As manager of a competitive cultural dance team on campus, I made several parallels with Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, specifically regarding the methods of leadership. The dance team captain, let’s call him Adam, can be compared to a prince, while the dancers are all his subjects. Machiavelli, throughout the Prince, gives political advice in regards to how a leader can maintain his kingdom without his subjects rebelling. Numerous concepts emphasized by Machiavelli affect a person leading any type of group, including a captain leading his dance team while keeping all the dancers satisfied as a prince would do for his subjects. If the dancers are not satisfied, they will refuse to dance, affecting the general performance of the team negatively. If the team performs negatively, other teams, which can be seen as other kingdoms, will gain more glory at competitions. If other teams win competitions, it is analogous to an outside kingdom gaining political power in the form of military action.
Machiavelli in Chapter XVII claims that it if one cannot evoke both fear and love, it is better to be feared than loved. The discussion of whether it is better to be feared than loved causes great controversy, and can be applied to many situations. Assuming Machiavelli’s theory, Adam would hypothetically aim to instill fear within his dancers and teammates. He would act rude and use punishment to improve the team’s performance. The dancers would have no fun while dancing, and eventually lose all respect for Adam. They would simply obey as any fearful subjects would. This principle that Machiavelli is infamous for preaching would not work at all in a modern dance team. Adam in reality is a great leader, not because he instills fear, but because he instills love and respect. Every team member looks up to him as both a dancer and a leader. They push themselves and work hard in an effort to please someone they have respect for, as the American colonists did for George Washington.
Machiavelli may have given intelligent advice on numerous topics, but being part of a dance team on campus has made me realize that political advice can never be taken too stringently. It is better to instill love than fear, because love induces respect, while fear induces hatred. This principle will work better for the success of the dance team, and proves that political opinions of any sort must be adjusted based on the scenario being presented. Machiavelli wrote the Prince centuries ago when times were drastically different. His political advice cannot be primarily used to base decisions for any leader. Though he does offer several points that may prove useful for a leader, in my personal experiences, it is better to avoid his advice when leading a dance team.