‘Leadership’ is a single word. At deeper levels, leadership is a harmonious blend of specific traits – vision, analytical skill, decision-making ability, self-control, self inspection and dynamic personality – which are needed to achieve excellence. A leader who lacks these distinctive traits cannot claim to have leadership quality. He can better be referred to as Macbeth, one of the Shakespearean tragic heroes. Macbeth’s character is a timeless model of leadership but with deadly drawbacks. Macbeth is an edifying study on the consequences that the lack of essential leadership qualities bring in, for today’s emerging leaders who are career aspirants with an overwhelming desire to achieve excellence.
A leader should not easily be influenced by others. He must have analytic bent of mind that helps take each and every step with discretion. He can listen to others, but should not allow them to influence him thought and action like a spell, if it is something beyond possibility or sounds negative. Macbeth’s thought is influenced his over ambition and his actions are influenced by the witches whose unnatural predictions drive him to the wrong way. By means of analytical skills, leaders can take the right action.
Vision or foresight or insight into future is one of the distinguished traits of leadership. Macbeth despite being a leader lacks this quality, which conspires with his other shortcomings to bring down his downfall. Vision helps foresee the results of a decision taken. A leader is a decision maker as well. The decision he takes is supposed to be an informed one, when he can foresee by means of his visionary power that the decision will help achieve the targeted results or goals.
When Macbeth decides to murder Duncan the king of Scotland so that he can sit on the throne, he turns blind to the grim future consequences of his wicked action under the influence of over ambition. A leader with the overall responsibility of an organization on his shoulders should weigh the pros and cons of every decision he takes. A single decision can pull the organization down or take it to dizzying heights of excellence.
A leader is a complete personality with both sides – hard and soft. He is authoritative on one hand and caring on the other. By means of his authority, he directs manpower below him in the hierarchical order of the organization. Exercising authority on subordinates does not mean barbaric indulgence which Macbeth practices in order to keep his sovereign power intact. The leader should be soft and caring enough to earn the trust and confidence of his subordinates.
After Duncan’s murder, Macbeth wears the royal crown and becomes king. Instead of winning the support of his subordinates by being caring towards them, he destroys the peace of the state in order to ensure his own safety. It is one of the greatest chinks in his armor which drives the last nail on his coffin. After all it is unity that brings in strength to achieve excellence.