300 LEADERSHIP : Leadership Inspiration referenced from the movie ‘300’.
300, the movie is an adaptation of Frank Miller’s fictional graphic novel based on the Battle of Thermopylae which took place in 400 B.C. The novel depicts a vivid story of honour portrayed by the sturdy 300 Spartan warriors led by King Leonidas who made a heroic stand at the narrow Hot Gates passage against the insurmountable Persian army commanded by Xerxes, a self-proclaimed larger-than-life pierced and golden monstrous deity. Even though, the Spartans were hapless as compared to the Persians, King Leonidas’ heroic strategic placements and strong appetite for valour warded off the Persians in one of history’s most epic military battle.
The movie begins as a narration describing the young Leonidas, through Agogi, a Spartan custom where young boys are placed into violent and wild scenarios; they have to defend themselves, avoid starvation, survive and return back to Sparta. Such feats of bravery and the warrior tradition of Sparta from childhood made a Spartan, an insurmountable soldier.
This month we look at the leadership attributes depicted in the movie in relation to the real-world scenario. Leadership attributes of King Leonidas can be studied through the lens of the 300 army. Leonidas’ leadership attributes portrayed in the movie helps develop successful managers and individual skills in the real-world scenario. He had the vision and confidence in his abilities to fight, survive and influence his soldiers. The battle of Thermopylae sparked a revolt against the Persian where the Spartans came out victorious in the end.
The Spartans were dynamic individually, but when they set up in their phalanx, they became one impenetrable unit.
“We fight as a single impenetrable unit. That is the source of our strength. Each Spartan protects the man to his left, thigh to neck with a shield. A single weak point and the phalanx shatters.” – King Leonidas.
The Spartans were dynamic individually, but when they set up in their phalanx, they became one impenetrable unit. The 300 muscular Spartans stood against the million Persians. The Persians weren’t able to overtake the Hot Gates pass as they were held back by the hearty Spartans. In defending Thermopylae pass, the coordinated teamwork of the Spartans became crucial in preserving their position and flanks.
Likewise, in a successful business, a good leader should understand that the sum of the team is greater than an individual contribution. A good leader should train his employees and foster a culture that emphasizes on teamwork. The team members should coordinate as an efficacious unit to achieve the goals.
THIS IS SPARTA:
“This is where we hold them. This is where we fight. This is where they die. Today no Spartan dies” – King Leonidas.
In the movie, King Leonidas choses the Hot Gates passage as a stand to maximize the strategic advantage against the monstrous Persian army. The Persians could not pass through the passage as the robust Spartans were holding the narrow pass of Thermopylae chivalrously.
In the real world, it is very crucial to find a perfect location where our skills will thrive. One should choose the place that most suits their skills and competencies. Judgmental errors will lead to failure. Similarly, while setting up a business, wrong location decisions will hamper the company’s growth. Unless you are a FORTUNE 500 heir, you need to choose the battlefield that best suits your strength!
FORESEER: The tale of Victory:
“You (Dilios) have a talent unlike any other Spartan. You will deliver my final orders to the council…tell them my story. Make every Greek know what happened here. Tell of victory.” – King Leonidas
Rather than keeping one additional soldier, King Leonidas sends Dilios to convey his final orders to the council. Dilios was an inspirational orator. He recognized Dilios unique talent and skills so, he sent him back to Sparta to convince the council regarding the need of the entire Spartan Army to ward off the Persians. Queen Gorgo, Leonidas’ wife also worked to convince the council.
In business and real life, when problem arises, you need to look for experienced and altruistic people to support and help you out from the situation. Leaders should also be familiar with everyone’s potential because a handful of veterans can out-perform thousands of amateurs.
King Leonidas disapproves the request of Ephialtes (the hunchback) of joining the army because his inability to raise his left arm above his shoulder would put the entire 300 army and their strategy in danger. King Leonidas uses only sturdy troops to destroy the invading dreadful troops, starting with a wall of Persian warrior corpses to shock the invaders. In this epic struggle, there was no room for weak and fragile warriors.
In the real world, leaders should also look into the applicant’s skill set rather than only the professional criterion. Sometimes, a wrong hiring decision can jeopardize the entire organizational structure. Superior manpower and resources can out-perform challenges and hardships of entrepreneurship because a few good warriors are better than an army of acquaintances.
The Spartans were heroic warriors so; they had to repeatedly change their tactics while facing the attackers during the Battle of Thermopylae. They set up their battle plans to suit the desired results. They worked hard and never underestimated the Persians. Had they retreated or surrendered, they would have never won the Battle of Thermopylae.
In real life, a good leader should work hard in building plans that will take away advantages from the rivals. One should never be satisfied with past achievements. If you retreat or surrender yourselves in the job then, you’ll never know if a hard work for a month or two might have paid off.
Words: Saurav Nepal