Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Virtuous leadership?

‘If a prince wants to maintain his rule, he must learn how not to be virtuous, and how to make the best use if this or not according to need’*

This is one of Machiavelli’s statements that have led to his notoriety. For him, being virtuous, or not, is merely a means to an end.  In this respect there is no virtue.

But, is there a modern and ethical message here? This statement could be interpreted as ‘be deliberate in how you act – you should always be focused on what you are trying to achieve’

Or am I being too charitable to Machiavelli? How would you interpret this statement?

(*Excerpt from * Machiavelli “The Prince” – translated by George Bull – Penguin 1961)

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