Published on March 19, 2009
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun Based on the book by Wess Roberts, Warner Books, New York., N.Y., 1987
Attila the Hun The Romans have done great things, but their time is past. What they have done, we can do. We should rule the world. – Attila the Hun
Lust for Leadership: “You’ve Got to want to Be in Charge • Above all other traits, one who desires to lead must possess an intrinsic desire to achieve substantial personal recognition and be willing to earn it in all fairness.
Lust for Leadership: “You’ve Got to want to Be in Charge • You must remember that success in your office will depend largely upon your sustained willingness to work hard. Sweat rules over inspiration.
Lust for Leadership: “You’ve Got to want to Be in Charge • You must not be threatened by capable contemporaries or subordinates. Be wise in selecting capable captains to achieve those things a chieftain can attain only through strong subordinates.
Lust for Leadership: “You’ve Got to want to Be in Charge • You've got to be ruthlessly ambitious. Never be bored, disinterested, or cowardly in any way about always strengthening your position. Good leaders are lustful leaders. Power is like sex, but don't appear overeager, just extremely determined to succeed under any circumstances, fair or unfair. [This will inspire confidence in those you lead]
Peace in the Campus: “Morale and Discipline” • Huns seek discipline in their lives. They are more willingly to follow chieftains who are themselves disciplined.
Peace in the Campus: “Morale and Discipline” • Wise chieftains realize that unduly harsh and unnecessary lax discipline will undo the morale of their Huns.
Peace in the Campus: “Morale and Discipline” • NEVER CONDONE A LACK OF MORALE OR DISCIPLINE -- Terminate people at the first sign of disrespect for the common good, but by no means stifle individualism or punish the innocent who don't know the common good. Definitely, do not allow uncontrolled celebration. Pillaging and looting are only fun if done in the name of nationalism. [Discipline will build morale]
Peace in the Campus: “Morale and Discipline” • NEVER TOLERATE ANYONE WITH THEIR OWN AMBITIONS -- People who are quot;cunningquot; are dangerous, especially new people who have just joined the organization. Be vigilant about how people lose their ambition and become team players; that is the pattern you want everyone to follow. Never reward anyone for what is a common effort. [The spirit of unity must prevail]
The Fury of Internal Battles: “Cunning in the Tribes” • Be wise and anticipate the “Brutus” of your camp. Beware of the treacherous Hun who pledges loyalty in public then spreads discontent in private. Make every effort to identify and remove those ignoble characters, be they chieftains or your best warriors.
The Fury of Internal Battles: “Cunning in the Tribes” • Be approachable; listen to both good and bad news from your Huns. • Be principled, not inflexible.
The Tribute: “Paying and Receiving Deference” • When deference is born of fear, it results in an unwillingness to serve and becomes manifested as passive resistance to authority and purpose.
The Tribute: “Paying and Receiving Deference” • Real deference results in unyielding loyalty- a tribe full of spirits and willing to follow their chieftain in to the mouth of hell.
The Tribute: “Paying and Receiving Deference” • Always pay proper courtesy to your subordinate leaders. Should you fail to accord them respect, so will the subordinates.
The Tribute: “Paying and Receiving Deference • MAKE OTHERS ADAPT TO YOUR quot;CUSTOMSquot; -- Make people do things your way, not their way. Make them adjust or adapt to you. Express this as the way things are going to be from now on, or pretend it's the way things have always been. Refuse to acknowledge any other way of doing things other than the way you do things. [This will extract tribute and praise from those you lead]
Battle Dress and Armament: “Chieftains Are As They Appear to Their Huns” • When on the hunt, be prepared to hunt. Take your best bow and lace, and wear the clothing that will serve you well as you chase the wild beasts in the forest.
Battle Dress and Armament: “Chieftains Are As They Appear to Their Huns” • A chieftain should dress in fine skins and furs-not to be draped by gold and silver adornments. Pompous appearance breeds hate and give rise to contempt and laughter among the ranks.
Battle Dress and Armament: “Chieftains Are As They Appear to Their Huns” • ALWAYS APPEAR AS THE ONE IN CHARGE -- Dress appropriately for your high station in life. Own the biggest horse and sword. Be first in everything, but never appear pompous. [Be marked with armament that distinguishes you from the masses]
Leading the Charge: “Responsibilities of the Chieftain” • By their own actions, not their words, do leaders establish the morale, integrity and sense of justice of their subordinate commanders. They cannot say one thing and do another.
Leading the Charge: “Responsibilities of the Chieftain” • Leaders must attach value to high standards of performance and have no tolerance for the uncommitted.
Leading the Charge: “Responsibilities of the Chieftain” • Chieftains must teach their Huns well that which is expected of them. Otherwise, Huns will probably do something not expected of them.
The Omen of Aquileia: “The Essentials of Decisiveness” • Wise is the chieftain who never makes a decision when he doesn’t understand the issue.
The Omen of Aquileia: “The Essentials of Decisiveness” • A chieftain should allow his subordinates the privilege of making decisions appropriate to their level of responsibility. Weak is the chieftain who reserves every decision for himself out of fear that he might lose control.
The Omen of Aquileia: “The Essentials of Decisiveness” • It takes less courage to criticize the decisions of others that stand by your own.
The Omen of Aquileia: “The Essentials of Decisiveness” • Self-confidence is critical to decisiveness, for without it, a chieftain loses his following in challenging situations.
The Omen of Aquileia: “The Essentials of Decisiveness” • USE TIMING IN MAKING DECISIONS -- Never rush a decision, although sometimes you have to because the moment is ripe or an omen exists. It's better to use timing, to find the obscure places and critical elements needed to ensure you always make the right decision. This way, you ensure that even a less-than-perfect decision is followed. [Time your decisions]
Horse Holders: “The Art of Delegation” • Chieftains should never delegate responsibilities necessitating their direct attention.
Horse Holders: “The Art of Delegation” • Wise chieftains grant both authority and responsibility to those to whom they have delegated assignments.
Booty: “Rewarding Your Huns” • Be generous with small tokens of appreciation-they will multiply in retuned loyalty and service.
Booty: “Rewarding Your Huns” • EXPLOIT THE DESIRE TO ENJOY THE SPOILS OF WAR -- Harness your peoples' desires for short-term gains. Grant small rewards for light tasks. Reserve heaps of booty for other times, and be generous with items that hold a value to yourself. [Never underestimate the ability to buy obedience]
Attila and the Pope: “The Art of Negotiation” • It is never wise to gain by battle what may be gained through bloodless negotiations.
Attila and the Pope: “The Art of Negotiation” • Honor all commitments you make during negotiations lest your enemy fail to trust your word in the future.
Attila and the Pope: “The Art of Negotiation” • Never trust negotiations to luck. Enter every session armed with knowledge of the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses; knowing his secrets makes you strong.
Attila and the Pope: “The Art of Negotiation” • ONLY ENGAGE IN WARS YOU CAN WIN -- Use diplomacy, negotiation, or other techniques of conflict in battles you cannot win. When in a political war, always keep an eye to your rear. When in an external war, go all out. [Waging war is a natural condition]
Surviving Defeat: “There is Another Day” • Sometimes you will lose, regardless of how prepared you are to win.
Surviving Defeat: “There is Another Day” • Lament, if necessary, but do not dwell too long on your bad moments lest they rise to rule your emotions forever. • As a Hun breathes, all is not lost.
The Bones of Caravans Past: “Lessons Learned” • We must never fail to analyze the past. No bleached bone of a battle lost Hun must go unnoticed as we prepare for the future by laying aside the ill-conceived and undisciplined strategies of our past.
The book ends with a selection of “Attilaisms” Consider the following
A king with chieftains who always agree with him reaps the counsel of mediocrity.
The greatness of a Hun is measured by the sacrifices he is willing to make.
Seldom are self-centered, conceited and self-admired chieftains great leaders, but they are great idolizers themselves.
Great chieftains never take themselves too seriously.
It is unfortunate when final decisions are made by the chieftains’ headquarters-miles away from the front.
The ability to make difficult decisions separates Chieftains from Huns.
Wise chieftains never place their Huns in situations where their weaknesses will prevail over their strengths.
Delegation is not abdication. Abdication is a sign of weakness. Delegation is a sign of strength.
Huns should engage only in wars they can win.
For Huns, conflict is a natural state.
Critical to a Hun’s success is a clear understanding of what the King wants.
There is more nobility in being a good Hun than in being a poor chieftain.
If an incompetent chieftain is removed, seldom do we appoint his highest-raking subordinate to his place. For when a chieftain has failed, so likewise have his subordinate leaders.
If you tell a Hun he is doing a good job when he isn’t, he will not listen long and, worse, will not believe praise when it is justified.
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun Based on the book by Wess Roberts, Warner Books, New York., N.Y., 1987
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