Characteristic of a leader by Plutarch: A reflection on Alexander the Great - outline
Thesis: Although Alexander the Great took his father’s throne at quite a tender edge, he
shown great leadership traits during his reign, which confirm that he is one of the greatest
leaders of all times.
Characteristics of leadership from Alexander the Great
❖ Having a compelling vision.
❖ Commitment to his vision and mission.
❖ Courageousness is another major trait of great leaders.
❖ Another trait is walking the talk, taking action rather than only giving directions.
❖ Apart from that, he encouraged and rewarded innovation among his followers.
❖ Another trait is building a strong and committed team.
❖ Caring and supporting his people and followers is another major trait.
Characteristic of a leader by Plutarch: A reflection on Alexander the Great
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CHARACTERISTIC OF A LEADER BY PLUTARCH: A REFLECTION ON
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Leadership is a subjective term that can be defined in various ways. According to
Dwight D. Eisenhower, leadership is defined as the art of making someone do something you
want done because he also wants to do it. In this regard, a good leader should not force his
subjects to do things that they do not want to do (Hamilton & Stadter, 1999). Leadership can
therefore bring out a variety of images like a political leader whose aim is to pursue a
passion. It can also bring out an explorer whose aim is lead the other members of his group or
even an executive whose aim is to come up with the company’s strategy therefore beating the
competition. Many scholars as well as researchers have studied the aspect of leadership and
several theories have come up. In addition, different authors have written about leaders and
their achievements (Plutarchus, Dryden & Clough, 2004). One of these authors is Lucius
Mestrius Plutarch who was a Greek essayist and biographer. Plutarch wrote about several
leaders like Theseus, Timoleon, Pyrrhus, Caesar, Marcus Brutus and many others
(Plutarchus, Dryden & Clough, 2004). In addition, Plutarch gives his readers the
characteristics of these leaders as well as their virtues and personal attributes (Plutarchus,
Dryden & Clough, 2004). Alexander the great is one of the great leaders that have ever lived
and Plutarch wrote about him. His various achievements, characteristics as well as failures
will be analyzed in this essay.
Alexander the Great was born in Pella region on July 20, 356 B.C. at the Ancient
Greek kingdom of Macedonia. His parents were King Philip II and Queen Olympia who was
King Neoptolemus daughter (Plutarchus, Dryden & Clough, 2004). Alexander the great had a
sister and they were raised together in the Pella’s royal court. However, he did not have
much contact with his father since his father spent most of his time engaged in both military
as well as extra –marital affairs (Hamilton & Stadter, 1999). As a result, Alexander grew up
philandering and resenting his father’s absence despite Olympia trying as much as she could
to be a good role model to him. Alexander got his education under tutelage of Leonidas of
Epirus who was his relative. He taught him archery, math and horsemanship. His next tutor
was Lysimachus (Plutarchus, Dryden & Clough, 2004). At around 343 B.C., Aristotle was
hired to teach Alexander drama, philosophy, politics, science as well as poetry. He later
completed his education in 340 B.C in Meiza. In 336 B.C., Alexander’s father was murdered
during the festival that followed after the wedding of Alexander’s sister. By this time,
Alexander was only nineteen years and he had a big determination of seizing the throne.
Consequently, he garnered the army of Macedonia which proclaimed Alexander as the king.
In addition, the army helped him murder other potential heirs (Adams, 2005). As a result,
Alexander the Great became the feudal king of Macedonia. During his reign, Alexander the
Great ruled well and some of his character traits are still evident even to date. This essay
outlines leadership traits as exhibited by Alexander the Great during his reign, and arguments
to show that he is one of the greatest leaders of all times.
2. Characteristics of a leader from the life of Alexander the Great
One of the characters of a great leader as outlined by Plutarch in consideration of
Alexander the Great is having a compelling vision. According to Plutarch, Alexander was
very strategic in crafting his vision and missions (Plutarchus, Dryden & Clough, 2004). After
their formulation, he would become very obsessed with the mission something that drove his
followers to follow suit. He had clear communication to his followers of what he wanted in
life and through his rhetoric and dramatic gesture he was able to win all his followers to
support his ambitions and plans (Hamilton & Stadter, 1999). This way, he was able to win all
of his battles, starting from the one he represented his father at the age of sixteen years. He
had strong belief in his visions, which made him suffer walking lengthy distances without
water and food in search of conquests. Although his father was also an excellent leader and
executor of plans and strategies, Alexander thought of his father as being selfish,
accomplishing great things and leaving little for him to execute (Plutarchus, Dryden &
Clough, 2004). This steered him upon getting the throne to extend his territory Far East and
South in search of new conquests and to extend his territory. This was his major vision, to
have a big and extensive territory across Asia and North Africa (Plutarchus, Dryden &
Clough, 2004). By having a strong vision, he was able to convince his followers and citizens
to buy his plans and strategies, hence moving together in one accord. This together with a
strong army enabled him to win all of his battles.
Another great character of Alexander is commitment. According to Plutarch,
Alexander the Great was so committed to achieving his set goals. As a boy, Alexander was
taught so many lessons like poetry, drama and archery. He learnt this under the supervision of
great tutors like Aristotle who was a scientist and a philosopher (Adams, 2005). This enabled
him become a better thinker as well as a better commander and soldier. He lay out his
strategies well which ked to him winning several battles. In addition to this, Alexander the
Great built a dedicated team of soldiers whose main aim and agenda was winning the battles
(Plutarchus, Dryden & Clough, 2004). As a good leader, one should not be insecure and
afraid that his juniors might overpower him (Hamilton & Stadter, 1999). In this regard,
Alexander the great allowed his generals to build on their strengths just like a good leader
According to Plutarch, Alexander the great was also courageous. As a good leader,
being courageous ids one of the important traits that one must possess. Alexander the Great’s
courage was displayed from his childhood (Plutarchus, Dryden & Clough, 2004). By the age
of twelve, this great king tamed a horse that had been considered too wild to tame by the
skilled horsemen. He named that particular horse Bucephalus and it accompanied him all his
entire life. In addition, Alexander as a king inspired his soldiers at a close and side by side
(Adams, 2005). He was leading them into battles and even took the front lines. He constantly
won most of the battles despite being injured several times. His courage enabled him to
overcome the discouragements he received from his enemies as well as adversities. His
courage was shown through his quotes like “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a
sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a Lion (Plutarchus, Dryden & Clough, 2004).”
This mean that this great king did not fear going to battle because he considered his ...