“Anytus and Melitus may put me to death: to injure me is beyond their power.” Socrates
Epictetus, in his discourses, used the quote above from Socrates. As I write about lieutenants and loyalty, I will like to use the quote as well. A loyal lieutenant would be one who is fearless, even in the face of death; not out of recklessness, but because they consider death as no harm, and that it is not in the power of man when it does occur. There is no excuse for disloyalty. Que sera sera!
“The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.”
As leaders begin to rise in life, they begin to recruit lieutenants. Some of these lieutenants fall along the way, but few make it to the top with their bosses. Those that fall along the way usually do so because of disloyalty. Seeds of disloyalty are usually planted by the enemies of the boss, who know that one of the ways to hit at someone is to plant fifth columnists within their camps. Those destined for the top however, will make it despite treachery. It’s usually the loss of the treacherous lieutenants as the boss may get bruised a bit, but ascendancy is assured for those with extraordinary capacity. Lieutenants who remain loyal to their bosses till the end usually become greater than the boss, as great, or almost as great; but for sure they never remain ordinary.
Some stories like that of Elijah and Elisha in the Bible (2 Kings 2:1-17), illustrate how lieutenants who remain loyal to the end usually excel. When Elijah bade Elisha to wait, Elisha insisted on remaining loyal, and got double of what Elijah had. Same goes for the story of Joseph. The same story of Elisha, also describes how lieutenants who do not remain loyal, end in shame; as exemplified by Elisha’s servant – Gehazi.
Because life is war, and part of war strategy is espionage, lieutenants are usually targeted by enemies. Some fall into this temptation. Leaders must look out for this, but in any case, leaders with extraordinary capacity and destined to excel will not be stopped by corrupt lieutenants. They may suffer some bruises, but that would be all. Now, when we say lieutenants will usually surpass their masters, we are referring to the loyal ones and not the corrupted.
“He arranged his most devoted followers around him both as personal bodyguard and an iron inner circle made up of warriors upon whom he could rely unquestioningly. This was a MERITOCRATIC SYSTEM where ability and loyalty were more important than tribal background or shared kinship with the leader.”
Excerpt from: Peter Frankopan. The Silk Roads. A New History of the World. https://andeelishaphilosophy.com/meritocracy-leadership-part-3-with-socrates-genghis-khan-and-frankopan/
Loyal lieutenants usually suffer a lot of attacks, as exemplified by the stories of both Elisha and Joseph. Elisha suffered ridicule from the sons of the prophets; this means he suffered from persons who were meant to be like brothers to him. This is a lesson to all lieutenants, that not all persons they work with share the vision of the boss or give their full allegiance. In Joseph’s case, he suffered several set ups, with the first being from his brothers, who sat down to eat bread after selling him into slavery. Again this is a lesson to loyal lieutenants, you must watch and remain alert even from those closest to you. In both cases despite the set up Elisha and Joseph excelled greatly eventually. This is almost always the case with loyal lieutenants. Loyalty pays.
Indeed, we know about Socrates today because of a most Loyal Lieutenant, Plato; who never wrote anything of his own, but that of his Principal, Socrates! One may be tempted to ask, whose lieutenant then, was Socrates, that he made such gripping statement as in the opening quote of this piece? Socrates was a loyal lieutenant of wisdom, truth and justice; and remained so to the end, even in the face of death. See for yourself how great he became!
See related article: http://andeelishaphilosophy.com/reward-and-punishment-considerations-for-success-7/
The Amateur Philosopher