Assessment of the Usefulness of Machiavelli`s Advices to Modern Leaders

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Assessmentof the Usefulness of Machiavelli’s Advices to Modern Leaders

NiccoloMachiavelli possessed an enduring fame for the various roles heplayed in his lifetime especially as a military strategist, ahistorian, playwright, diplomat and a poet. Nevertheless, it is thecapacity of being a political thinker that made him earn him respectamong analysts. His writings regarding politics and advice to theprince attract the attention of current rulers and those who aspireto be politicians. Many consider the great poet as a political fatheras well as the founder of modernity (Stewart et al. 451). He has beena popular and persistent trope presented to this group of people. Heis perceived to have referred to the usefulness of power withoutlowering the moral and ethical standards. He asserted that educatingor advising leaders do not only imply accumulating knowledge in theirbrains but providing them with various techniques to developappropriate judgments. Machiavelli’s advice may be completelyvaluable, useful under certain conditions or completely useless tothe modern politicians and leaders because people have the finalverdict to the actions of their leaders. Contemporary leaders candeduce lessons from Machiavelli teachings on effective strategiesbecause he emphasized on the need for honor, change, stability andbeing considerate to the needs of the citizens.


Machiavelliadvised the Prince that he should be a resource to fosterreconciliation and peace (Stewart et al. 453). Under the currentevents in the United States, a leader advocating for peace may have astronger political ground compared to those who are not conscious ofit. He states that as long as a person defends his or her subjects,then they will always support him or her. In his writings, he alsoinforms his audience that a wise Prince ought to assume a certaincourse that every member under his or her stewardship will always inevery kind or sort of circumstances has an urge of their leader andthe state. The advice is completely reliable to the current presidentof the United States to maintain the support he has from the people.The current governor of Colorado may also follow the advice since thepeople in the region advocate for peace at all time. The advice wouldnot always apply since there are instances when war is needed tosolve a problem. Fostering peace may not always work.

Contraryto the above advice, Machiavelli also directed the Prince always tothink of war (Stewart et al. 453). Cruelty and violence are usefulmeans of an ideal political action. However, he warns that theirdeployment has to be circumscribed meticulously to stay away fromunintended or deleterious repercussions. The advice is good undercertain condition to the president of United States. Obama shouldalways think of war when his country is invaded, though, this is notthe only solution because other approaches like dialogue may help.The same applies to the governor of Colorado who should firstevaluate the circumstances and decide whether to advocate for war ordialogue. The advice may not be absolutely useful because war is notthe exclusive remedy to a disagreement.

Machiavellistates that a leader should identify issues and address the samewhile still small (Stewart et al. 453). He states that those who leada principality and do not recognize any ill intentions directedtowards them are less wise. He advised the prince to remain closer tothe ground to identify the emergence of any trouble. It is goodadvice that can be absorbed by the U.S president in his leadershipplans. He can always prevent issues happening at early stages toavoid great damages to property or loss of lives. For example, theNorth Korean nuclear production is becoming a threat to the securityof the United States. Repeatedly, the North Korean leader haslaunched tests despite the international warnings. This may escalatein the future is not addressed through the most effective mechanisms.A cautious leader is always preferred in the region and JohnHickenlooper, the governor of Colorado, may use the same advice tocement his position as the leader of the state.

Sensingtrouble as early as possible would be an ideal way of ensuringsuccess in one’s leadership career. Machiavelli compared leadershipto medicine where he stated that, like the doctors, political leadersmay diagnose an issue but find complications in curing it. On theother hand, they may be having a cure for the same but facedifficulties while diagnosing the problem. I would criticize this byclaiming that a leader may not get the correct information as he orshe attempts to stay closer to the ground. Besides, some informationmay be biased.

Machiavellialso provides that leaders should form a habit of learning fromothers (Stewart et al. 453). In his writings, he states that there isno need to reinvent the wheel while somebody else has already doneit. To be wise one follows the paths that were assumed by great men.They should imitate the individuals who were regarded as supreme. Inmy opinion, modern rulers should do this to estimate the extent ofdeviation of their abilities to those of the great men in the past soas to make amends. The advice would be completely helpful to BarrackObama and the governor of Colorado. Obama should always copy thegreat past presidents of the United States by avoiding the mistakesthat they did. For example, he should be careful not to drag theUnited states into war like his predecessor who waged war againstcountries in the Middle East despite analysts failing to link some ofthe leaders with the 9/11 attack. However, there is a shortcoming inthis approach because some of the leaders may literary follow theways of past leaders and ignore the dynamic nature of the community.

Thegreat poet also instructed the prince to understand his efforts andwork according to their capabilities and desist from the fear tochange. He states that no one likes those who are frivolous,irresolute or fickle (Stewart et al., 453). One should not just siton the fence but rather take a side and stand by it. The advice isgood but under certain circumstances. The move would be ideal toavoid further complications.

Headvises that a leader should have good qualities and assume an imageof a good person (Stewart et al. 453). One should develop areputation and let it be known to people as remarkable and great.They should not allow something to slip out of their tongues thatwould damage the good image. He states that the subjects see just howone appears and judge from it. Few people know the thoughts of theirleaders, and they dare not oppose to the opinion of the majority. Theadvice might be useful under certain conditions. Under the conditionthat a state of insecurity may arise if the real truth is revealed,then these politicians may hide their real identity. People ofColorado are driven by good images.

Machiavellialso advises that leaders should keep their word. He asserts that itis praiseworthy to honor their promises (Stewart et al. 453). Theyshould not present what they have promised to gain fame. They shouldalso not withdraw the same when the reason that prompted them to makesuch assurances no longer exists. The advice is completely helpful toU.S president and Colorado governor. Arguably, the people of Coloradoand all the Americans in general, prefer politicians who fulfill whatthey promise during the campaign periods. The advice cannot alwaysapply since the government may lack finances to fulfill some of theirpromises. It is not appropriate to starve other sectors of theeconomy.

Anotheradvice Machiavelli gives is that despite acting nicely to people, aleader should be tough when circumstances dictate. Otherwise, somepersons will take advantage and create disorder. One should not beafraid of introducing punishment and conduct the same with just cause(Stewart et al. 454). For example, in the United States, if apunishment imposed through a policy would make Obama lose somepolitical ground or criticism from a section of Americans, then heshould do away with it. The same applies to John Hickenlooper whoshould first assess the situation before introducing a punishment toavoid negative repercussions. However, such a move would facecriticism since punishment is not the only ideal way of resolving acrime committed by an individual.

Healso advised that it was always safer to be feared rather than to beloved (Stewart et al., 456). In a developed country like the UnitedStates, the president needs more love from the people of the than tobe feared. For one to be a successful leader in the region, he or shedoes not have to be a dictator but create a democratic atmosphere.The president may lose political ground if he institutes policiesthat are against the progressive efforts of the people. I wouldcriticize this notion since if a leader always shows love to hispeople, then some may take it for granted and stop respecting him orher. There are instances that he should show that he is supposed tobe feared.


Inconclusion, modern leaders can draw lessons from Machiavelli adviceon successful governance because he emphasized on the need for honor,dynamism, peace and being responsive to the needs of the subjects.The advice of Machiavelli is useful to modern leaders, but theyshould consider their contexts. Virtuous Leadership has to involveboth realism and virtues and not simply the accumulation of thelatter. I conclude this with the notion that virtues presentthemselves perfectly and that a measure of realism is vital in anattempt to temper idealized virtuousness. Rulers, in have to behavevirtuously within the framework of dynamic and complex relationalsystems that is constituted by power relations.


StewartClegg, Miguel Pina, and Armenio Rego. &quotLessons for leaders:Positive organization studies meets Niccolò Machiavelli.&quotLeadership9.4 (2013): 450-465. Print.

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