Modern day managers may not have the same sort of problems as in Elizabethan times but they can still learn a great deal from the way Shakespeare’s characters handled those around them.
Running your firm at a time of boom and a buoyant market makes little demand upon your ability to see into the future and leadership is easy. But if market conditions are uncertain, and it’s not easy to know what will happen to your product, then that’s the time when it is important to provide strong leadership. In the new millennium, there is a premium not only on leadership but on great leadership in difficult conditions.
Responsibility – not satisfaction – is the only thing that will serve. Managers must go beyond satisfaction. Satisfied or complacent managers will not make things happen for their organizations. Restlessness is at the core of mangement. In most of his leaders, Shakespeare demonstrates how leaders act upon their dissatisfaction and, sometimes for personal reasons and sometimes for reasons of state, change the world. They are very active and are antagonistic to the experience of the status quo. In Shakespeare’s plays of 400 years ago, the leaders who try to protect themselves against change fail. Failure to see change coming, complacenecy with the status quo, can affect the most admired companies.