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The Prince Essay

1190 words - 5 pages

Running head: THE PRINCE

The Prince Book Synopsis
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University of #####

Dr. #####
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The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli reveals an interesting perspective of leadership and ethics relating to how a prince should obtain land, control it and maintain it by any means necessary. In this book, Machiavelli provides a clear definition of the different types of states or principalities, recommendation on how to govern these principalities and how to expand a prince’s domain. Furthermore, he explains ways to evaluate the strong points and vulnerabilities of other principalities and concludes with the qualities or characteristics a ...view middle of the document...

Responsibility is one of the key factors to being an effective leader. Leaders must make decisions that will affect others in either a positive or negative manner. They must consider all the facts, weigh the outcomes and make the decision accordingly. It is easy to take responsibility for the positive or correct decisions, but difficult for the negative or wrong ones. In character-based leadership a key characteristic to being able to accept responsibility is the virtue of courage, “do what is right even when it is likely to cost us more than we want to pay...” (Kolp & Rea, 2006). Throughout his book, Machiavelli suggests a prince should only take responsibility for his actions when it is beneficial to him, “…because how one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done sooner effects his ruin than preservation…” (Machiavelli, 1532). Machiavelli’s suggests using deception to avoid taking responsibility for certain decisions in order for a prince to maintain power at any cost. This is contrary to the principals of character-based leadership and suggests a prince should only be concerned with taking responsibility when it involves self-preservation, which is not a quality of an effective leader. According to Kolp and Rea, this type of behavior is classified as cowardice, occurring out of fear and ignorance (2006). It is harmful to the work environment, can lead to unethical practices, poor decision-making and ill-treat of subordinates.

The manner in which a leader treats and relates to subordinates is important. It will set the tone for the work environment; affect productivity and either promote creativity or hinder it. In character-based leadership the concept of “treat others as you will like to be treated” is the foundation for effective leadership and for making ethical decisions. Compassion plays an important role in how an individual relates to and treats others. Therefore, it is important for an effective leader to understand how compassion can be a powerful tool and can provide insight in how to treat subordinates, “Sympathy and compassion bring the dimensions of understanding and sharing to our care” (Kolp & Rea, 2006). Being able to understand others in the workplace can help encourage a productive and healthy work environment, while boosting confidence in an individual’s leadership ability. An effective leader must not only be concerned with business goals, but also concerned for employee’s safety in the workplace and their personal well-being. This is contrary to how Machiavelli suggests a prince should display compassion, again alluding to a self-preservation type mentality, “ Therefore a prince, so long as he...

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