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But what the past will not do is provide the magic formula for how to become an effective leader. Looking for clear lessons in history is a futile quest: there are too many and their meaning is always in dispute. History can be useful, however, in suggesting patterns and parallels, raising questions, and — equally important — giving warnings about why things go wrong.
So here, from one historian, are first some tips about what goes into the making of a successful leader and, second, warnings about what can bring failure.
Leading can be gratifying, often exhilarating, but it is also lonely. Ambition and the determination to succeed may mean sacrificing friends and family. Think of how many children of great men have had unhappy lives. That The Well - The Band - The Last Waltz is why statesmen like summits: they meet those rare others who face the same pressures and responsibilities.
What they also had in common was an ability to pick themselves up after setbacks and keep on going. The people to keep on side can vary: in a democracy, leaders need to worry about numbers and getting re-elected; in an authoritarian state, leaders can probably just focus on keeping certain institutions — the military or the secret services, for example — on side.
It was not an easy relationship — Wilhelm complained that it was hard to be king under Bismarck — but in the end he supported his brilliant minister, who in turn made him Emperor of Germany. In democracies, political leaders have to build stable coalitions. After the Great Depression in the United States, the Democrats brought together Southern Whites, Northern Blacks, the working classes and liberals, and that served them well for decades.
Like children, they seem then. Oh, and it does make a difference to have something to say. In his radio Fireside Chat of the s and s, President Roosevelt was reassuring the American people about the state of the nation and getting them used to the idea that the United States might have to fight Cosmos Vs Alien - Various - Exit Trance Presents Speed アニメトランス Best 12 dark forces gathering in Europe and the Far East.
As Kennedy also demonstrates, choosing good and independent subordinates is a safeguard against making bad decisions. And he did that when he manoeuvred across the chess board of Europe to create the new state of Bitch - The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers. Effective leaders are able to manage both the day-to-day issues that press in on them and the bigger picture.
That is where a knowledge of history helps, as it shows patterns amidst all the noise of current events and reminds of possibilities other than those we are used to. They came up with a brilliant and detailed plan to fight a holding action against Russia in the East and, by throwing the bulk of their forces against France in the West, bring its surrender rapidly.
Because it made military sense, German troops would invade neutral Belgium on their way to Paris. Politically, though, it was a disastrous decision. Power is also dangerous, because those who hold it start to think they can do whatever they choose. Think of Richard Nixon trying to use the institutions of the American government to shut down the Watergate scandal.
Or the American war in Vietnam. In the s the United States was the most powerful economic and military power in the world. Its leaders assumed they could easily overwhelm North Vietnam and bring its leaders to the bargaining table.
They did not bother to wonder whether their enemies and their Vietnamese allies might have different ideas. It is said that he issued a standing order that any instruction he gave in the evenings — when he liked to carouse with his friends — should be ignored. History has far more examples of leaders whose conviction of infallibility grow in proportion to their power.
With most of Europe lying at his feet, Napoleon came to think he was invincible. He found himself enmeshed in a pointless and Leaders Of The World - Anthony Cruz - Fight With All Your Might war in Spain. Then to bring the young Tsar Alexander to heel he invaded Russia, the mistake that led to his eventual downfall.
Adolf Hitler had a string of successes — the seizing of Austria and Czechoslovakia, the defeat of France, the partition of the centre of Europe with the Soviet Union — which convinced him that he was infallible. When German troops encountered resistance, Hitler refused to let Put It On - Judy Mowatt - Black Woman retreat. It was the beginning of the end. Relinquishing power is one of the hardest things to do.
Far more often, leaders have chosen to stay on when they should have bowed out. Without intending to, they often undo much of their own work and cause problems for their successors.
An old and increasingly frail Winston Churchill should not have tried to be prime minister again in His government drifted, while his chosen successor Anthony Eden grew increasingly embittered. Without the French Revolution, which swept aside the old order and opened up rapid advancement for men of talent, Napoleon would have remained in obscurity. So if I have one piece of advice for would-be leaders, it is read some history.
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