The core of LIFE Leadership is a voice and that voice of leadership is spreading in the world today. Just as listening, reading, and speaking was used in past history to spread information, those same mediums are used through LIFE Leadership subscriptions today. The intention is to spread leadership principles in our personal and professional lives. From there we influence our communities and make a difference. We can study those Leaders who used their voices to make a difference in their times. For example, leaders in the past have warned about the violations to the principles of freedom. They knew that if violations to the principles of freedom were present it would effect their personal lives and even the prosperity of a civilization. We can see that in effect today, as nations that apply certain principles are freer and more prosperous. This effects people’s level of autonomy or independence. It’s called the “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. Violations to the principles of freedom are like poison to the water. When someone poisons the water the fish are the last to find out and that is why a leader’s voice has always been critical to the preservation of freedom. It’s not enough just to warn. It is more important to educate. That is why a leadership development system is needed in the world today.
Great leaders of the past have warned and educated people. I’ve been fortunate to develop a hunger to learn about past history because of my exposure to the LIFE Leadership subscriptions. I’ve not only learned from past leaders but began to feel a greater appreciation to what they stood for and how they made a difference. There are several leaders I would like to recognize for their ability to stand up for the principles of freedom and make a difference during their time.
Elijah was a prophet found in the Bible who lived in a time of political and moral collapse. It was said that the political leader of his time, Ahab was the most evil king of Israel. The leadership characteristics that stand out about Elijah are his single – minded commitment. He stepped forward and confronted wrong behavior. Because he went against the popular opinions of his day, his personal safety was in jeopardy. He even went into isolation for his protection. However, he demonstrated the ability to manage his emotions and even through he was fearful, went into action because leaders work through fear and failure.
Demosthenes 384 – 322 BC was known as one of the greatest voices for freedom during a time when Philip II of Macedon was amassing a large military force with ambitions of world dominance. Cicero said of him, “He stands alone among all orators.” He devoted his years to opposing Philip’s expansion of Macedon and the preservation of his city’s freedom. His general principles for freedom were recognizing the importance of Athens’ navy, forming strong alliances, and natural honor. He was disturbed that local politicians were selling their state’s to Philip. His famous eternal cry for Freedom, “We must unite or perish” was heard in all his speeches as a warning of the impending doom to the glory that was Greece.
The decay of political character and economic instability of the Roman Empire led to the rise of one of most studied voices of leadership throughout history, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Cicero warned that at no other time were the conditions in Rome so heavily involved in debt. Because of the deteriorating economic conditions, the majority of voters were largely for sale and corruption abounded. His defense of the Republic was later used as a role model for many of the Western statesmen in the founding of America. He was a staunch supporter of natural law similar to John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. Cicero wrote, “This law, my lords, is not written but an innate law. It is derived from nature and stamped in invisible characters upon our very frame. The same immutable law comprehends all nations, at all times, under one common master and governor of all.”
It was said that George Whitefield preached at least 18,000 times and perhaps heard by 10 million during his lifetime. Many times he would preach to crowds of 8,000 in open fields. When speaking he would often leave his crowds spellbound. Jonathon Edwards wife, Sarah was quoted, “He makes less of the doctrines than our American preachers generally do and aims more at affecting the heart. He is a born orator.” His friend Benjamin Franklin said that 30,000 people could hear him even though he spoke without shouting. He was influential in igniting what American history calls the Great Awakening because of the effect he had on the people who heard him. The impact of the Great Awakening was not fully understood initially but because of the strong sense of putting God first, the communities were ultimately effected. Because people developed a strong commitment to learn and read books a grass roots intellectualism spread in every direction.
Another leadership voice whose writings were his trademark was Alexis de Tocqueville 1805 – 1859. His best known book Democracy in America was written 1835 -1838. It has been called the “most profoundest” book ever written about our country. He writes, “Americans are so enamored of equality they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.” He addressed the Chamber of Deputies as a member in 1848 and was quoted, “The truth – the deplorable truth – is that a taste for holding office and a desire to live on the public money is not with us a disease restricted to either party, but a great, chronic ailment of the whole nation.” “It is my profound conviction that I believe we are at this moment sleeping on a volcano.”
Leadership voices for freedom are as alive today as they were four thousand years ago. Best selling authors Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille begin their book Leadershift with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Great men are they who see…that thoughts rule the world.” They describe a fictional character, David Mersher, a turnaround expert who turns his passion toward leadership. In the book, Mersher identifies several principles of freedom apparently being violated: “interest on the national debt is one of America’s greatest expenses, the welfare state has bred generational poverty, and our military has turned into the world’s largest police force.” It’s not enough just to warn as the authors are quoted in the book Leadershift, “Freedom disappears from neglect.” It’s important to educate. One example of a leaders voice is the influence it carries in our personal and professional lives, and ultimately in our communities. Do you have a leadership voice? How far will your voice be heard? God Bless, George Guzzardo