Although strategic leadership focuses on the future, it is, in fact, an ancient concept. The word “Strategy” (strategia in Greek) originally referred exclusively to leadership in a military context. Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, a “strategos” was a Greek senior, experienced, and successful military commander. It is the equivalent of a modern-day Army general or Navy admiral.
The Greek philosopher Socrates apparently thought often about the subject of strategic leadership. He believed that just as craftsmen learn their skills, so too can ordinary people learn to become capable, even exemplary, leaders.
Xenophon, who became a strategos of great fame, was a member of Socrates’s inner circle. According to Xenophon, Socrates believed that soldiers would follow leaders who demonstrated both competency and knowledge. Xenophon wrote of what high standards Socrates had for any strategos: “He must be
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