Monday, May 6, 2013

Illustrations of Leadership III

The third leadership tip is:
Communicate. A good leader knows how to get and give information so that everyone understands.
A good example of what happens with failure to communicate comes from the end of Eighteenth Dynasty in Egypt. When Nipkhururiya (Tutankhamun) died, his wife sent to the Hittite king Shuppiluliuma asking for him to send one of his sons to Egypt to marry the queen and become king of Egypt. Shuppiluliuma delayed while he assessed the truth of the information he had received. Only after another request did he send his son to Egypt. In the meantime, the Egyptian general Aye staged a coup and took over the country. He also had no scruple about dispatching the Hittite prince dispatched to rule Egypt. The Egyptians sent a message back to the Hittite king saying simply "Your son died," covering up the coup's complicity in his death. By this, the Egyptians and Hittites, who had largely been at peace, became enemies for three generations. The general Aye, however, did not long enjoy the fruits of his duplicity being supplanted by the next general to come along, namely Horemheb.

In this case, the failure to communicate that the situation had changed was impeded by the length of time that it took for messages to get from one capital to another. It was hardly helped by the Egyptians sending misinformation back to the Hittites.