Essay on Personal Character in an Ancient Greek Leader

Published: 2021/12/02
Number of words: 2182


A composite leader is a person who has a strong lead character and possesses all the desirable qualities of a good boss. A composite leader in ancient Greece treated his soldiers well while also handling difficulties with great integrity and expertise. For a leader to be deemed excellent, he had to have high ethical and moral ideals and the capacity to uphold them. Through his personality and deeds, he’d also be put to the test. Leadership lessons may be learned from the ancient Greeks. Some of the traits ancient Greek leaders exhibited while serving are described in the writings of Hesiod, Homer, and Sophocles (Anhalt, 2017). They may design a leader who fits within the ideal Greek service leader through the leaders. Therefore, this paper seeks to discuss the lessons ancient greeks teach us about the importance of personal character in leadership.

Qualities desired by Ancient Greek in a good leader.

One must first get familiar with the traits expected of Greek leaders to comprehend ancient Greek leaders fully. As a result, the ideal leader would have these qualities: a strong sense of conviction, the ability to address problems democratically, and the willingness to take risks. The following sections go into great depth on each of these attributes. The Ancient Greeks aspired to be led by someone perfect because they could respect those he taught and give them in return. This means that the leader had to behave and act the same way he would like his followers to; that is, the person was meant to lead by example.

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A competent leader was meant to be well-versed in the subject matter and capable of effectively communicating instructions and directives. Essentially, this implies that the person should have the ability to give clear, concise directions on how things should be done and how they shouldn’t be done (Nancy Papalexandris, 2012). There should be no barriers between the leader and those who report to them. A good leader should be able to tell what is best for their followers. A competent leader should be able to provide their people opportunities to express themselves to keep them happy.

The leader must adhere to a strict religious code. They owe respect to the gods since they are regarded as the ultimate authorities. The gods and goddesses that defined Greek religion were many. The gods and goddesses ruled over all of nature in Greek mythology. Earth Mother was the earth and the source of grain, Apollo was the sun and the source of light, and Poseidon, who dwelt in the seas, was the seas’ ruler (Anhalt, 2017). To ensure his people’s prosperity and well-being, the leader had to respect all of these deities.

The leader had to lead a force to victory while also knowing when military action was not required. The military’s primary purpose is to defend the country from its adversaries; therefore, for a commander to be considered excellent, they must exhibit warrior qualities and thus secure the country’s safety. Wartime leaders made sure that their armies were well-trained, had all the characteristics of a victorious warrior, and had all the weaponry they would need to combat the intruders.

Oedipus (Sophocles)

Oedipus appears to be cocky and self-assured in this scene. He had a great deal of allegiance to the people as well as his realm. He became well-known due to his bravery and skill to free Thebes from the grip of the Sphinx. He, too, was filled with pride. Oedipus was known to move swiftly in all of his endeavours. He was a man of such character that he couldn’t endure injustice without doing something about it. He has a keen awareness of the surrounding conditions at all times (Madha Dwi Aji Putra, 2019). His work ethic and dedication show that he is a busy individual with good comprehension abilities. Oedipus was a kind man with fair and reasonable judgment. He leads the genuine character via his honesty, care for others, and behaviour, all as described by Sophocles.

Cronus (Hesiod)

When the Titans initially emerged as a race, this was their most promising young leader. He was a king at a time of prosperity and long life, free of heartaches and worries. He was a farmer who genuinely enjoyed his work in the field. People never went hungry under his rule as a result of this policy. During the golden period, there was plenty to go around. He was a murderer and a hater, all at the same time. Out of spite, he put the Hecatoncheires and the Cyclopes in prison. He assassinated his father to seize control of the throne and establish himself as the legitimate heir. His ancestors had predicted that his son would usurp the kingdom, so he ate his offspring when they were born to protect it (Vezir, 2019). He wanted to be a leader yet didn’t want to be led, so he exploited his authority to abuse anyone who may succeed him. To prevent the fulfilment of the prophecy, he killed all of his children, swallowing them whole. This leadership attribute may be observed in his assassination of those who were qualified for leadership positions and imprisonment of those he could not. He was determined to become a leader despite all that was thrown at him. We may deduce from this leader’s performance that ineffective leadership results in lower efficiency. To satisfy the demands of their followers, a leader should be accessible.

Odysseus (Homer)

As Homer describes him in The Iliad, Odysseus was a renowned Greek general and warrior. When it came to problem-solving, he did a fantastic job. During the Trojan War, he played a crucial role in bringing out the best in his character. Odysseus instructed Achilles to treat the men properly instead of killing them by providing them with food and rest (Liang*, 2017). He put up a plan to put a stop to the senseless deaths. When it came to diplomacy and authority, he had all three in spades. Odysseus’ problem-solving skills are on the whole show throughout Homer’s Iliad. In the Greek army, Agamemnon, for instance, brought peace anytime he provoked problems.

Achilles (Euripides)

Achilles possessed a strong sense of self-worth. Achilles is depicted in Iliad as a role model for leaders. The Greeks anticipated a person they could rely on in trying circumstances, and that’s what they got. It took all of his guts to stand up to the Trojans, and he did it repeatedly on the battlefield. Despite his boldness, strength, and willpower, he refused to budge from his convictions. Achilles beheaded Hector as a form of vengeance for Patroclus’ death (T_Scanlon, 2018). Achilles showed his heroism by bringing Hector’s body to Priam after slaying him. He was enraged. He made a threat to throw his opponents to the wolves if they didn’t submit.

Zeus (Hesiod)

He was Cronus’s sixth child, but he was spared because his mother concealed him and raised him by nymphs. Preparing him a drink and making him vomit them out rescued him from his father, and his brother’s fates were sealed. He has the qualities of a hero when he frees the prisoners Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires to aid him in his battle with the Titans, where he triumphs. His descriptions of the ancient Greek gods, written by Hesiod, portray Zeus as a democratic king (Anhalt, 2017). He respects others as well. He was clever, as evidenced by the fact that he prevailed in his conflict with his adversary. He also confronted and defeated the evil force determined to topple him. He ascended to the throne after toppling his father from it. He wanted to create a living, breathing humans who looked like them to live on earth.

As soon as these beings were born, he instructed the Titanian sons to shower them with presents in the hopes that they would grow into something entertaining that would pique the gods’ curiosity. He abandoned humanity because he was envious, leaving them without weapons to defend themselves and no fire to keep them warm. When Prometheus saw what had happened to the humans, he gave them his gifts to signify his affection. It was his idea to steal the power of reason and use it to warm them. He took on the role of guardian for them and imparted the information he had amassed to them (Anhalt, 2017). When Zeus saw this, he was enraged. The fire was reserved for the gods, and he didn’t want the human race to resemble them. Thus, Zeus decided to punish Prometheus severely. So he tied him and banished him to a remote location where an eagle could feast on his liver every day for thirty years, and his liver would regenerate itself. This exemplified his callousness and avarice toward the human species.

Priam (Homer)

Priam had a lot going for him that the Greeks would have adored. His devotion to his family and the kingdom was apparent. Loyalty to one’s country and one’s duty were highly regarded virtues in ancient Greece. When he learned that Helen had visited Troy, he never sent his son Paris back (Alexander, 2018). He honoured the gods by entering Achilles’ tent and retrieving Hector’s body. He was kind and ready to show mercy to even his most heinous adversaries. His deep devotion to his family and the people he served was evident in the countless sacrifices he made to keep them safe from harm.

Lessons Learnt from the Leadership Skills of the Greek Characters

To win a battle, leaders must project a certain amount of bravery. Leaders who have the qualities of courage and tenacity are the most likely winners in any conflict. These leaders are also intelligent since they are highly organized and constantly aware of what it takes to win. Leaders must continuously aim to be successful (T_Scanlon, 2018). This may be observed in the way individuals behave selfishly, such as when they murder one another to get an advantage over others. People with these characteristics have little regard for the consequences of their actions or for the people they harm. They, on the other hand, are solely interested in what’s best for them.

Leaders should be at the fore of decision-making, as they should be self-aware. They shouldn’t blindly follow the herd because it is usually wrong, but rather make judgments based on thoughtful consideration. They are in charge of instilling excellent character in their charges. Leaders’ efficacy will be called into doubt if, for example, they are corrupt because the bulk of the population is corrupt. Good leaders should have the courage of Socrates, who was willing to die rather than act against his moral convictions.

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Successful leaders have credibility and respectability on their side. These are the leaders who lead by example, providing society with what is proper for them. As a result, they are respected and treated fairly (Alexander, 2018). They have a high level of integrity as a leader, which leads to their success. Leaders must be self-reliant as well as giving. They are self-sufficient and provide whatever their allies require. Instead of beggars, they should be seen as possessing just those goods that are difficult for the rest of the community to obtain. Leaders must be devoted to upholding peace, love, and unity at any cost (Liang*, 2017). This is critical because openness promotes productivity since it shows things and circumstances for what they are. There is no exaggeration in that if items are terrible, people can carry out their obligations to make the situation better, and if things are good, they also work hard to keep it.


Individual personalities have a significant impact on a leader’s abilities. Leadership in any community is successful when people provide it with good characteristics that can be accepted. Leaders are expected to set an example for their followers by acting in a way they would like their allies to work or by treating them in a way they would like their followers to treat them.


Alexander, C. (2018, April 27th). What Homer’s Iliad can tell us about worship and war. Retrieved from Culture:

Anhalt, E. (2017, October 16th). Ancient Greek wisdom for today’s leadership crisis. Retrieved from The Conversation:

Liang*, M. (2017). The Making of Odysseus the Hero in Homer’s Odyssey. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 1-7.

Madha Dwi Aji Putra, M. J. (2019). Victory in Tragic Ending: Analysis of Sophocles’ Oedipus The King. Journal of Literature, Linguistics and Cultural Studies, 1-7.

Nancy Papalexandris, E. G. (2012). Connecting Desired Leadership Styles with Ancient Greek Philosophy: Results from the Globe Research in Greece, 1995–2010. Leadership through the Classics , 339-350.

T_Scanlon. (2018, March 26th). Achilles and the Apobates Race in Euripides’ Iphigeneia in Aulis. Retrieved from Classical inquiries:


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