In the Iliad, Homer explores numerous qualities that make a good leader and suggests that very few people can embody all those qualities. Honor is one of the key qualities, and the truly honorable man must not only stand up for himself, but also show loyalty to his family, comrades, homeland, and the gods.
Courage should be shown in battle but also through taking a stand for one’s principles. Especially in warfare, courage will also be shown through one’s willingness to sacrifice one’s life for others. Hector is an exemplary leader as well as a heroic warrior. Agamemnon is also an eminent leader, except when his judgment is impaired by arrogance.
Throughout the epic, Homer shows that many of the problems that led to the war originated in dishonorable behavior, notably Paris stealing Helen. Menelaus is justified in leading his people into the war, because not only his wife but their collective honor must be restored. Hector is encouraged in his development as an outstanding leader through the example of his father, Priam, who can keep a level head in times of crisis. Hector shows tremendous prowess in battle, both in fighting and rallying his men. His loyalty to his family and his people motivates him, regardless of his views of Paris’s actions. Agamemnon, as brother to Menelaus, nobly bears the burden of supporting his family and all Greeks. Nevertheless, his personal feelings get in the way of his leadership, notably in his treatment of Achilles.