The essence of leadership

Alexander the Great“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and action.” – as quoted by American business leader Harold S. Geneen. This truth is borne out by the actions of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) is this demonstrative tale as told by the Plutarch.

       Alexander the Great was leading his army homeward after the great victory against Portus in India. The country through which they now marched was bare and desert, and his army suffered dreadfully from heat, hunger, and, most of all, thirst. The soldiers’ lips cracked and their throats burned from want of water, and many were ready to lie down and give up.

       About noon one day the army met a party of Greek travelers. They were on mules, and carried with them a few vessels filled with water. One of them, seeing the king almost chocking from thirst, filled a helmet and offered it to him.

       Alexander took it into his hands, then looked around at the faces of his suffering soldiers, who craved refreshment just as much as he did.

       “Take it away,” he said, “for if I drink alone, the rest will be out of heart, and you have not enough for all.”

       So he handed the water back without touching a drop of it. And the soldiers, cheering their king, leaped to their feet, and demanded to be led forward.


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

1 thought on “The essence of leadership

  1. Chris

    True leadership is demonstrated in one’s action. Here’s a great verse that illustrates this point.

    Edward Rowland Sill

    This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream.
    There spread a cloud of dust along the plain;
    And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
    A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
    Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner
    Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes
    A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
    And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel –
    That blue blade that the King’s son bears – but this
    Blunt thing – !” he snaps and flung it from his hand,
    And lowering crept away and left the field.
    Then came the King’s son, wounded, sore bestead,
    And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
    Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
    And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout
    Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
    And saved a great cause that heroic day.


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