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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Emperor Trajan & 3 Things To Look For in Candidates for Leadership

In his book “The Effective Executive,” Peter Drucker makes the statement that, “An organization that is not capable of perpetuating itself has failed. Therefore, an organization must provide today the individuals who can lead it tomorrow.”

Distinguishing good leadership from bad leadership involves various aspects, but one crucial and often underestimated factor is a leader’s ability to cultivate leadership within their tam members and subordinates.

To help you facilitate the development of leadership among your subordinates, consider these three points:

  1. Identify Those Who Want to Contribute.
    Trajan, who reigned as the Empire of Rome from 98-117 A.D, is remembered as one of Rome’s greatest emperors due to his expansion of Rome’s territory and his immense public infrastructure projects. Trajan’s decision to adopt Hadrian as his successor was influenced by Hadrian’s administrative prowess. The vast expansion of the Empire in terms of territory, population, and economy necessitated a higher threshold of administrative expertise. Trajan entrusted Hadrian with many of these responsibilities in order to help ensure the growing empire’s success and stability.

    Leaders will often promote individuals either due to their perceived lack of weaknesses or because they have followed the leader without offering any challenges. This is a grave mistake. Trajan didn’t select leaders based on their lack of weakness or their unquestioning obedience, rather, he chose individuals who offered ideas for the sake of the Empire’s success.

  2. Look for Those Who Can Learn and Adapt.
    Before he began his work in helping Emperor Trajan with the administration of the of the Empire, Hadrian demonstrated his capabilities as a military leader by commanding the legions in Lower Pannonia and Dacia. Furthermore, he governed provinces in Syria where he was able to showcase his diplomatic skills at management and diplomacy and foster valuable relationships with local tribes and military leaders.

    The U.S. Marine Corps places a high value on the ability to “adapt and overcome.” Marines that can easily assess a situation, recognize evolving situations, and adjust their strategies to more quickly and efficiently accomplish the mission are more likely to climb the ranks of leadership that those who can’t. It is important to identify people who can prevent themselves from getting bogged down by current circumstance or who are otherwise oblivious to the needs of adjusting.
  3. Find People Who Can Prioritize Efficiently.
    During Emperor Trajan’s rein, a Jewish uprising in the province of Egypt became a matter of urgency for the stabilization of the empire. While Trajan stayed focused on campaigns in the east, he sent Hadrian to put down the rebellion in Egypt. Hadrian’s strategic decision making highlighted his ability to prioritize what needed to be done in order to stabilize the region.

    First, Hadrian understood that in order to suppress a military rebellion, he would need to march an overwhelming number of soldiers into Egypt to demonstrate an impressive show of force that would immediately compel the rebels to rethink their actions. Second, Hadrian comprehended the need t open lines of communication and negotiation with rebels. Finally, Hadrian recognized the necessity of stabilizing the region and restoring a sense of governance and administrative normalcy. All these efforts aimed to ensure the continuity of grain exports, which played a pivotal role in supplying the empire with food.

    The ability to prioritize essential tasks was paramount. Many, if not most, people become lost in the various possibilities of what can be done to solve a problem, but they don’t quite grasp the insights and wisdom crucial for discerning what must be done and in what order to do it. Steve Jobs once said, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” Often, arriving at the right decisions involves the ability to discern what tasks must be done now and what tasks can wait till later.




    This article was not AI generated
Paul Curtman is a veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps, an author, conference speaker, and statesman. For nearly 20 years, Paul has helped lead and develop leaders in the United States military, public service sectors, and business. Paul is a strong advocate for personal and economic freedom as well as the strength and integrity of the free market system. He is a Fellow at Club for Growth in Washington D.C. and currently lives in Missouri with his wife, Ruth, and their four children.

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