Meet The New Boss
Tuesday 4/4/17- 2:00
How can someone become a leader? What specifically is needed and how do they come about accessing the traits necessary to lead the correct way to improve the lives of themselves and their followers. The first way to become a leader is known as activation. An individual can activate themselves or they could be activated by someone else like a mentor. Self-activation would be when a person sees an opportunity to lead and steps into that role without being told to do so. Being activated b y a mentor would be when a mentor sees something in that person that they themselves don’t realize they possess and them mentor pushes or persuades them into the role of leadership. The second way to become a leader is known as orientation. Orientation is when that person sees themselves holding that position of leadership. This when the he or she finds out what exactly is needed to be in this leadership role, what he or she needs to know and what they need to do specifically to fulfill the role of leadership. To successfully understand and exhibit true mastery of a role of leadership emulating a leader is a key factor. Learning from a mentor is very important in this second step. Lastly, the third way to become a leader is known as integration. Integration is a process where he or she is recognized as a leader in their respective roles they were appointed. This is evident by a mentor identifying you to either a coworker or other colleges of theirs that you are in this leadership position.
In Homers Odyssey, Telemachus goes through all three stages of how to become a leader. In Boon one of the Odyssey readers are introduced to Telemachus after his father Odysseus has been gone for about 10 years after he let for the Trojan War. Odysseus has yet to return home and it is Telemachus’ job to take over his house and step into his role. The first responsibility of Telemachus is clear, that he needs to begin to step up as the man of the house and take care of the commotion that is caused by the suitors for his mother Penelope. Goddess Athena steps in and takes on the responsibility of activated Telemachus into his role of leadership. She comes to Telemachus disguised as his father’s old friend Mentes and tells him that he needs to call for an assembly of the suitors and that he needs to travel to Sparta and Pylos to ask about his father’s well-being. The act of calling an assembly is one way of expressing leadership. By Telemachus calling this assembly he is asserting his authority and showing the suitors that he very well capable of taking care of the duties that his father Odysseus has left behind when he hadn’t returned home. “So spoke the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, and departed,  flying upward1 as a bird; and in his heart, she put strength and courage, and made him think of his father even more than aforetime”. Athena saw that Telemachus has what was necessary to lead in his father’s footsteps and she gave Telemachus the extra push that he needed to see himself as a true leader. Not only did Athena herself activate Telemachus but he also self-activated himself. When Athena had shown up as Mentes Telemachus immediately identified her as a stranger and went to offer her food and drink before they discussed the reason why she came to visit. He may have been unaware that by doing this he was activating his leadership but he was and that was what he needed to do to begin to realize that he could in fact handle the commotion that the suitors have brought to his house.
Tuesday 4/4/17- 2:30
On Book 2 of the Odyssey there was a lot of blame placing and taking of responsibility by both the suitors and Telemachus. To become a leader one should be willing to accept responsibility of their actions rather than place the blame on someone else. This is what separates Telemachus from the suitors. Antinous spoke to Telemachus and blames his mother Penelope for all the commotion of the suitors because she had been misleading them all for three years. Antinous says Penelope had promised to choose a suitor after she was finished weaving a shroud for her father in law. She misleads them because she has promised this and by day she weaves the shroud and at night she unravels all the knitting she had done during the day so she will never be done with knitting and won’t have to pick a suitor. Antinous clearly isn’t the definition of a leader here because he is so quick to place the blame on Penelope rather than look at his own actions and see that he doesn’t need to cause all this trouble at a house that isn’t his own. He further says that if Penelope didn’t want to pick a suitor that it should be the responsibility of Telemachus to send her away so that her father could pick her someone to marry. Once again he is placing responsibility and blame onto someone else that isn’t himself. Telemachus on the other hand while addressing Antinous is saying that he was responsible for the well-being of his mother and would not sent her away from her home. If he were to send his mother away than the wrath, he would receive from her father would be would be just and the destruction of their home would be his own fault. Telemachus was stepping up as the leader of his house and making it known that of anything was to go wrong it would be his own fault rather than blame someone else for anything that would occur.
In Book 10 of the Odyssey readers watch as the relationship between Odysseus and his men is played out and how important it is to have a strong relationship with your followers as a leader. There is a difference in the way Odysseus is leading his men and how true leaders should lead their followers. Odysseus is governing his men and not doing much leading. The difference between governing and leading is that governance doesn’t necessarily involve improvement but rather involves control. When governing people the person in charge doesn’t need to improve his followers just as long as his or her goal is reached in the end. We have already discussed that when leading it is necessary for a leader to improve his or her followers. Readers are introduced to Odysseus in the beginning of book 10 when he had just received a bag of wind from Aeolus. This bag of wind was to help Odysseus and his men get back to his home on Ithaca. Here is where there is evidence of how Odysseus lacks in true leadership capabilities. After having been sailing for 10 days his men think that Odysseus is hiding gold and silver in the back he has received and they destroy the back which sends them back to where they had originally started. There is a lack of trust amongst Odysseus and his men. How much of a leader can Odysseus be if he can’t even get his men to trust him? There is disconnect between him and his followers so much so that they caused a huge set back in their journey.
Wednesday 4/5/17- 1:35
Odysseus also seemed to lead his crew into destructive and dangerous situations every time. He had very poor judgment when deciding on how to keep himself and his men safe. After they were sent bac to the land of Cyclopes Odysseus led his men to the land of Laestrygonians. He appointed three of his men to go and speak to the queen and didn’t even bother to go with them to make sur it would be safe to walk into a land they knew nothing of. When he had realized that their ships were under attack they left and they found themselves in Aeaea. Once again Odysseus had led his men into a dangerous situation that led them to be turned into pigs by the witch goddess Circe. Not only did Circe bring harm to his crew but after Odysseus had resolved the issue he had become her lover and lived with her for a year. If this isn’t a clear sign of someone who isn’t a leader than I don’t know what is. He completely abandons his initially purpose and responsibility which was to get back to Ithaca to be with his family and wastes another year. He wastes time and he has the audacity to become the lover of someone who tried to bring harm to his men. The epitome of lack of responsibility, poor judgement, and bad leadership. Eurylochus was correct to call Odysseus reckless because he seemed to have no care about the well-being of his men and continued to put them in harms way.
Vengeance played an important part in the Odyssey. Namely Poseidon and Odysseus were the two characters that felt the need to avenge themselves the most. If Odysseus had not blinded Poseidon’s son Polyphemus Odysseus wouldn’t have had to go through so much to get home. Odysseus’ fate had already been to get home so Poseidon saw to it that he would face trouble at every turn and return home years later, with none of his men, nearly broken emotionally and with a house that is in turmoil. Odysseus’ vengeance is for the suitors and servants who disrespected him and were disloyal to him and his house. The suitors entered his house causing so much trouble and had the audacity to curse and disrespect his name. When Odysseus got the first chance he slayed the disrespectful suitors and the disloyal servants in his home and brought back peace and order to his home.