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Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 25, 2020

Guillermo Montes, Fr. Ross Chamberland, O.F.M.
Pages 197-215

Leadership Lessons from the Court of St. Fernando
The Treatise of Loyalty and Nobility

This article analyzes the leadership of a medieval treatise on leadership written at the request of Saint Fernando III of Castile in the thirteen century. We investigate how the conceptualization of leadership is similar and different from our modern approaches. We find that the medieval leadership source had stronger Catholic ontological and epistemological underpinnings although it remained hostage to prejudices and misconceptions of its time. The analysis raises questions about how modern secular leadership approaches do not clearly disclose their own ontological and epistemological foundations. In addition, the contrast with a medieval leadership source shows our modern leadership approaches also remain captive to the prejudices and misconceptions of our time. Most importantly, modern leadership approaches assume leaders can set final ends, are immune to greed in themselves and others, focus on intelligence rather than will, and technical skill rather than moral virtue. On the other hand, both sources agree leaders should be decisive, sociable, approachable, and create a culture of trust. More research on historical models of leadership is needed.

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