Ideas in Antiquity--Leadership in the Ancient World: From Telemachus to T'Challa

Week One: Introduction

NOTE: All assignments are to be completed by class time on the day they are assigned. All written assignments should be recorded in your weekly journal entry.

Session One (Tuesday): What is leadership?

In this class we will introduce the ancient and modern works we will be studying in order to better understand what leadership is and to figure out how to better practice it. We will talk about the importance of speaking up and calling a meeting. We will talk about what it is that people do to get others to listen to them and take them seriously. And we will discover that one of the most basic attributes of power, the scepter (in ancient Greek, skēptron) is not a magic wand or a club but rather a walking stick, carried by a messenger who has been on a journey and has something that the community needs to hear (for more on this see Émile Benveniste's Indo-European Language and Society, Chapter Three: Hellenic Kingship.)

Session Two (Thursday): How should we study leadership? What can we do to become better leaders?

Assignment (to be completed before class): Make a list of five behaviors (other than speaking up and calling meetings, see above under Session One) that you believe leaders regularly engage in. Then make a list of five behaviors that you believe non-leaders regularly engage in. Now explain at least one way in which someone who does not engage in the leadership behaviors you identified can become better at engaging in them. 

Assignment (to be completed before class): For each of the following behaviors identify whether you find them very difficult, difficult, neutral, easy, very easy:

speaking up about an issue that is important to the group/community
persuading others to do something that would be to their benefit
modelling good behavior
calling out bad behavior
coming up with a solution to a complicated problem
working with others to come up with a solution to a complicated problem
praising others for their good deeds and behavior
figuring out how other people feel about something 
figuring out how you feel about something
modifying your emotional and psychological states to become what the situation calls for
thinking about the interests and well being of others over your own