The Eye of the World - Chapter 46 & 47 [#100Days, Day 31]

Leadership Insight: The Man From The North

    We've seen inklings of what Lan is like through this point, but always an external assessment.  A man who prefers action to words, exhibits tremendous skill with a sword, and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of his enemies; we know surprisingly little about him at this point.  In the cold spring in the Borderlands, we finally see a lot more into Lan's turmoil.

    "Lan - no! - Dai Shan, for you are a Diademed Battle Lord of Malkier, whatever you say.  Dai Shan, the Golden Crane banner in the van would put hear into men who know they are riding north to die.  The word will spread like wildfire, and though their kings have told them to hodl where they are, lances will come from Arafel and Kandor, and even from Saldaea.  Though they cannot come in time to stand with us in the Gap, they may save Shienar."
    Lan peered into his wine.  His face did not change, but wine slopped over his hand; the silver goblet crumpled in his grip.  A servant took the ruined cup and wiped the Warder's hand with a cloth; a second put a fresh goblet in his hand while the other was whisked away.  Lan did not seem to notice.  "I cannot!" he whispered hoarsely.  When he raised his head his blue eyes burned with a fierce light, but his voice was calm again, and flat.  "I am a Warder, Agelmar."  His gaze slid across Rand and Mat and Perrin to Moiraine.  "At first light I ride to the Blight."
Agelmar and Lan, The Eye of the World, p. 587

    Never has Lan had such an emotional display of conflict between the personal and professional.  A part of him very clearly holds an allegiance to defending his homeland by fighting in the thick of battle.  Another, just as clearly, holds an oath sworn to Moiraine above family, friends and home.  In either case, the enemy is the same.  That, perhaps, makes the internal turmoil that much greater; leaving him wondering if he's made the right choice.  The Borderlands have long been the frontline against the enemy; for them to fail pushes the rest of the world to the brink of collapse.  Chasing a legend deep in the Blight on a hope that it will result in a favorable outcome is quite the leap of faith; especially for a man such as Lan.  Yet he swore an oath to serve.

    The leader as servant is an important framework to grasp.  It's not about subsuming oneself to the overall whims of an organization and becoming a mindless drone; but to ensure that the leader is actively participating in achieving the goals of the organization.  It enables the leader to spend time teaching instead of preaching.  Part of that teaching involves learning; learning about the organization and it's people and what their strengths are to drive them towards success more effectively.

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