Lessons on Leadership by Terror

Lessons on Leadership by Terror

Finding Shaka Zulu in the Attic

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries

Lessons on Leadership by Terror attempts to discover what happens to people when they acquire power, and whether the abuse of power is inevitable. Manfred Kets de Vries examines the life of the nineteenth-century Zulu king Shaka Zulu in order to help us understand the psychology of power and terror

Chapter 10: Lessons in Leadership: Teaching by Example and Omission

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries

Subjects: business and management, business leadership, politics and public policy, leadership


Mankind has been created for the sake of one another. Either instruct them, therefore, or endure them. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations) When kings the sword of justice first lay down, They are no kings, though they possess the crown. Titles are shadows, crowns are empty things, The good of subjects is the end of kings. (Daniel Defoe, The True-Born Englishman) Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true. (Honoré de Balzac, La Comédie Humain) A leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do, and like it. (Harry S Truman, Key Management Ideas) A leader who doesn’t hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader. (Golda Meir, As Good as Golda) The opportunist thinks of me and today. The statesman thinks of us and tomorrow. (Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech given at Lafayette College) Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere. (Ronald Reagan, Fortune) The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes. (Tony Blair, Mail on Sunday) Having deconstructed aspects of Shaka’s despotic leadership style, we can now make our own judgment about what he stands for. We can view him as a warrior-king of epic proportions who brought the Zulu nation to greatness, or a ruthless psychopath and despot in the manner of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein. The verdict...

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