Thursday, July 5, 2007

Quotes: Leadership.

A collection of quotes on various topics. The sentence in boldface is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

You will never know a person’s true character until he governs.
Leadership 170 Creon: Now, of course, there is no way to tell/ The character and mettle of a man/ Until you see him govern. Sophocles. Antigone.

You can’t be a good officer unless you undergo more than the men you lead.
Leadership 200 No one, Cyrus always said, can be a good officer who does not undergo more than those he commands. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

The true leader must know that willing obedience is better than forced obedience and that willing obedience will only be given when those he leads know that the course of action is the right one.
Leadership 200 Xenophon: The leader must himself believe that willing obedience always beats forced obedience, and that he can get this only by really knowing what should be done. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

When the leader shows fright, so will those he leads.
Leadership 58 Jocasta: For we are gone to pieces at the sight of him the steersman of the ship astray by fright. Sophocles. Oedipus the King.

JFK was objective in his attitude and willing to hear the views and interests of others.
Leadership 25 I was struck by the impersonality of his attitudes and his readiness to see the views and interests of others. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK ran for President because of what he could achieve through that office.
Leadership 77 JFK: I run for the Presidency of the United States because it is the center of action.... Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Kennedy wanted to anticipate and guide the popular will, not merely succumb to its wishes.
Leadership 84 Where Melbourne was willing to yield to the popular voice, Kennedy hoped to guide and anticipate it. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK: You cannot force things from the top.
Leadership 88 JFK: Things cannot be forced from the top. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK was not sure he should be a politician because he understood too well the point of view of opposing arguments.
Leadership 100 Kennedy remarked that he was not sure he was cut out to be a politician; he saw the strength of opposing arguments too well; it would be easier if he had divine certitude that he was right. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK would not confine himself to one set of advisers.
Leadership 120 JFK: “I can’t afford to confine myself to one set of advisers.” Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK: The purpose of reports: isolate the problem, suggest solutions, especially those that could be achieved by legislative action.
Leadership 152 Each of these reports should not merely isolate the problems and suggest generalized solutions, but should incorporate particular suggestions which can be implemented by legislative action. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK: One needs strength to accept disaster, avoid recrimination and to work to bring the situation to order.
Leadership 268 ...the strength to accept disaster, omit recrimination and pitch in to bring the situation back. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK: Never rely on the experts.
Leadership 277 The first lesson was never to rely on the experts. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK questioned the experts.
Leadership 285 The new President, saying little himself, threw out questions to stimulate the experts. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Don’t define issues as “Are you chicken or not?”
Leadership 359 ...the tendency to define the Are you chicken or not? Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

There are those who would blow up the world because of a transient situation.
Leadership 369 JFK: There is no presumption more terrifying than that of those who would blow up the world on the basis of their personal judgment of a transient situation. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

The distinction between authority and command.
Leadership 403 He [Cabinet official] had authority but not command. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

If a man demonstrates that he is willing to make judgments and decisions and live with the consequences, people will gravitate to him and others will get out of the way.
Leadership 405 Rusk’s administrative philosophy was that “if a man demonstrates that he is willing to make judgments and decisions and live with the results, power gravitates to him because other people will get out of his way. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Pick the battles you can win, but for the rest, bide your time.
Leadership 410 Where Bowles tried to fight every battle on every front at once, Harriman picked the battles he knew he could win, or affect, and for the rest bided his time. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

We would forget how many problems confronted the President beyond those we were interested in.
Leadership 445 One always tended to forget how many problems assailed a president beyond one’s own. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

There were more important things than organization charts. [Clearly constructed hierarchy does not guarantee communication or achievement?]
Leadership 556 …Kennedy himself held the Rooseveltian view that there were things in life more important than the symmetry of organization charts. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Variety in the world was the reality and no one powerful country could control all of that variety.
Leadership 566 JFK: No great power could run the world: variety was the stubborn and irreducible reality. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Some previous Presidents were given credit for doing something when they could do nothing else.
Leadership 619 Some of his greatest predecessors, he [Kennedy] would sometimes say, were given credit for doing things when they could do nothing else. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Advisers give advice; the President is responsible for the decision.
Leadership 629 JFK: “The President…bears the burden of the responsibility…the advisers may move on to new advice. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK was under the illusion that he could be President of all the people without undergoing pain or trauma.
Leadership 664 …it seemed that Kennedy suffered from the illusion so common to new presidents…that he, unlike any of his predecessors, could really be president of all the people and achieve his purposes without pain or trauma…. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

One type of leader: arrogance, complete disregard of the opinion of others and defiance.
Leadership 120 What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the single-handed defiance of the world. Hoffer, The True Believer

The President both leads and follows the people.
Leadership 124 a democracy the leader follows the people even as he leads them. Hoffer, The True Believer

The President needs to know where the people are going.
Leadership 124 ...[The leader] must...find out where the people are going so he may lead them. Hoffer, The True Believer

The fanatic is convinced that the life conforms to his formula.
Leadership 165 At the root of [the fanatic’s] cockiness is the conviction that life and the universe conform to a simple formula--his formula. Hoffer, The True Believer

The variety of tools available to Presidents to accomplish goals that cannot be accomplished through legislation.
Leadership 437 What he [Kennedy] could not accomplish through legislation—to fight recession, inflation, race discrimination and other problems—he sought to accomplish through Executive Orders, proclamations, contingency funds, inherent powers, unused statutes, transfers of appropriations, reorganization plans, patronage, procurement, pardons, Presidential memos, public speeches and private pressures. Sorenson, Kennedy

If we can’t meet our commitments here, where will we stand and meet them?
Leadership 666 JFK: “If we do not meet our commitments to Berlin, where will we later stand?” Sorenson, Kennedy

If you put new ideas before fools, you will be labeled a fool; if you put them before people who are reputed to be learned, they will hate you. [“Despised” would be more accurate based on my experience.]
Leadership 35 Medea: If you put new ideas before the eyes of fools/ They’ll think you foolish and worthless into the bargain;/ And if you are thought superior to those who have/ Some reputation for learning, you will become hated. Euripides, Medea.

People who cannot give speeches to large gatherings, who are more comfortable communicating with small groups of peers.
Leadership 110 Hippolytus: I have no skill at making speeches to a crowd and am wiser with a few who are my own equals. Euripides, Hippolytus.

You can strengthen others if you are aware of your own weaknesses.
Leadership 154 You are able to strengthen others only insofar as you are aware of your own weakness. Pope John Paul II, Threshold

The feeling that people are no longer with you and are pulling away from you.
Leadership 469 [King] Arthur, reserved and unhappy in the new atmosphere which had begun to pull away from him instead of with him…. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

He was not destined for private happiness but for the leadership of a nation.
Leadership 501 Merlyn had not intended him [Arthur] for private happiness…had been made for royal joys, for the fortunes of a nation. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

The king’s business is to prevent bloodshed, not to provoke it.
Leadership 542 [King] Arthur: It is a king’s business to prevent bloodshed if he can, not to provoke it. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

Vengeance does not lead.
Leadership 624 We cannot build the future by avenging the past. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

It is no good to push further than the country is willing to follow.
Leadership 124 To friends of Sumner who in September ’61 urged Lincoln to issue a proclamation giving freedom to the slaves, he said, “It would do no good to go ahead any faster than the country would follow.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

There is no room in leadership for malice.
Leadership 201 Lincoln: I shall do nothing in malice…what I deal with is too vast for malicious dealing. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Lincoln: I do not lead; I only follow.
Leadership 345 To Thomas L. James of Utica, New York, [Lincoln] the President said, “I do not lead; I only follow.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Raising a leader to power brings out hidden abilities in that leader.
Leadership 349 Also around Lincoln gathered some of the hope that a democracy can choose a man, set him up high with power and honor, and the very act does something to the man himself, raises up new gifts, modulations, controls, outlooks, wisdoms, inside the man, so that he is something else again than he was before they sifted him out and anointed him…. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Leaders in transitional periods experience contradictory charges.
Leadership 430 The Reverend Henry Fowler: …comparing it [the Civil War] with the time in Jewish history when the prophet Samuel was the mediator between a passing and a coming epoch…an epoch of perplexity, transition, change…in every such passage of a nation there ought to be a character like that of Samuel: misunderstood and misrepresented at the time; attacked from both sides; charged with not going far enough and with going too far; charged with saying too much and saying too little, he slowly conscientiously and honestly works out the mighty problem…not a founder of a new state of things like Moses…not a champion of the existing order of things like Elijah…stood between the two; between the living and the dead; between the past and the present; between the old and the new; with that sympathy for each which at such a period is the best hope for any permanent solution of the questions which torment it. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

It doesn’t matter what effect his undermining me has on my career so long as he does the job he has been assigned to do.
Leadership 494 Lincoln: I am entirely indifferent as to his [Chase’s] success or failure in these schemes [undermining Lincoln], so long as he does his duty as the head of the Treasury Department. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

He had the spirit of a daredevil and made the men in his command feel like daredevils.
Leadership 606 When the hour cried for it Sheridan had the genius of a daredevil who could make other men in the mass want to be daredevils. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

I take no pleasure in triumphing over anyone.
Leadership 688 Lincoln: It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one…. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Confidence in a leader.
Leadership 700 Sherman: The soldiers think I know everything and that they can do anything. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

The assassination abruptly ended many careful plans Lincoln had laid for the post-war years.
Leadership 868 The single event of the assassination swept away a thousand foundations carefully laid and protected by the living Lincoln. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

He led by being an instrument for those he led.
Leadership 876 Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Pastor of the Third Congregational Unitarian Society in New York City: He let the people work through him; and in his own esteem held a high place enough when he acted as an organ and an instrument. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Lincoln’s hero was the people; he saw himself as their instrument.
Leadership 885 And to him [Lincoln] the great hero was The People…could not say too often that he was merely their instrument. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Leadership inspires while confronting reality.
Leadership Jacket ...presents his [Bill Bradley’s] view of truth-telling leadership that inspires even as it confronts us with reality. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Commanding is not the same as leading.
Leadership 8 But if the government commands without leading…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato.

Plato’s process of producing leaders for the state.
Leadership 31 Those that survive, scarred and fifty, sobered and self-reliant, shorn of scholastic vanity by the merciless friction of life, and armed now with all the wisdom that tradition and experience, culture and conflict can cooperate to give--these men at last shall...become the rulers of the state. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato.

No man shall hold office without being trained for it and having succeeded in a lesser office.
Leadership 32 Nor shall any man hold office without specific training, nor hold high office till he has filled a lower office well. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato.

If one has not learned to obey, he will never be able to command.
Leadership 85 …he who has never learned to obey cannot be good commander. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Aristotle.

Leaders divide their enemies and unite their friends.
Leadership 117 F. Bacon: The cue of every to divide his enemies and to unite his friends. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

Leaders rise above the influence of special interests and futilities.
Leadership 185 Spinoza: To be great is not to be placed above humanity, ruling others; but to stand above the partialities and the futilities…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza.

People should not be used to accomplish purposes. [That was Hawthorne’s “unpardonable sin.”]
Leadership 285 Kant: Every man is to be respected as an absolute end in himself; and it is a crime against the dignity that belongs to him as a human being, to use him as a mere means for some external purpose. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Kant.

Political order helps individuals develop themselves and they do so to the extent that they help shape the policy and destiny for the group.
Leadership 526 Dewey: The aim of political order is to help the individual to develop himself completely; and this can come only when each shares, up to his capacity, in determining the policy and destiny of his group. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, John Dewey.

Most people who are put in positions of power become brutal in their exercise of it.
Leadership 23 It seems to be inevitable for all men, after they are put in positions of authority, to exercise it in a brutal and inequitable manner. Mencken, Minority Report.

I will govern for the common welfare, but not according to the common will.
Leadership 203 James I of England, 1621: "I will govern according to the common weal, but not according to the common will." Mencken, Minority Report.

W Wilson was a good man, but he could not move the people to do what he perceived to be good for them.
Leadership 56 Joyce Cary on Woodrow Wilson: Wilson was a good man, but he hadn’t the genius of the spellbinder—the art of getting at people and moving the crowd. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

The state must follow, not lead, the character of its people.
Leadership 559 …the State must follow, and not lead the character and progress of the citizen….

History is a record of the imbecility of kings and governors.
Leadership 732 History is full, down to this day, of the imbecility of kings and governors. Emerson, Representative Men: Bonaparte, or the Man of the World.

He is great who can alter my state of mind.
Leadership 65 Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind. Emerson, The American Scholar.

There are people who can’t act or speak well, but they influence.
Leadership 90 There are persons who are not actors, not speakers, but influences. Emerson, Divinity College Address.

Some people are stimulated by crisis; others are intimidated or paralyzed by it.
Leadership 90 There are men who are refreshed on hearing a threat; men to whom a crisis which intimidates and paralyzes the majority.... Emerson, Divinity College Address.

If there is no vision, the people perish.
Leadership 115 Where there is no vision, the people perish. Emerson, Method of Nature.

More followers are attracted to madness than to wisdom.
Leadership 613 Sancho: Madness has always more followers and hangers-on than wisdom. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha. Part Two: 1615.

The classic commander: he’s on the front lines sharing the hardship.
Leadership 184 [About Joe Stilwell]: Classically the commander, leading by being there and sharing the worst kind of front-line hardship, contemptuous of staff officers…. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

Some leaders want only to be reinforced in their beliefs and illusions.
Leadership 187 Harkins was comforted by his staff and his statistics;…those who comforted him and gave him what he was looking for had their careers accelerated. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

One philosopy of promotion to leadership positions.
Leadership 281 …a slogan to describe the ARVN promotion system: “Fuck up and move up.” Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

JFK’s advisers were very different for him and for Johnson.
Leadership 458 The Johnson style was very different [from Kennedy’s style], and it made different men of the chief presidential advisers. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

JFK wanted a variety of opinions; LBJ wanted consensus.
Leadership 459 So rather than the previous Administration’s [Kennedy’s] decision making, where a variety of opinions were sought…[Johnson]…had an obsession with consensus. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

Westmoreland wanted to look trim as a general should because he thought the men he commanded would be fat and sloppy if he was fat and sloppy.
Leadership 547 About Westmoreland: …he played tennis in ferociously hot weather to sweat the weight off because he thought a general should look like a general, that troops commanded by a fat sloppy general would give fat sloppy performances. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

LBJ compared the attacks on him for his handling of the Vietnam War to JFK’s assassination, only he is living and it hurts more.
Leadership 640 [Lyndon] Johnson as attacks on him over the [Vietnam] war increased: “The only difference between the Kennedy assassination and mine is that I am alive and it has been more torturous.” Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

Hitler’s subordinates thought they could control and exploit him, but they became part of the hell on earth he had created and could not escape complicity.
Leadership 513 Knowing very well that they were entering into a pact with the devil, they could not, after he had created a hell on earth, disentangle themselves from complicity because they had deluded themselves that they could control and exploit him [Hitler]. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

Command can exist only with willing obedience.
Leadership 616 So command/Exists but with obedience. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

What can’t be done with reason, wisdom and tact will never be done by force.
Leadership 134 I hold that what cannot be done by reason and by wisdom and tact is never done by force. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Madmen, women and children have ruled great states equally well with able princes.
Leadership 427 It has happened that women, children, and madmen have ruled great states equally well with the most able princes. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

The man takes on the aura of the office.
Leadership 428 …we need only look at a man who has been elevated to dignity: even if we had known him three days before as a man of little account, there slips imperceptibly into our minds an image of greatness and ability, and we are persuaded that, growing in state and reputation, he has grown in merit. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Whatever occurs is credited to the one who commands rather than the one who performs.
Leadership 466 Valerius Maximus: …whatever is exacted by power is ascribed to him who commands rather than to him who performs. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

His enemies respect him as well as his friends.
Leadership 470 Cyrus: …that he has given his enemies as much reason to love him as his friends. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Being raised to the level of his incompetence.
Leadership 498 Saturninus said to those who had conferred upon him full command: “Comrades, you have lost a good captain to make a bad general.” Montaigne, Selected Essays.

People in office change to meet the image of that office.
Leadership 520 I see some who transform and transubstantiate themselves into as many new shapes and new beings as the offices they undertake…and drag their positions along with them even into their water closet. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

I see equally well the good qualities of my enemies and the reprehensible qualities of my friends.
Leadership 521 In the present broils of this kingdom my own interest has not made me blind to the laudable qualities in our adversaries, nor to the reprehensible qualities in those men whom I have followed. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

He that performs in public what he could accomplish in private is doing so to enhance his reputation and personal profit.
Leadership 533 It is acting for our own reputation and personal profit, not the public good, to reserve for performance in the public square what we can do in the council chamber…. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Soldiers are not bad; generals are.
Leadership 59 Napoleon is reputed to have once said, ‘There are no bad soldiers, only bad generals.’ PMS Blackett. A Random Walk in Science.

He struggled with saying something unpleasant or unexpected to a man’s face.
Leadership 425 …struggling with himself to do what was for him the most difficult thing in life—to say something unpleasant to a man’s face, to say the opposite of what the other…expected. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Napoleon thought he could make no mistakes because he was Napoleon.
Leadership 740 It was plain that it had long been Napoleon’s conviction that no possibility existed of his making a mistake, and that, according to his understanding of things, whatever he did was right, not because it harmonized with any preconceived notion of right or wrong, but because it was he who did it. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

A good general is one in whom love, poetry, tenderness and doubt do not exist.
Leadership 763 A good general has no need of any special qualities: on the contrary, he is the better for the absence of the loftiest and finest human attributes--love, poetry, tenderness and philosophic and inquiring doubt. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

The awe inspired by royalty.
Leadership 798 [On seeing the emperor]: “Father! Angel! Little Father!” she kept repeating, wiping away her tears with her fingers. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

All monarchs wear military uniforms and reward people who kill.
Leadership 922 Every monarch in the world. wears a military uniform, and bestows the greatest rewards on the man who kills the greatest number of his fellow creatures. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Napoleon gave orders that either had already been executed or could not be executed and never were.
Leadership 951 On the basis of such inevitably untrustworthy reports, Napoleon gave his orders, which had either been executed before he gave them or else could not be, and never were, executed. Tolstoi, War and Peace

The general gave no orders, just assented or rejected what was proposed to him.
Leadership 956 He [General Kutuzov] issued no orders but simply gave or withheld his assent to what was proposed to him. Tolstoi, War and Peace

In executing people, Napoleon believed he was doing it for the welfare of the people.
Leadership 970 Yes, he [Napoleon]…the executioner of the peoples, persuaded himself that the motive of his actions had been the welfare of the peoples…. Tolstoi, War and Peace

Should the President lead or follow the people?
Leadership 194 Was it his [President Roosevelt’s] duty to lead or to follow the people? Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

FDR’s action stirred the American democracy to action and it became more than a debating society.
Leadership 194 He [Roosevelt] knew that he must act and that only in the test of action would the people rally and this democracy become more than a debating society in a world of violent action. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Too many ideas coming from others burden the President.
Leadership 220 [The President’s] defense against the further burden of another man’s ideas…the pressure from an unending stream of information and ideas, often in conflict…. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

I felt useless, ineffectual in fighting with words someone who fought with actions.
Leadership 329 I had the old feeling of uselessness, the crushing sense of ineffectualness that comes to the vacillating liberal, who contests only with words, in the presence of a truly strong, dedicated person who has accepted the perils of action…. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Lincoln amalgamated the spirits of authority and freedom.
Leadership 19 Brazilian Ambassador Joaquin Nabuco: But whether the spirit of authority, or that of freedom increases, Lincoln’s legend will ever appear more luminous in the amalgamation of centuries, because he supremely incarnated both those spirits. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

He understood both opposing points of view and chose to act with what was workable in the present.
Leadership 178 …that he understood both sections without prejudice, that he could relate the tangled past to the uncertain future by offering what might be workable in the immediate present. [RFS: Reminds of what Sorenson and Schelsinger said about JFK.] Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

One man with God on his side can overturn the universe.
Leadership 264 John Brown: “One man and God can overturn the universe.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years.

Horse and rider may have two different purposes.
Leadership 291 Lincoln: The horse thinks one thing, he that saddles him another. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years.

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