This is a book about Leadership, with a specific emphasis on how leaders can be inspired by the thoughts of notable philosophers and thinkers on various topics connected more or less directly with their field of activity.
Leaders are, in all priority, leaders of people, which means that matters of human experience, human behaviour and human relations are essential to their trade. So, the reader should not be surprised that a majority of the quotations presented in this book address the question of the human factor. Who are we? What is the meaning of life? Is there a purpose to life and also, of course, the whole issue of ethics: how should we behave, what ought we or ought we not to do? These are some of the essential questions that we shall discuss in this book.
Empathy, as it is well known, is a critical leadership key success factor. But to empathize, to feel and care for others, we need to understand what goes on with them, what their needs are, what they love and what they fear. And this knowledge can only be achieved as a projection onto others of what we feel ourselves. As humans, we are mirror images of each other, at least with regard to the essential aspects of our being. For leaders to empathize with their followers and business partners, they need to start by understanding and knowing themselves. ‘Know thyself’, said the great Socrates, which implies that by knowing ourselves we can then know others, by sheer identification with them. Hence, by increasing their understanding of the essentials of life and people, leaders will grow wiser in dealing with their fellow humans and hopefully develop into role models for their followers.
This book, however, is not limited to exploring the human factor alone. It also provides wise thoughts and advice about dealing with many situations and challenges encountered in our personal and professional lives. By dwelling on these issues, leaders will be likely to learn how to improve their professional practice and enhance their performance altogether.