They called them “great” Macedonia’s Alexander, England’s Cnut, Russia’s Catherine and Prussia’s Frederick: Some were called “Terrible”, others “Great Khan”. Some were kings while others gods. In fact, a quick search reveals 94 leaders titled “great”, the most recent being past kings of Thailand, formerly Siam.

How about you? The founder, CEO, manager or team leader. Are you great? What does the name “Genghis” mean to you today while the US and Australia send their militaries into the Persian Gulf threatened by Iran, whom the “Great Khan” had obliterated in 1221?

Great leaders, you see, conduct their skill with a balance of hubris and humility.

Take this quote I saw yesterday describing the prolific landscape artist J.M.W. Turner that read, “The sun will rise whether or not you are there to watch it”.

Which is a perfect way to consider the passing of one of the world’s richest men David Koch, last week, who left with a personal fortune worth 48 billion dollars.

Did he realise that dying a multi-billionaire is the essence of futility, because the person worth 50 cents and living is now richer?

True leadership then, is the art of not taking oneself too seriously. Failed leadership is the person on a quest for legacy as the sun sets and not being able to do a thing about it.

© 2019 Adam Parker.