Temuchin, Jenghis Khan, born in a tent in 1162, son of a petty Mongolian chieftain, succeeded his father when only thirteen years old. Many of the tribes immediately rebelled, but Temuchin held his own in battle and in counsel against open enemies and insidious traitors, until his empire extended from the China Sea to the frontier of Poland—an empire larger than modern Russia, the largest the world has ever seen.
The man of supreme ability is the one who has supernal ideals, who recognizes and uses those underlying principles without which human effort is futile, its results ephemeral. The man of supreme ability is the one who can create and control an organization founded on and using principles to attain and maintain ideals, who then is able to assemble for the use of his organization the incidentals of land, of men and money (Labor and Capital), of buildings and equipment, of methods and devices. All these incidentals make for volume, for quantity, for man’s work instead of woman’s work, but they do not make for the spirit, nor for the quality, nor for the excellence of work.
THE ELEMENTS OF EXECUTIVE ABILITY
We have quoted thus at length from Mr. Collins and Mr. Emerson to show the inbornness, so to speak, of real executive ability. The art of handling men depends upon certain inherent aptitudes plus a certain amount of the right kind of training. A very large class of executives lacks the aptitude; a still larger class lacks the right kind of training. It is possible, of course, to give training to those who have the aptitude. It is impossible to give training which will make efficient executives of those who are deficient in the natural aptitudes. The result of all this is that we have a very large class of misfits; men who, for some reason or other, have been promoted into executive positions and who do not have the proper qualifications. These men suffer; those under them suffer; those who employ them suffer.
Some men are too active themselves ever to be good directors of the activities of other men. They cannot sit back quietly and direct others. They demand expression in action. They are, therefore, always thrusting aside their subordinates and doing the thing themselves, because they lack the ability to teach others to do the work and to do it correctly. When such men are compelled to wait for others to accomplish things, they grow irritable, impatient, and lose control of themselves and, therefore, of the situation. They are not ideal executives and do not, as a general rule, rise to very high executive positions. They ought not to attempt to do executive work.
There are others who are too easy-going to command men. They permit their men to get too close to them, and they feel too sympathetic toward them. They are likely, also, to be partial, not to demand or exact enough, and, therefore, their departments are always behind, never quite coming up to quota.