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 Five Ancient Principles of Leadership

Five Ancient Principles of Leadership

Marcus was a shipbuilder living in the ancient city of Athens, Greece. Ship building business was a profitable business there but the shortages of skilled labors made it difficult to compete in the market. Marcus had taken a contract from Mathis, the ship purchasing agent to build a ship but because of the shortage of labor, he was facing problem. When he told about this problem to his wife Aryaliss,she suggested him going to Barnbas who had an extra ordinary supply of skilled workers. Marcus doubted if Barnbas would help him since he was his competitor. 

  The next day as Marcus went to the dockyard where he was building the ship, Julius, his loyal and trusted foreman told him about the problem created due to the lack of timbers. Also there were only ten men working at the dock. So he went to the market where he happened to meet Barnbas accidentally. When Marcus explained the situation to Barnbas, he promised to meet the next day. They met at the same place the next day. Barnbas told Marcus that businesses fail because of the lack of leadership. Hence, he promised to teach Marcus the five ancient principles of leadership but on a condition. The condition was that Marcus had to apply them in practical life and he must help Barnbas if needed help after learning those principles to which Marcus agreed. Barnbas took out a box containing five clay tablets and opened the first tablet marked ‘Principal #1’ which said “Make them feel appreciated.”Then they separated making a commitment to meet the next week to learn the Principal #2 and to discuss the progress on Principal #1.

  However, Marcus was confused how to appreciate the workers as most of the time he felt like killing them. It was a hot day and Marcus bought some melons and distributed to the workers. He also praised them for their hard work and the effort they had shown upon him. This made them smile including his right hand, Julius. Marcus was able to apply the first principle successfully. The next day he was surprised to see that the workers had arrived and their number had increased from ten to eighteen. The following week, when Marcus met Barnbas, he informed how the application of the first law had increased the number of workers. But when he told about the mistakes that his co-workers made, Barnbas told that he should focus upon their strengths rather than the weaknesses. Upon this very law, the second principle was made which was “See their potential not their flaws.” To make him clear about it,Barnbas gave him a rough red stone and a ruby stone. Then he explained that mistakes are like the rough red rock which change into ruby when polished. Like a jeweler, who gives the red rough stone the shape of a beautiful ruby by polishing it, a leader takes mistakes as an opportunity for the growth of the workers by training them properly. Going back to the dockyard, he began to analyze the positive aspects of his co-workers. For him, Julius was a fine man who would own his own ship building business one day. He was determined to act as a leader as he wanted to bring out the best in his workers’ capacity. The other workers also realized this and started working even harder to please Marcus. Hence, the second law was also applied successfully.

      In the third meeting, Marcus informed Barnbas about the progress made by applying those laws as it was the proof that he was on the way of mastering those principles. Marcus wanted to know how Barnbas had learnt about those principles and Barnbas explained it narrating a past event. In the past, he had saved one of the wealthiest merchants from robbers .Hence, as a mark of thankfulness, he gave Barnbas those five small boxes containing those tablets of five principles of leadership. By applying those principles Barnbas was able to reach that height of success.

    Thereafter, Barnbas opened the tablet number three containing the principle “Lead with authority not power.”But Marcus was confused between power and authority. So Barnbas explained that forceful imposition of something upon someone is power while people agreeing to work together based on our wishes and requests was authority. However, Marcus had difficulty in applying the third principle as his workers were not loyal to him. So he handed over Marcus the fourth principle which said “Love them first.”This love was not any superficial love but the one that is given from the bottom of the heart. This helps them feel appreciated, develop their potentiality and thus, makes it easier for us to apply our authority over them. In fact, all these principles are related to each other.

     The deadline was approaching when Mathis came to visit Marcus reminding him that no extension would be given. The ship was taking a concrete form and it had become the talk of the town. But to Marcus’ bad luck, it started raining and didn’t stop for a whole week. In the new week, Marcus told his workers about the urgency of the situation and they did their best to get it done on time. Then Marcus was taught about the last principle which said “Make them feel they are part of something special.”If the workers are made to feel this the miracles can be created.

    Because of the approaching deadline, the team started working from morning to evening. Two days before the deadline, Marcus went to the workers and thanked them for their sincere efforts with tears in his eyes. At that time Julius was not there but as the darkness fell, he appeared with women, children and workers taking torches and lantern so that the work could be carried out the whole night. Marcus’ wife supervised the torch bearers and also prepared meal for them. On the final day, there were more than hundred people working together.

       Mathis appeared with inspectors and investigators who checked the ship and gave their approval. There appeared Barnbas also whose presence made Marcus fully astonished. He was more surprised when he knew that the order of the ship was given none other than by Barnbas himself. Then Marcus asked if it was Barnbas who had ordered the ship, why he didn’t give an extension. Barnbas told that it was because it was the contract of building a man not a ship. Two days later. Marcus went to Barnbas’ home where he was handed over the box that contained those five principles. Based on the agreement that Marcus should help Barnbas after learning those principles, he told Marcus to teach those laws to other people which Marcus accepted happily. 

Sandeep Kattel

Blog Writer

Sandeep Kattel is a Lecturer of English at various collleges in Nepal .He has been writing stories for a long time, but he started publishing them only recently.He is also working on his two books - Family Cafe, which is a novel and another book Defying Odds Optimizing Caliber ,which is a motivational book.He is interested in writing short stories related to contemporary issues.

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