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Churchill and Gandhi! Churchill, the VIRTUOSO of political maneuvering; Gandhi, the SAGE of diplomatic benevolence. The former wheeling and dealing in unending political skirmishes, the latter in sympathetic bridging of relationships torn asunder. The tactician and the diplomat, diametric opposites in fundamental ways, yet each having done for their country something persons of other character could not possibly have done -- delivered it from bondage. Equally brilliant men; brilliant, however, in radically different ways, neither even remotely capable of the achievements of the other.
Then there were those two fantastic leaders, each in his own way rescuing America. George Washington rescued it from colonial bondage, Abraham Lincoln from national dissolution. Other than a large measure of kindness and great physical strength these two men had nothing important in common, yet they both achieved the same end, earning our eternal gratitude, their faces adorning the heights of Mount Rushmore next our other heroes. Washington was a creative logistical leader, a political and military MAGISTRATE, who, faced with obstacles of incredible proportion and tenure, put in his way by his Congress, his generals, and his fellow citizens, defeated the vastly superior British expeditionary force by sheer tenacity, and this despite his mediocre strategic abilities. Lincoln was a creative strategist, a political and military WIZARD, who, despite the long continued blunders of a train of ill-chosen generals, the weakness of the Congress, and the intrigues of many of his fellow citizens, beat the Confederates by sheer foresight, and all this despite his mediocre logistical abilities. These men were probably equally intelligent, but in entirely different ways. Washington was a superb quartermaster, brilliant in logistical monitoring and conservation; Lincoln a superb systemist, brilliant in strategic coordination and engineering. They were diametric opposites in both attitude and action. Thus it is doubtful that Lincoln could have won the Revolutionary war, and just as doubtful that Washington could have won the Civil war.
Why could these men -- Churchill, Gandhi, Washington, Lincoln -- win their own conflicts and not those of others? The answer is: temperament. It takes a certain kind of temperament to achieve certain ends. Washington had precisely the kind of temperament the Revolutionary war and the establishment of a republic required, and Lincoln precisely the kind of temperament the Civil war and the reconstruction required. Similarly, only a Churchill could have rallied the English people and convinced his wily friend Roosevelt to throw in with him before it was too late; and only a Gandhi could have rallied the Indian people to the swell of passive resistance that ultimately set them free. Each so effective. Each so different from the others. The kind of intelligent operations of a leader or follower is determined by temperament, the degree by practice, the end result -- character -- by the interaction of temperament and circumstance.
Granting then that different kinds of personality are wise to act in character, even as leaders, still there is one thing that all types of leaders must take into account if they are to lead well -- intelligence. Their own and that of their employees. Note that Churchill succeeded because he relied heavily on his tactical intelligence; Gandhi on his diplomatic intelligence; Washington on his logistical intelligence; Lincoln on his strategic intelligence. Without their own well practiced intelligent operations to employ in their momentous enterprises, it is doubtful whether any of these men would have succeeded, the odds weighing heavily against them. The best policy for any leadership style is to look for intelligence and put it to work.
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