I was so inspired by the quotes we were given during our first seminar that the same night I began hunting for more leadership quotes to paste around my new apartment until I came across one that really stuck with me:
I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.
— Talleyrand, French diplomat (1754-1838)
More often than not we as a society judge things based on the sum of its parts rather than evaluating its individual parts separately. When we think of a strong team or group we’re likely to imagine a cluster of people who are equally able (and very able) to conquer the task set before them. For example, when we imagine a strong rugby team we think of a group of tall, muscular, and intimidating men ready to squash the opposition at the blink of an eye. Though that may constitute a very scary opposition, tall, muscular and seemingly intimidating men are not what make up a good rugby team. Players on the team each have a specific skill and purpose that makes them valuable. That is why there are several distinct positions on a team of any kind. In my opinion the leader, or in this case a team captain is one of the most valuable or THE most valuable position on a team. For the sake of the metaphor, imagine groups of men inexperienced in the sport arrive at a field to play each other. The captain-less rugby team would likely be a group of large, bumbling men on a field unable to organize themselves into a cohesive, working team. On the other side, however, the smaller, less intimidating players with a strong and effective captain have already learned the ins and outs of the game and are better prepared for the task at hand. I believe that nine times out of ten if the poor little dears weren’t simply beaten and squashed to death by the larger team, they would win.
I believe that this quote is incredibly reflective on the true value of a leader. I agree with Talleyrand- I too would be more afraid of a seemingly weak group equipped with passion, skill, and a powerful leader than a seemingly strong one with nothing to drive them forward. As they say, things are not always what they seem.