24 Jun 3 Important leadership lessons we learned from Atticus Finch
Leaders teach lessons.
Making Jem go and apologise to Mrs. Dubose after he cuts her flowers.
The ultimate lesson that Atticus wanted Jem and Scout to learn was that courage can be seen in what most of us might view as “small things”. Mrs Dubose was ill and dying, and she wanted to die without using morphine to numb the pain. This is the side of her that Atticus chose to see; and this is the side that he wanted his children to see.
Sometimes, leaders will get a lot of backlash from their flock in order for them to teach an important lesson, because that’s what leaders do, they don’t command then reprimand; they teach. But at the end of the lesson, the flock will always respect the leader, especially when the lesson is a most valuable one.
“I wanted you to see something about her. I wanted you to see what real courage was, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. Real courage is knowing that you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway, and you see it through no matter what.” – Atticus
Leaders will always opt to do the right thing.
When Atticus chose to defend Tom Robinson when he is on trial for raping and beating Mayella Ewell, he knew that he would face a lot of criticism, but, most importantly, he also knew that it was the right thing to do.
A lot of people will argue that “the right thing” is not objective, however, there are some things that are not in grey areas. And this is what Atticus lived and worked for. He aimed to achieve justice for the voiceless. He used the volume of his voice to support and defend someone who’s voice would not have been heard otherwise. And this was the greatest test of courage in the book. He taught us that leaders will practise what they preach, will go out of their way to do the right thing things, and will stand up for the defenceless – all this in one lesson.
“Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
Throughout the novel, Atticus is seen either reading to his children or reading by himself. This is a valuable lesson about someone who is constantly trying to increase his knowledge of the world, or even just things that interest. A good leader will always want to do and be better, and one way in which they will do that is by getting information from people they both agree and disagree with.
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”