It's getting harder and harder to find a management guru you can trust. Which is why consultants and writers in search of timeless business truths are resorting to more enduring sources of wisdom.
Of the many unimpeachable sources to whom authors and consultants can turn for leadership advice, two stand above all others: Jesus and George Washington. Two books have recently appeared that catalog the leadership insights of these revered figures. The Leadership Wisdom of Jesus: Practical Lessons for Today (Berrett-Koehler, 1998), by Charles C. Manz, conveys the true art of leadership through the teachings of, well, the Son of God. The Founding Fathers on Leadership: Classic Teamwork in Changing Times (Warner Books, 1997), by Donald T. Phillips, imparts lessons on leadership through the teachings of, among others, the Father of His Country.
But there's a problem. What happens when George and Jesus disagree? The Fast Company Consultant Debunking Unit suggests that you study the chart on the right and then draw your own conclusions.
|Situation||What Jesus Says||What George Says|
|Office politics are getting you down.||"I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."||"Remember it is the fifth of March, and avenge the death of your brethren!"|
|A competitor attacks your product.||"If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also."||"Frequently, the most effectual way to defend is to attack."|
|It's time for annual performance reviews, and you're unsure about how to handle the evaluations.||"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you."||"I never spared one [officer] that was accused of cowardice but brought them to immediate trial."|
|You've got a shot at a promotion that includes a big salary increase - but you have to compete for it.||"Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must become the slave of all."||"It is not sufficient for a man to be a passive friend and a well-wisher to the cause."|
|Some days, the pressures of the new economy are just too much!||"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear."||"I heard the bullets whistle, and believe me, there is something charming in the sound."|
|The project team you're leading is in trouble - and one of your direct reports keeps missing key meetings.||"If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?"||"If I see any man turn his back today, I will shoot him through. I have two pistols loaded."|
A version of this article appeared in the October 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.