This book has been on my bed stand lamp for the last three months. Every week I add another book on top of it postponing its reading for “pretty soon”. After listening to a live leadership talk from its New York Times Bestselling author Chris Brady about the story of Sir Sidney Smith and the siege of Acre against Napoleon Bonaparte, I took it back to the top of my pile to read “next”.
I picked it up this morning. I was moved by the introduction and the preface. It brought back all my souvenirs with sailing, boating, and canoeing: the seamen, the captains and their awkward lives. It reminds me my classes of navigation from the the Sea and Navigation Services of Haiti and above all my actual journey as a leadership student, leader, speaker, and of the Life Leadership community which aims at bringing leadership lessons to the masses to help them break free from the historical, financial matrix.
But, Brady’s “Leadership lessons from the age of the fighting sail” is more than that. This is in depth lessons on the art side of leadership in 11 chapters through stories of what some scholars called the age of fighting sail from the end of the 16th century with the Spanish Armada to the beginning of the 19th century with the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
These are the stories of men (few women on this time were in this endeavor) who decided to break the rules with creativity and ingenuity to raise above challenges and to create greatness. They are sea captains who command crew of diverse background people to build empires among religious clashes, wars, and storms. They have complete authority over others, and they demonstrate extensive knowledge of men, human nature, nature, weather, winds, currents, and machines.
The need for leadership was monumental in this historic era. Brady wrote: “It is when challenges are the greatest, when pressures are the highest, when risk is at its maximum, that the real mettle of leaders is revealed”.
Leadership can be taught as science and most of its essence should be caught as art. The science side is what the market place offers as leadership training which is a little more than instruction. The art side is self-discovery which is the most difficult component to describe. ” we know it when we see it”, said Brady.
The art side of the leadership formula is what separates the good leaders from the great. How to master this art? “Experience is a large ingredient”, Brady answered adding experience must be examined, studied, sifted, and understood in order to glean its lessons and receive its full value.
The art side of leadership gains its full extent with learning from the experience of others both contemporary and historical. But what really needs to learn from others is more metaphysical than their experience per SE.
The art side of leadership gets its play around lessons caught and captured from studying successful leaders’ thought processes, their reasons, their methods of emotional controls, their strategies in dealing with other people, their subtle touches.
I invite you to dig dipper in these 11 lessons Brady shared with us from this era:
- The Lesson of the Ripple Effect
- The Lesson of Hunger
- The Lesson of Initiative
- The Lesson of the Front
- The Lesson of Discernment
- The Lesson of Concentration
- The Lesson of Decentralization
- The Lesson of Culture
- The Lesson of the Unfair Unload
- The Lesson of the Battle
- The Lesson of Legacy
I like Life Leadership. This is a machine producing content in leadership, but also a sharing platform to study, examine experiences of others.
Do yourself a favor, order The “leadership lessons fro the age of fighting sail” and read it.