Machiavelli’s The Prince – a question of Leadership…



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Machiavelli’s The Prince – A Question of Leadership….


  1. identify positions that call for leadership—from leader of a service organization to leader of a country.



  1. Given that there is such a broad range of leadership roles, what generalizations can you make about the skills that leaders should have? Create a list of skills or traits that you think followers like in a leader.



  1. Create a list of skills, traits, or powers that you think help a leader get ahead or get things done. Are some of the skills, traits, or powers on this list the same as on the preceding list or not?

Complete the Venn Diagram to show your understanding of Machiavelli’s notion of leadership and how it differs from your own by following the instructions:



  • In the overlapping area, what both you and Machiavelli think of as essential traits, skills, or powers of a leader of a nation

  • On the left, what you look for in a leader of a nation but Machiavelli doesn't

  • On the right, what Machiavelli wants in a leader of a nation but the student doesn't




The Lion and the Fox


Everyone understands how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live uprightly and not craftily. Nevertheless, we see, from what has taken place in our own days, that princes who have set little store by their word, but have known how to overreach men by their cunning, have accomplished great things, and in the end got the better of those who trusted to honest dealing.

Be it known, then, that there are two ways of contending – one in accordance with the laws, the other by force, the first of which is proper to men, the second to beasts. But since the first method is often intellectual, it becomes necessary to resort to the second. A prince therefore should understand how to use well both the man and the beast…But inasmuch as a prince should know how to use the beast’s nature wisely, he ought of beasts to choose both the lion and the fox; for the lion cannot guard himself from the toils, nor the fox from the wolves. He must therefore be a fox to discern toils, and a lion to drive off wolves.

To rely wholly on the lion is unwise; and for this reason a prudent prince neither can nor ought to keep his word when to keep it is hurtful to him and the causes which led him to pledge it are removed. If all men were good, this would not be good advice, but since they are dishonest and do not keep faith with you, you in return need not keep faith with them.


Understanding Machiavelli – Comprehension Questions.


    1. According to Machiavelli, why is honesty not always the best policy?

    2. For a ruler, how valuable a tactic is a show of strength?

    3. Machiavelli's name is often used as a synonym for evil. How accurate do you feel that assessment is?

    4. Machiavelli said that rivers and men can be controlled, but cannot be trusted. Discuss what this statement means and whether or not you think it is true. Give another metaphor that would express your view on this idea.

    5. Why do you they think Machiavelli’s list of leadership qualities for a prince has always been controversial



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