From classical to contemporary leadership challenges

A values-based leadership view



This article explored the Aeneid, Virgil's foundation epic of the Latin canon, from a values-based leadership perspective, which is defined as the moral foundation underlying stewardship decisions and actions of leaders. Specifically, we juxtaposed the resonant leadership elements of vision, culture, and values—and their corresponding equivalent Roman themes of fatum,pietas, and virtus. Using a thematic analysis approach, we coded the following eight values: integrity, good judgment, leadership by example, decision making, trust, justice/fairness, humility, and sense of urgency. We found that while the Aeneid extols prototypical values, the epic instructs that truly effective leadership is not about being a monochromatic prototype. Rather, the epic reveals that the essence and privilege of effective leadership demands reflection on the dynamic relationship between the leader and the led toward a better, envisioned future.