Title

A Failure of Modern Leadership

Presenter Information

Ryan Tollackson

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Room 271

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

Leadership, Obligation, Virtue

Abstract

This presentation will examine Cicero’s and Machiavelli’s accounts of leadership in accordance with other texts regarding the production of leaders. The examination will show that our society falls victim to one form of leadership while ignoring the other, ultimately more desirable, form. Cicero’s model of leadership is contingent on an individual’s wisdom and virtuous qualities being at the forefront of the individual’s interaction in society. This being said, it is clear that power and prestigious standing within the society is not of greatest importance for Cicero; much to the contrary it is often a fault. In order to allow for this virtuous leadership to rise to the top of society, however, it is necessary that the surrounding society be just throughout. Using the ideas set forth in Plato’s Republic, we can see that a virtuous potential leader, if improperly nourished by unjust and self-interested society, will produce leadership of the variety discussed in Machiavelli’s The Prince. I argue that our society produces leadership in the Machiavellian sense, and ignores true, just leadership; given the parallels between our society and Cicero’s, I will discuss how to produce proper modern leadership.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Cubilie, Anne

Additional Mentoring Department

Douglas Honors College

Additional Mentoring Department

Douglas Honors College

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May 15th, 2:10 PM May 15th, 2:30 PM

A Failure of Modern Leadership

SURC Room 271

This presentation will examine Cicero’s and Machiavelli’s accounts of leadership in accordance with other texts regarding the production of leaders. The examination will show that our society falls victim to one form of leadership while ignoring the other, ultimately more desirable, form. Cicero’s model of leadership is contingent on an individual’s wisdom and virtuous qualities being at the forefront of the individual’s interaction in society. This being said, it is clear that power and prestigious standing within the society is not of greatest importance for Cicero; much to the contrary it is often a fault. In order to allow for this virtuous leadership to rise to the top of society, however, it is necessary that the surrounding society be just throughout. Using the ideas set forth in Plato’s Republic, we can see that a virtuous potential leader, if improperly nourished by unjust and self-interested society, will produce leadership of the variety discussed in Machiavelli’s The Prince. I argue that our society produces leadership in the Machiavellian sense, and ignores true, just leadership; given the parallels between our society and Cicero’s, I will discuss how to produce proper modern leadership.