Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of
by Joseph Marshall III
Publication date: January, 2009
Book reading event: February 20 at
Joseph M. Marshall III (Sicangu Lakota
Sioux), Lakota historian, educator, and author reminds us in his latest book,
The Power of Four:
Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse,
that true leadership is only possible
when character is more important than authority. Corporate executives know how
to turn a profit, legislators and presidents hold positions of power but does
that qualify them as leaders? Is anyone vested with authority automatically
considered a leader?
Marshall says no.
In his book, the author puts forth that
we need to redefine our idea of
leadership altogether. What makes a good and effective leader? Marshall
draws inspiration from Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and Sitting Bull to develop his
concept of leadership.
He also draws his belief from a time when the Lakota
people of the northern plains had the best deterrent to bad leaders; they
simply refused to follow them. While Crazy Horse is best known for his skills
as a military warrior, Marshall focuses on Crazy Horse’s achievements off the
battlefield, where his leadership skills were most clearly built and
Marshall contends that Crazy Horse was
connected to the environment, practiced meditation and prayer, and was a
believer in the power of the number four, which Marshall says occurs everywhere
in nature. From the events of Crazy Horse’s life, the author details four
principles of leadership: Know Yourself, Know Your Friends, Know Your Enemies,
and Take the Lead.
A consultant and lecturer on leadership
skills, Marshall has developed a leadership seminar program based on the
philosophies of Crazy Horse. In The Power of Four, he names current day enemies
of Native people as “apathy, ethnocentrism, and racism”, and calls on Natives
to follow the example of Crazy Horse. Marshall advocates that if our current
leaders were to effectively address these problems, many of our other external
threats would disappear.
Marshall, who grew up on the Rosebud
Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, says
he has been shaped by the influence of the land as much as by the people who
were closest to it.
Marshall has worked as both technical
adviser and actor in television movies, including Return to Lonesome Dove, The
Real West and Into The West. He is a
recipient of the Wyoming Humanities Award, and the Pen Center USA Beyond
Margins Award for an author of color. Other awards include: the Mountain Plains
Booksellers Award for Best Nonfiction – for The Day the World Ended at the
Little Big Horn; the Independent Publisher Book Award for Historical Fiction/ Military – for Hundred in
the Hand; the South Dakota Author of 2006; the 2005 Mountain Plains Literary
Contribution Award; and most recently, the 2008 PEN Center USA West Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction.
Marshall’s other books include: The Day
The World Ended at Little Big Horn; Keep
Going: The Art of Perseverance; The Journey of Crazy Horse; and The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living.