Hard Leadership


“We will either find a way or make one.” – Hannibal crossing the Alps

Bobby Clinton writes:

“I was quite impressed with Hannibal’s 18 year campaign against Rome. I have no problem imagining him saying the above quote. His crossing the Alps was just such a “making a way.” There are times in our pilgrimage for soft leadership, “finding a way” (consensus, relational, getting ownership, etc.) and then there are times for hard leadership (deciding and convincing, forceful) when we must “make a way.”

Interesting that “soft leadership” is the present mode in vogue in the West. Yet as Bobby notes, that’s not the only way that effective leadership is always exercised. We see both hard and soft throughout history and both are certainly evident throughout the biblical record. While leavened by the tether of scripture, the type of leadership demanded in any given setting is highly situational and depends on what is needed in the context.

In my own experience, when I have been compelled to lead “hard,” it has often come with a price particularly when exercised among independent self-sufficient people in my own culture. I have had to learn over the years to be at peace when opposition or criticism may arise and realize that often, it may be the result of poor followership and not necessarily because I have been compelled to lead with decisiveness and “make a way.”

One Response to “Hard Leadership”

  1. Patrick Says:

    Of course, we often hear of the Roman Empire and its lasting influence. Not so much Carthage.

    Or as the quote goes, “You know how to vanquish, Hannibal, but you do not know how to profit from victory.”

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