Comparing Leadership Qualities in Beowulf to Today

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1187 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Words: 1187|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Throughout history, humans have needed leaders, people who have special qualities to help them through situations. Leadership goes way back to the dawn of human history, In this case, Beowulf. The tale of a Danish warrior told by Swedish Vikings. These people take charge when no one else will in dire situations. However, qualities that a leader is required to have, has changed drastically from thousands of years ago to today. Certain qualities have become void due to several things such as our environment and circumstances. Leadership today has become more about knowledge and mental strength. Whereas back in Beowulf’s era it was more about if a person could fight or not and how physically strong that individual was. But leadership has evolved since then. Making qualities that people wouldn’t have looked for at all back then like how much knowledge a person holds, very important today. What qualities were more useful back in Viking times and what qualities are more useful today. And finally, three qualities I think a leader should always have today.

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Leadership thousands of years ago specifically Beowulf in this case, has changed and evolved, into something completely different. In the book, Beowulf is seen as extremely powerful meaning physically strong with “The strength of thirty men in each of his hands.” This physical strength was important for leaders to have in Viking times. People back then needed to face off foes and do a lot more physical labor than people today. Whereas people today have the technology to help with physical labor and lifting. Beowulf was also said to be very brave and courageous. A person who risked his life to help people out such as the fishermen when he killed all the sea beasts, or his kingdom taking on the dragon almost alone when all his men fled except for Wiglaf. This makes him very brave and courageous prioritizing other people’s safety before his own. People today don’t need to be as brave and courageous as there are no monsters like Grendel or a dragon terrorizing and burning down whole towns like in Beowulf for people to face. Now not that there aren’t times today that people need to be brave and fight to protect our country from things such as the wildfires in California or the whole ISIS situation in Syria, where our brave troops are fighting for our safety. However, these threats in Beowulf were much greater and with a constant war between clans, people needed to always face the fright and terror of going into battle. One last quality Beowulf had that made him a great leader is that he was very generous. One such instance of generosity Beowulf showed was to Hygelac. The gifts he received from Hrothgar for killing Grendel he offered to Hygelac as gifts making him generous and honorable.

Leadership today has evolved from what it once was and becoming something overall the same but different at the same time. Leaders today still need to be brave in the sense that they need to take risks for the people on the team. This bravery is different from back then. This bravery is not being brave against a foe in battle. It's more about taking risks for your team. Whether it be sealing a business deal that if successful would boost your business’s profits by a large margin, but in the case that a deal fails it could bankrupt your business along with your team losing their jobs. To take risks for your team is what makes a leader brave today. Another quality of a leader today is they need to have knowledge. A leader needs to know what they’re doing and how to do it. If that individual doesn’t know what they’re doing, they can’t properly lead a team in the right way. A person with more knowledge is respected more and gives out something called expert power meaning that the individual has more knowledge and experience than the rest of their team. Finally, a leader today needs to be a good speaker. If a leader cannot communicate with his or her team n what needs to be done, nothing will get done and everyone will be in disarray on what they should do. If a leader is a good speaker and can communicate than everyone will understand, exchanging information will be clear and fast, and will even make you more respectable. Take Obama, for example, he was a good speaker with lots of political correctness which helped him win the presidential election two years in a row. These are some quality’s that a leader specifically needs today.

There are so many traits that leaders can adopt. Some consist of tenaciousness, Bravery, Knowledge, Strong mentally and physically, respectable, good speaker, etc. The list goes on and on, but no individual is going to possess every one of these traits. The most important traits are mental strength/ knowledge, work ethic, and trustworthiness. Mental strength as mentioned earlier is important as the person needs to know what they’re doing. They must know what they’re doing so he or she can tell their following what to do when they don’t know what to do themselves. Work ethic is also important in a leader. Leading with example causes the individuals' followers to strive to adopt the qualities of their leader so if a work ethic doesn’t exist with that person, his or her following will not have a good ethic either. Finally, trustworthiness is an important quality to have in a leader. This quality is most important in a leader. For there to be a leader there first must be trust between everyone and that individual. Those people need to know that they can trust that person and rely on them to lead through thick and thin. They need to know that they can trust you not to screw them over for your betterment. Like in Beowulf his men trusted in him to come through and defeat the monsters. If there is no trust it becomes uneasy as they won’t know if they can rely on that person or not. These are the most important traits of a leader.

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In retrospect, important leadership has changed tremendously since the time of Beowulf. In Beowulf, qualities were more physically strong and how brave you were to fight monsters. Today qualities include more of a mental strength not so much physical and whether you can work hard as well as speak and communicate. And finally, the most important traits in a leader's mental strength work ethic and trustworthiness. This world is constantly changing, evolving into something greater with each passing day. With these changes also comes with new leaders. Just like how thousands of years ago some very important qualities, have become void today. Some qualities today won’t be needed for thousands of years in the future. Thousands of years ago it was Beowulf, today it’s our world leaders, and in the future, there will be someone. Those special people with those certain qualities are what will keep us going. And what will always lead humankind in the right direction. Until the end of time.

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Comparing Leadership Qualities In Beowulf To Today. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 28, 2024, from
“Comparing Leadership Qualities In Beowulf To Today.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021,
Comparing Leadership Qualities In Beowulf To Today. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 May 2024].
Comparing Leadership Qualities In Beowulf To Today [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2024 May 28]. Available from:
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