A leader’s character flaws/ weaknesses will eventually lead to their downfall. Well that’s the way Shakespeare saw it (Lear,Macbeth, Othello ) . As Cassius says in Julius Caesar, “The fault dear Brutus lies in ourselves not in our stars”. Arrogance, over riding ambition, lack of wisdom, the absence of a moral compass, an inability to recognise injustice, envy and jealousy don’t seem to be barriers to achieving high office. It could be argued that some of these traits were necessary to secure the top posts. I certainly recognise them in the council leaders and chief executives I have worked for. Did it make them less effective leaders? That depended on their level of self awareness, their insight into how their behaviour effected others and their willingness to check unhelpful behaviour. It also made a difference who they listened to. Macbeth was ambitious but his wife was more so.
Shakespeare would also have recognised that events could shape destiny. The unexpected, the conspiracy of circumstances. Napoleon was a very effective leader, he also recognised the part that luck played in the out come of events. Leaders tend to be good at spotting opportunities and exploiting them but to quote another cliche you can only play the hand you’re dealt. That probably also applies to character, the individual can allow their self confidence to spill over into arrogance, their passion to turn into aggression, their drive and ambition to lead to cheating and scheming or they can recognise the risks and do something about it.
Blair Mcpherson former Director , author and blogger www.blairmcphersn.co.uk