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Speak softly, carry a big stick

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in Leaders & Managers

When pirates captured Julius Caesar early in his career, they fell for Caesar’s charm and charisma while waiting for his ransom to arrive. Caesar showed such a winning personality that, although he warned the pirates that he would have them crucified for kidnapping him, they thought he was joking.

The pirates didn’t know with whom they were dealing. As soon as he was free, Caesar raised a squadron of troops, tracked down the pirates and killed them.

Lesson: Don’t make threats lightly, and don’t take them lightly.

— Adapted from Cicero, Anthony Everitt, Random House.

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