Good leadership is one of Odysseus’ main qualities that Homer accentuates. Because Odysseus is mortal, however, he is also fallible; his quandaries and mistakes help make the epic so engaging.
Part of what makes Odysseus a good leader is using sound judgment about when to follow others’ advice. According to Circe’s advice, for example, he organizes his crew to steer through Scylla and Charybdis. He has the men stop up their ears so they cannot heed the siren’s call, but first he has them lash him to the mast. He wants to be fully aware of the dangers but is sensible enough to anticipate he would lack the strength to resist them.
Even the best leader cannot control all the circumstances. His men’s bad behavior on the island of the Sun God, Helios, is an example of a time when he exercises good leadership, but it does not lead to a positive solution. The men are tired of being onboard ship with limited rations, and succumb to temptation. Finding Helios’ cattle irresistible, they slaughter, roast, and eat some while Odysseus is sleeping. Stepping up to manage the situation, he does get them away from the island.
Finally, Odysseus returns home to deal with the terrible mess the suitors have been making. He acts as a leader by serving both as a role model to his son, Telemachus, and by showing his prowess as a warrior. Although killing all the suitors may sound harsh, he understood the need to indisputably re-establish his claim to his home after being gone so long.