Shakespeare on Management Part 4

Shakespeare on Management Part 4

Learning to be a heroic leaderGreat heroic success is not straightforward. Shakespeare’s view is that when people wield power it is never clean and simple. Having power means getting yourself dirty, and exercising great power even at the cleanest moments of victory is to get yourself very dirty.

As a manager, even when you win, expect sleepless nights, and compromises with bad and sad activity, with consequent moral ambiguities. If you expect anything else you do not live in the real world of power and you should not seek it out. Moral ambiguity, contradictions about action and compromised outcomes are normal. This stress on ambiguity is why Shakespeare is a great writer and has so much to teach us about how we manage large organizations. The manager is someone who moves from light to dark, who sometimes leads like a knight in shining armour and sometimes like a wicked wizard.

One of the ways in which managers can be constantly confronted with this ambiguity is to ensure that there are strong individuals around them who will demostrate different ideas and moralities. These relationships will never be easy. They will cause considerable friction for the other senior staff in the organization, but whether they are fools or rogues they must be listened to.


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