.
Without one person on top who charts the way to this larger goal, the group will wander here and there, grasping at schemes for quick money, or be moved by the narrow political aspirations of one member or another. It will never accomplish anything great. What's the lesson?

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-The Visionary
A group of any size must have goals and long-term objectives to function properly. But human nature serves as a great impediment to this. We are naturally consumed by immediate battles and problems; we find it very difficult, if not unnatural, to focus with any depth on the future. Thinking ahead requires a particular thought process that comes with practice. It means seeing something practical and achievable several years down the road, and mapping out how this goal can be achieved. It means thinking in branches, coming up with several paths to get there, depending on the circumstances. It means being emotionally attached to this idea, so that when a thousand distractions and interruptions seem to push you off course, you have the strength and purpose to keep at it.
Without one person on top who charts the way to this larger goal, the group will wander here and there, grasping at schemes for quick money, or be moved by the narrow political aspirations of one member or another. It will never accomplish anything great. What's the lesson?

You as the leader are the only bulwark against this endless wandering. You must have the strength to stamp the group with your own personality and vision, giving it a core and an identity. If you lose sight of the larger picture, then only bad things will ensue.

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-The Visionary
What is required to properly execute this pose?

You must play this visionary role with some dramatic flair, like Adison who was a consummate performer and promoter. Your own level of excitement and self-belief will convince people that you know where you are going and should be followed.

17

-The Unifier
How does the Unifier get his power?

The natural dynamic of any group is to splinter into factions. People want to protect and promote their narrow interests, so they form political alliances from within. If you force them to unite under your leadership, stamping out their factions, you may take control but it will come with great resentment - they will naturally suspect you are increasing your power at their expense. If you do nothing, you will find yourself surrounded by lords and dukes who will make your job impossible.

18

-The Unifier
How do you play this role?

A group needs a centripetal force to give it unity and cohesion but it is not enough to have that be you and the force of your personality. Instead it should be a cause that you fearlessly embody. This could be political, ethical, or progressive - you are working to improve the lives of people in your community, for instance. This cause elevates your group above others. It has a quasi-religious aura to it, a kind of cult feeling.

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-The Unifier
A group needs a centripetal force to give it unity and cohesion; it should be a cause that you fearlessly embody. This could be political, ethical, or progressive. This cause elevates your group above others. It has a quasi-religious aura to it, a kind of cult feeling. How are trouble makers taken care of in such a group?

Now, to fight or doubt you from within is to stand against this cause and seem selfish. The group, infused with this belief system, will tend to police itself and root our troublemakers.

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-The Unifier
A group needs a centripetal force to give it unity and cohesion; it should be a cause that you fearlessly embody. What is required to play this role effectively?

To play this role effectively, you must be a living example of this cause, much as Louis exemplified the civilizing power of France in his own carefully crafted behavior.

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-The Role Model
How does the Role Model get his power?

You cannot control a large group on your own. You will turn into a micromanager or dictator, making yourself exhausted and hated. You need to develop a team of lieutenants whoa are infused with your ideas, your spirit, and your values. Once you have such a team, you can give them latitude to operate on their own, learning for themselves and bringing their own creativity to the cause.

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-The Role Model
What is a good way to lead as a Role Model?

Operating with a mission statement is an effective way of softening your image and disguising the extent of your power. You are seen as more than just a leader; you are a role model, instructing, energizing, and inspiring your lieutenants.

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-The Role Model
How should you craft your team?

In crafting this team, look for people who share your values and are open to learning. Do not be seduced by a glittering resume. You want them near you, to absorb your spirit and ways of doing things. Once you feel they have the proper training, you must not be afraid to let go of the reins and give them more independence. In the end, this will save you much energy and allow you to continue focusing on the greater strategic picture.

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-The Bold Knight
How does the Bold Knight get his power?

Every group has a kind of collective energy, and on its own this will tend towards inertia. This comes from people's powerful desires to keep things comfortable, easy, and familiar. Over time, in any group, conventions and protocol will assume greater importance and govern people's behavior. The larger the group, the more conservative it will tend to become, and the greater this force of inertia. The paradox is that this defensive, passive posture has a depressing effect on morale, much like sitting in one place for too long will lower your spirits.

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-The Bold Knight
More than likely you rose to the top by virtue of your boldness and desperate desire to get ahead. You took risks that made you rise to the occasion with all of your energy and creativity, and this fearless spirit attracted positive attention. The group inertia will naturally tend to tamp all of that down and neutralize the source of your power. Since you are the leader, how are you the one who can alter this and set a pace that is more alive and active?

You remain the bold and enterprising knight. You force yourself to initiate new projects and domains to conquer; you take proactive measures against possible dangers on the horizon; you seize the initiative against your rivals. You keep your group marching and on the offensive. This will excite them and give them a feeling of movement. You are not taking unnecessary risks, but simply adding a dash of aggression to your normally staid group. They become used to seeing you out in front and grow addicted to the excitement you bring with each new campaign.

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Reversal
We live in times of great mistrust of any form of authority. Some of this springs from envy of those who have power and have achieved something. Some of it comes from experiences with people who abuse their position of power to get their way. In any event, such distrust makes it harder and harder to be a strong and effective leader. Under the sway of this leveling force, you yourself might be tempted to act with less authority, to be more like everyone else, or to make yourself likable. This will only make your job that much harder. Instead it is better that you see the whole concept of authority in a different light.
The word "authority" comes from the Latin root autore meaning author - a person who creates something new. This could be a work of art, a new way of operating in the world, or new values. The health of any society depends on those who infuse it with such innovations. These works or actions by individuals give them credibility and authority to do more.
As a leader, how is this how you must view yourself as well?

You are an author creating a new order, writing a new act in some drama. You never rest on your laurels or past achievements. Instead you are constantly taking action that moves the group forward and brings positive results; that record speaks for itself.

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Reversal
Which knowledge can you use as motivation to be an author creating a new order, writing a new act in some drama, never resting on your laurels or past achievements

Despite the spirit of the times, people have a secret yearning to be guided by a firm hand, by someone who knows where they are going. It is distressful to always feel distracted and wandering. The members of your group will give you the respect and authority you require if you earn it as an author and creator. In the end, if people mistrust and resist your authority, you really have only yourself to blame.