Leadership lessons from Edgar Allan Poe

Leadership lessons from Edgar Allan Poe

Visionary and eccentric poet Edgar Allan Poe left the world all too early, leaving a legacy of mysterious tales, unfinished dramas and harrowing tragedies.

His stories captivated and shocked a nation, using bewitched animals, murderous madmen, death, disease and waste amongst his themes.

Poe tapped into the morbid fascination we all have with the paranormal, managing to weave stories with hidden meanings and dark sub-levels.

This year marks the 208th anniversary of his birth and, to celebrate his talents, we have decided to look at what lessons business leader can take from Poe’s creepy stories.

1. The Tell-Tale Heart

A lodger lives with an old man who, up until this point, he has gotten along with amicably. One day, he starts to notice the old man’s glass eye, and becomes unnaturally fixated on it. He thinks it watches him whilst he eats, washes and sleeps and becomes determined to rid himself of its gaze. One night, he sneaks into his room and kills the old man, burying him under the floorboards.

But when the police arrive to question him, he thinks he can hear the old man’s heart still beating beneath the boards. The message for business leaders here is not to become fixated on the little things, and always be mindful of the bigger picture. It’s the job of the Boardroom to oversee the company culture and the larger operational development – so don’t take your eye off the main goal and end up becoming lost in menial matters.

2. The Pit and the Pendulum

This is the story of a man trapped in a dungeon with no memory of how he got there. The short tale sees the man slowly sink into madness, as he attempts to map out the circumference of the room – which is enshrouded in total darkness. At some point in the narrative, the man becomes aware of a giant swinging pendulum edging closer and closer toward him from the ceiling. His frantic efforts to escape his confines only come to fruition at the last moment, when he is rescued by soldiers.

This story is a clear depiction of the effects of mental illness, and how they can become a prison for those who suffer through them. It’s essential that businesses embrace and kick-start mental wellbeing initiatives, in order to safeguard their staff and give them the support they need.

Click next to see the final lesson...


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