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Shakespeare's Lessons in Leadership: Hamlet

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#41
I will not claim to be an ace in such literature as this, but the passage you refered me to sounded more like reflection or retrospection than taking responsibility for things as they happened, which I would have preferred the leader to do.
 
Q

qualitygoddess - 2010

#42
This leadership discussion has been quite weighty, informed, inspired and too much work for me to digest (just a humble servant in the court). I would, however, like to congratulate Craig on making the cover of July 2005 Quality Digest. The skull is 'totally radical'.

--QG

:agree1:
 

ccochran

Southern Gentleman
#43
Pataha & Jennifer,

This is the great thing about Hamlet: smart people can read it in very different ways. It provides endless entertainment for those willing to give it a little time and effort. And I'll admit that the Hamlet character is vastly more complex than I'm giving him credit for being in my article. In an effort to draw out some leadership issues, I ran the risk of turning him into a cartoon character, which would be a tragedy in itself. I'm trying to work something up on Henry V, but I just can't muster the interest in the protagonist. Henry V is too virtuous and too boring. The flawed heros are the ones who seem to be the most interesting.

Goddess,

Thanks for the kudos! I believe that is Dirk Dusharme's hand and pet skull that graces the cover. Dirk is the editor of Quality Digest. He and his staff did a terrific job with the graphic. What a great group of people to work with. I encourage you and anybody else listening to send them an article. By the way, I'm looking forward to meeting you at the Outlook on Quality Standards Conference in Miami. Bring your bikini...

Craig
 
Q

qualitygoddess - 2010

#44
ccochran said:
Goddess,

Thanks for the kudos! I believe that is Dirk Dusharme's hand and pet skull that graces the cover. Dirk is the editor of Quality Digest. He and his staff did a terrific job with the graphic. What a great group of people to work with. I encourage you and anybody else listening to send them an article. By the way, I'm looking forward to meeting you at the Outlook on Quality Standards Conference in Miami. Bring your bikini...

Craig
:topic:

Craig: If I bring the bikini, then the beaches will clear out, and the attendees can have it all to themselves!

I need some motivation to work on and then finish my presentation by the 8/12 deadline for inclusion on the proceedings CD. Too many distractions this summer.

Back on topic: you can probably skip my private e-mail about the Hamlet article, as I see the publisher took some liberties with the ending, too. I'm planning to pass on my copy of Q Digest to a Fortune 500 VP who recently asked me to come in and speak about leaders as change agents.

--Jodi
 
J

Jim Howe

#45
great leaders

My choice for a great leader would be General Patton! Yes he was one of a kind but imo was capable of inspiring his army to accomplish the unbelieveable! So a great leader must be able to motivate and inspire.
General Lee, at Gettysburg, inspired 15000 to march straight up the hill in the face of heavy union cannon fire. Suicidal yes! But none the less a man capable of motivating.
 
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P

Pataha

#46
Jennifer,

Hamlet appears to be complaining of the use of skills that are needed to be King and the he though he used them, he wish he could have forgotten them. Hamlet, appears as you wonderfully point out is shirking his responsiblities and so fo me Fair Lady provides a small measure of evidence in support of you fine writing.

Craig,

To make Henry the V a more interesting study, you might want to start following him in Henry IV. Since in that play my children's ancestor "Hotspur" is caompared to the young Henry V as being superior and would be a better King. Upon which Henry V managed to kill Hotspur. At that point, a question comes into play - what motivates a leader? Did Henry V mature the way he did because he had the yardstick of Hotspur to measure himself against?
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#47
Patahaconsulting, you are too kind.

Not for the first time it occurs to me that good leadership is much easier to theorize than execute.

Perhaps that is the genius in the message that Shakespeare delivers. In the spirit and method of the ancient Greek classic tragedies, his stories show very human responses to the various chaotic personal and extrernal forces we all deal with in fashions large or small. Even the most celebrated leaders' actions have dark consequences for some; doing the right thing in scope doesn't ensure it is the right thing for all. I don't want to let ol' Hamlet off the hook, but I must in fairness acknowledge the enormous burden of trying to do the right things well, in the face of all else.
 

ccochran

Southern Gentleman
#48
Ah, yes. How do you deal with adversity? That seems to be the essential element that distinguishes leaders. Great leaders embrace adversity and find a way around it. They muster all the various components of leadership (communication, motivation, inspiration, and anything else that ends in 'ion'), and they bring people together to help them succeed. Less successful leaders seem to brood over their dilemnas. Not to say that all great leaders confront their challenges head on, but those are the performances that seem to stick in my mind. So we have people like Patton and Mars Roberts (nice picks, Jim!), and others who run headlong into what confronts them. Not always successful, but they inspire and mobilize. I like Hamlet so much because I can see myself in his own actions. If I could be half a Hamlet I'd be doing all right...

Pataha-- Your knowledge of the classics is staggering. I just put Henry IV on my reading list. Hopefully I'll be able to talk intelligently about it soon.

Jodi--Get with it! That's a leader talking. HA! I haven't completed my presentation for that conference, either. Don't sweat it. It will be a huge hit.

Jennifer--You summed up the essence of leadership. It's easy to make a pretty story out of leadership, but there are always darker stories that underly the rah-rah-rah. I personally think too much about those underlying stories (a little like Hamlet). Many of the "great leaders" seem blind or indifferent to these darker angles of their actions. Hamlet considers them very carefully, which makes him a true hero...

With warm summer regards,
Hotspur
 
Q

qualitygoddess - 2010

#49
Jennifer Kirley said:
Not for the first time it occurs to me that good leadership is much easier to theorize than execute.

.
OK, IMHO, Jennifer has hit the nail on the head! (where's the smiley for that??) Many can 'manage', but few can 'lead'. And I think it is because we typically define leadership by using behavioral descriptions, rather than a more explicit definition. I like this definition from an Evans and Lindsay Quality Management textbook: "Leadership is the ability to positively influence people and systems under one’s authority to have a meaningful impact and to achieve important results." Now we can focus on determining and building leadership competencies. Craig mentioned a number of these capabilities/competencies in his article.

So, it's my thought that someone can learn to lead by developing his or her abilities to be on par with the leadership thinking of the era in which we live. For example, a leader must be willing to investigate the risk of a decision, and be willing to take that risk if the data shows the possibility of a certain outcome. I believe this is Craig's first point in the article. Perhaps 150 years from now, it might not be cool to take risks. We might be operating under the global economy to the point where there are only a few mega-mega companies, and 'risk' is an archaic term. Who is to say that Hamlet didn't 'mobilize people to his cause', because the prevailing wisdom of the time was that you handled revenge alone.

I would be interested in this group's thoughts regarding ways to either improve or create competency for the principles cited in Craig's article. Let's create a few scenarios, and speculate on what the outcome would be. For example, in a Fortune 500 publicly traded services company, how would a quality manager for a business unit develop or improve the skill to "mobilize people in support of his cause"? His cause is some quality award, either state or federal (MBNQA in the US). Ideas?

Let's see if you are game............. :thanx:
 
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J

Jim Howe

#50
leadership

Many, many years ago when I was in the US Navy I took a leadership course from Oliver Wendel Holmes, Institute. Throughout this course all theses attributes were dicussed at length but the one I remember most that has stuck with me over the years is "A great leader COMMANDS respect", or he/she must be credible enough for others to submit to leaders tactics. Perhaps one of the most credible men of our time is imo, Colin Powell!
 
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