Ability to perform
The children of Israel needed to cross the Red Sea, and their leader Moses, split the sea for this to happen. No excuses. Don’t ask me how, ask Moses. This is called extraordinary ability!
Ability to win friends
With all his craftiness, Machiavelli realized he couldn’t use this all the time. This is because no one has monopoly of craftiness. We all need allies. Despite his prescriptions on conquering principalities, Machiavelli never rose to the kind of prominence he desired in his lifetime; to this Plato would say “physician, heal thyself”. Indeed Machiavelli’s most popular work The Prince, was written to court the good graces of the then monarch; and he prepared a glowing speech to present it, part of it reads thus:
“To the Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De’ Medici:
Those who strive to obtain the good graces of a prince are
accustomed to come before him with such things as they hold most
precious, or in which they see him take most delight; whence one
often sees horses, arms, cloth of gold, precious stones, and
similar ornaments presented to princes, worthy of their greatness.
Desiring therefore to present myself to your Magnificence with
some testimony of my devotion towards you, I have not found among
my possessions anything which I hold more dear than, or value so
much as, the knowledge of the actions of great men, acquired by
long experience in contemporary affairs, and a continual study of
antiquity; which, having reflected upon it with great and
prolonged diligence, I now send, digested into a little volume, to
your Magnificence.” …
“Take then, your Magnificence, this little gift in the spirit in
which I send it; wherein, if it be diligently read and considered
by you, you will learn my extreme desire that you should attain
that greatness which fortune and your other attributes promise.
And if your Magnificence from the summit of your greatness will
sometimes turn your eyes to these lower regions, you will see how
unmeritedly I suffer a great and continued malignity of fortune.”
Ability to Relax
A leaders capacity regardless, s/he would do well to realize that sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith, and watch things play out. Relax. You can never cross all the t’s or dot all i’s.
Ability to Calculate
The ability to relax mentioned above is not a call to sloppiness. Relax only after calculating all that can be reasonably calculated… and a little bit more. This is perhaps the greatest ability of a leader. Socrates put it very simply “man, know thyself”. Sun Tzu put it thus:
“The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.”
The Art of War
I am sure the reader knows of other abilities required for success, kindly drop yours in the comments section.
The Amateur Philosopher