What Are Niccolo Machiavelli's Ideas On Effective Leadership

1114 words - 4 pages

Machiavelli's "The Prince" is a highly unique manuscript that outlines Machiavelli's views on effective leadership. This piece was meant to serve as a guide for what characteristics the ideal prince should possess. Machiavelli never stated who the actually "Prince" is but rather gives advice and examples on how someone would become the perfect ruler. The Prince was written in the early 1500s where "Popes were leading armies, and wealthy city-states of Italy were falling one after another into the hands of foreign power" (Wikipedia). It was a time of shifting alliances, politics, and the mentality of a larger army size would equate to a stronger country. We can observe with the drastic lives they lived, Machiavelli was partly influenced by his lifestyle. As an individual Machiavelli was naturally cynical about the human race and that profoundly influenced his work.Machiavelli's main ideas on effective leadership were:1)A prince should prefer being feared rather than being loved.Machiavelli suggests it is "much safer to be feared than loved" (The Prince, 3). When you strike fear in your minions then they will become more intimidated. He mentions that men are so easily manipulated that a skillful prince can control them at will. "Men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children" (The Prince, 4). A prince that rules on love rather than fear wouldn't succeed in the real world because they are ruling on promises and friendships. Promises and friendships can easily be broken but striking fear is usually permanent for an effective Prince.2)A Prince should have mean and liberal qualities.In chapter XVI Machiavelli implies that a prince should possess both a harsh attitude and a mindset for liberty. A prince should only allow freedom to those who earned it. A prince can lead his armies into battle pillaging and razing everything in sight while handing down items that belong to others to the men of his own, "this liberty is necessary, otherwise he would not be followed by his soldiers" (The Prince, 2). Machiavelli entails a prince should be defensive of his kingdom and armies; to avoid being hated and despised. A ruler that grants liberties without being harsh will lead to the downfall of the Prince. "Therefore it is wiser to have a reputation for meanness which brings reproach without hatred, than to be compelled through seeking a reputation for liberality" (The Prince, 2).3)Keeping and maintaining faith.A prince can always distinguish the men who do not act in good faith; therefore a wise prince is not bound to keep faith with them. However, it is best for a prince to possess the "qualities of mercy, faith, integrity, humanity and religion." (e.g.: the ends justify the means). A prince must avoid the hatred of his subjects by keeping them well armed and happy, by refraining "to be a violator of the property and women of his...

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