Leadership in Literature

Hello Branding Cats,

We all love leaders, they inspire us, they create change, they create legends in their field. Leadership comes in many forms. Some leaders are agents of innovations; some experts in change and some lead by serving. It’s not the matter of why you lead, but more importantly of how you lead. A common string among those in that coven role is the relationship with their team. After all, what is a leader without a team?

In literature, there is one team builder who’s leadership is magical. For the last 50 years, the world has been captivated by the skills and wisdom of Gandalf the Grey.

Throughout the trilogy of the Lord of The Rings, and it’s two accompanied worksThe Hobbit and The Silmarillion, the wizard wandered the world, ensuring the safety of its creatures. However, when a great evil is poised to return with fury, he knows he can’t take it head on by himself. Proving to be the wisest, he sets out to develop a team of diamonds in the rough. Unlike a captain who tries to build a team around them, he trusted his team to do what was right (some can debate hefailed that quest).

Building a team is one thing, trusting them is another. Doing both is what makes Gandalf one of the most beloved wizards of all time and one of the best leaders in literature. He knew the challenge of facing the Lord of Mordor. He knew the temptation of the One Ring. But he knew he had to do something, and so set out to trust a mix of all the races to prevail. In both wars of the Third Age, Gandalf built his team of various races, maximizing their individual efforts.

Steve Jobs once said that a small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.It’s not because of the combined grade, but the individual efforts to make a team count. No matter if you’re an accounting department at a law firm, or a small group of entrepreneurs pouring your hearts into a startup, the point is to always go all in. Never learn the odds, that way you can beat them every time.


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