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The Right Hand Of The Hegemon

On January 12, 2010, in Leadership Impact, by Neculai Fantanaru

A leader has absolute need of a “right hand” and under no circumstances of a “left leg” to throw him difficulties in the way.

A brave man, named Dorieus, presented before Dionysius, the ship captain of Phocaea. Dorieus was an extraordinary warrior, who could face four or even five soldiers at once and score a victory. Fearless, he always launched forth in the battle only for the sake of fighting. He was a feared fighter. But he did not have leadership skills. That is why he insisted to serve Dionysius, in order to fight against the Persians.

Dionysius asked him:

- Why do you offer yourself to serve me, a poor captain, who does not even have a gold bracelet on his hand, who fights only for the glory of his city and his own?

Dorieus knew that Dionysius was a fierce and severe man, who often forced his crew to row to exhaustion and who, hypnotized by his own ambition, was ready to fight to the last soldier. He replied:

- If I ask you to receive me in your crew, I do it only to respect my principles of fighting. Paid or unpaid, I would rather fight on a boat with rowers who comply with the orders of their captain than on one where the crew select or reject its captain wherever the wind may blow. I think you are the only appropriate captain for a naval battle with the Persians.

Can you "push" the entire force of people to the square of your leadership?

Dorieus, the most skilled and feared fighter of that time, was able to foresee who would win and who would lose in the battle with the Persians. He immediately realized that Dionysius was a very ambitious man by nature, who knew how to use the force of his united crew and how to engage in a battle. He would not have tried to join him if he had been a coward without strength and a firm determination and, especially, if he had not had an enlightened mind.

Invincibility, as well as vulnerability of a crew depends on its captain. Dionysius, in his turn, was such a brave captain, that he would have given his life for any of his men, even if he was very strict with them and often forced them to work until exhaustion.

He was the kind of leader who never says to people: “I hope I will win this battle”, but on a tone of abiding certainty: “We will win this battle”. He was so sure of his victory, of his leadership skills, that he inspired courage and trust to everyone, inspiring that impressive force that people need to consider themselves insurmountable.

The fate of a battle does not depend on the people’s numbers, but on their qualities

True powerful people always want to come out winners or to join the winner’s sect. Dorieus was such a man. He wanted to fight against the Persians – his archenemies, but he needed a driving force.

So he allied Dionysius, immediately becoming his right hand. Together, they fought in several battles, always acting in tandem. Dionysius was a great navigator, an excellent captain and the driving force supplying the necessary energy for success, but not at all a fantastic fighter like Dorieus. In his turn, Dorieus, through his exceptional fighting qualities, was Dionysius’ pillar and his solid foundation, giving him an additional safety reason to fight the Persians, helping them to endure and prevail.

The need of a reliable right hand

No leader, no matter how skilled, brave and well organized, would be able to carry out his plans without an aid and a reliable right hand by his side, ready to intervene when situations gets difficult, who would step in to fill up the gaps and add value.

Consequently, he who wants to rise more above people and achieve his goals will have to seek a right hand to follow him willingly and always be there for him, especially when going on beaten paths.

Conclusion: A leader must always appoint an assistant or a stand-in-man for when he is temporarily absent or unable to exercise his powers (currently, this requirement is specified in various regulations and laws).

This stand-in-man should be chosen to continue the leader’s strategy or policy, but at the same time, they both must have converging interests. If differences emerge between them, they will cause the destabilization of the team and alteration of their cohesion.

Therefore, a leader has absolute need of a “right hand” and under no circumstances of a “left leg” to throw him difficulties in the way.

* Note: Mika Waltari - Turms, Kuolematon, editura Polirom, 2002.


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