Leadership Lessons from the Great Pyramids – PART 2 of 2

While “attitude” was enough to build the smaller Pyramids (like that of King Sneferu), the largest, grandest, and the only of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world still standing, with a height of 450 feet and 756 feet square: The Great Pyramid of Khufu, needed more than just a great attitude.

True greatness lies in self-actualization through work

When work becomes choice, it no longer manifests itself as work. It is the convergence of personal desire and the actions we gladly take.

As it turned out from the discovery of a Workers Cemetery, building Pyramids was a dangerous business. Even with a great attitude, that’s a real bummer. So why would anyone choose to put in their whole hearted effort and risk their lives in the process. Was it Bak, or feeling special, or was it more?

Harvard’s George Reisner found workers graffiti created by “Building Teams” that called themselves names like “Friends of Khufu” and “Drunkards of Menkaure”.

These findings and ancient Scrolls suggest that these teams were made up of many classes of people on a rotating basis. This means that the managers, architects, and even the priests would take part in building.

Did Pharaoh himself go down and carve bricks? Only Ra would know.

But in today’s context when nurturing the psychology of a superior workforce, a Hands-on CEO often commands greater respect.


Because he/she leads for others and not for a personal ego trip.

The term “Hands on” should be qualified here: a CEO that gets into other peoples job because of frustration or tries to do everything themselves is counterproductive. The hands on type I’m talking about is an individual who takes the time to have assist his personnel by supportively guiding them. And, who lets his subordinates teach him what and how they are doing in order to have a greater understanding of even the least significant function. This would be a Leader who may see a mop and proceed to clean the floor while the janitor’s on his break, then ask the janitor if he did it right when he comes back. Or, who may go to the source when a manager is having difficulty with equipment and assist him in solving the problem as the manager takes charge. These of course must be taken in context of time requirements, but a great leader will have more time because they would be more effective in assisting people to achieve greater and faster results.

In these teams people were equals and as equals established unique identities within the masses. Each of these teams was divided into 5 smaller teams where more cohesiveness amongst team members could be formed.

With individual group identities, leaders were able to establish the groups as an essential part of the same vision. They were part of something greater than the individual, they had ownership in it. It was a higher purpose. As a part of these select teams they had strength that no individual could ever have, they were greater than themselves and even Pharaoh.

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