How to Motivate Leaders to be Great


How to Motivate Leaders to be Great

“Hi, Doc!”

“Oh, hello, Samuel.”

“Have you met our new school leader?”

“No, not as of yet: I am hoping he will make rounds to personally introduce himself to his staff before the common staff meeting. . ..”

“Yeah. That would be nice. I doubt it, though. Who does that these days?”

“A great man (or lady), that’s who. A great leader knows to checkout staff prior to making his or her formal introduction to the crowd.”


“Yes! Have you not heard of the “Great Man Theory”? The theory postulates a great leader is born to lead. She or he possesses the innate characteristics, you know–confidence, intelligence, charisma, and social skills to influence people. . .” (“Verywell Mind”).

“I do understand that “social skills” is important in leading people. . . A leader must be able to connect with many types of personalities, right?”

“Indeed. Also, “The Great Man Theory” posits that these leaders are sort of mythical characters–heroic, and destined to rise to leadership. . . (continued)

. . . I think of Alexander the Great as a great man: Do you remember learning about him during past studies? . . . Alexander was a remarkable man. Consider: He was vying to become king, Alexander had to critically think about how to untie the Gordian knot, which was an intricate boulder-like knot, twisted in braids, piled high and wide. . .(continued)

. . . Seeing that he could not possibly untie the knot with his bare hands, Alexander, with one swift blow of his sword, split the knot into rubbles. He unraveled the Gordian Knot, and spectators hailed him as a man with unique ideas, someone who would bring about change in his own way. The other wannabe leaders tried to untie the knot with their raw, strong, bare hands, to no avail, of course!” (Doc and Samuel laughed.) . . .

. . . Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is another example of a Great Man and was destined to rule, and he was a mythical being in the sense that he placed his life on the line—some Historians say— “purposely”— He ventured to change the world for civil rights, and he did. . . (continued)

. . . In his famous speech “I Have A Dream” and in his historical “Letter to a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King eloquently brought to life the gruesome wrongs planted on Blacks and directed change among the most rigid, immovable individuals in the world. Indeed, King and Alexander, respectively, are prime examples of “A Great Man.” . . . (continued)

. . . A Great Leader must be capable of making change in effective ways. He must be willing to illustrate that he makes policies for the good of his people, effortlessly. A great leader expects his followers to be loyal, and he in return would be their protector, as any great man would protect his family.”

“Well, from our school leader’s stoic appearance—true, I have not met him, yet, I saw him from afar—I could sense by the gait of his stride that he will be different, for he possesses a halo-like being.”

“The Great Man Theory supports a natural mien. You either got it or you don’t: In other words, if you are a great leader, Step-up to the platform. Stand straight. Position your words. Speak loudly. Set vision. Dare deniers. That’s a Great Man respected.

“Sounds a bit autocratic to me.”

“In a sense, yes. However, in a crisis, for instance, a great leader must be able to act expeditiously yet sometimes boldly when necessary, and sometimes a great leader must make examples out of other people for the sake of order among all: In this sense, yes, a great leader can be autocratic. . . (continued).

. . . Yet, embedded in his or her soul, the great leader possesses other leadership traits, too, that can often soften blows—SituationalTransformational, Behavioral, for examples. . . (continued).

. . . Ah, time is getting away. . . I must explain these other theories another time.”

“Of course, Doc. I look forward to it. I appreciate talking leadership ideas with you.” (Doc smiles.)

“In the meantime, Samuel, if you, yourself, wish to become a Great Leader, remember the following leadership strategies for a Great Man–or Lady:

(1) Listen to the inside voice that says, “Lead.” (Intuition)

(2) Know yourself. (Art of War)

(3) Look the part. (Mathews)

(4) Know your people’s strengths and weaknesses, and use their strengths. (Maxwell)

(5) Be vigilant to discern events in your house. (Leadership Literature)

(6) Listen. Yet make your own decisions. (Art of War)

(7) Reward publicly. People appreciate recognition. Sometimes, nevertheless, reprimand publicly. People fall in line when blasted people do not. (Art of War)

(8) Be compassionate. Be Harsh. Apply whatever the situation calls to settle the matter. (Art of War)

(9) Remember, in leadership, “It is better to be feared than to be loved.” (Machiavelli)

(10) Be A Great Man—or Lady. (“Great Man Theory”)

Cynthia Mathews (2020)



Published by cynthiamathews

I'm an innovative spirit, one who seeks new and practical ways to learn about life. I enjoy exploring innovative styles to motivate people to persevere in a challenging world. Having a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Curriculum & Instruction, I am inspired to maintain a life long learning experience that will allow me to share my knowledge with others. My expertise includes detecting apathy in individuals and prescribing ways to motivate them to be their best. To initiate this endeavor, I create and conduct personal and professional development programs. I write briefs and pamphlets and instructional guides to inspire, and I speak--upon request--to those who need a reminder of their inner excellence. My blog's main focus is to document my research on motivation and curriculum instruction and to share with subscribers the understanding, the ideas, and the strategies that result from my research. I am a native of Alabama, a teacher, and an author. I look forward to learning with you.