Artemios Miropoulos is the Managing Director of Linkage Greece. In this role , he applies his extensive business background to coaching executives at global organizations, including Astir Hotels, Johnson & Johnson, Mercedes Benz, Motorola, Roche, Valencia, and Vodafone, among others.
He cherishes history, archaeology, story telling and writing, all culminating to his 2015 publication of his first book, The Nameless King-15 Stories of Leadership from Ancient Greece, sold exclusively in The Public, Greece’s biggest bookseller and via Amazon.
Artemios has has a wife and three daughters and lives just outside Athens, in a landscape of wineries, the homeland of retsina wine, crossed by the Classical Marathon road trail.
How would you introduce yourself and the work that you do to our readers?
What I do for the past 17 years or more is teach people how to lead. It has been a long journey during which I have seen the topic of my teaching treat and trick me at the same time. Leadership is a fascinating subject I am still exploring. In the course of my ‘self-actualization’ (to use good old Maslow) I have written a book called The Nameless King-25 stories of Leadership from Ancient Greece and I have taken up a post graduate degree in prehistoric archaeology at the University of Athens. Of course my identity would never be complete without my three lovely daughters and Julie.
How did you become interested in that area?
Leadership was not invented in the 21st century, so while it is reasonable to look ahead for new trends and concepts it is also a smart thing to look backwards and decode the signs of past societies. We all know Greece has a unique historical heritage and by studying the original sources I have discovered extraordinary events that could fill the scripts for dozens of Hollywood blockbusters. Not everyone likes history but we all love stories. So that’s what I do; I am telling stories people will never forget and then I bring it to their present business reality.
While teaching Leadership you realize there are burning questions that cannot be answered in a convincing manner just by going through management literature. “Can we be friends with our subordinates?” or “Was Leonidas right when he killed the Persian messengers in ‘This is Sparta’?” These questions have long ago been answered and our ancestors are are transmitting the right answer to us through centuries with signs, symbols or myths.
What’s the most important concept or idea that you teach people?
There is god-like image carrying a lamb on his shoulders as a shepherd, and this goes for Christianity as well as Islam along with the relevant quotes from the holy books. There is an equivalent 6th century BC marble statue of a man carrying a calf on his shoulders at the Acropolis Museum. The meaning here is that a Leader needs to care and carry other people’s burdens.
Before I start teaching anything I urge my audience to agree on two working assumptions: Subordinates are as clever as we are, and whatever we feel it shows on our face. We are not teaching acting or just ‘communications skills.’ People will follow you if they feel you care about them, and this shows. So if you want to lead people you first need to make sure you really and sincerely care about people. And this, as strange as it might sound, can be developed.
What do you think is the most important piece of practical advice that we can derive from your work?
Since we talk about storytelling we all have great stories to tell, from our own experiences, or family history or things we heard to books we read. We only need to retrieve these from the deeper layers of our memory, brush them up and take our time to share them with love. We have learnt that speed is a good thing. Well, it isn’t when you want to tell a good story or when you want to show that you care. And another thing: books say you first need to decide on what is the point you want to make and then find the story that will get you there. I believe every good story has a good point to pass. I always start from the story.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to learn more about what you do?
Well I guess reading The Nameless King would be a good start. Just before the pandemic we only did live sessions where I am using short videos (from History Channel and such) and pictures that help me ‘dramatize’ some of my stories. After relating the stories (which people say it is a powerful experience) we debate on advanced leadership topics, like making difficult decisions on values, trust, inclusion and biases, powerful women leaders and others.
I have done that in Germany and the US (and of course Greece) and I am telling you it is amazing how much alike people react and how close are our leadership challenges. Hopefully we will soon get back there, me traveling and presenting and teaching, but we all know our virtual footprint is here to stay, so my company will be releasing short Leadership videos soon.
Suppose you were giving a talk at the original location of Plato’s Academy…
I live in Athens, where strolling among such places feels normal. So I guess I would feel pretty much at home. The myth says that there was a sign overarching the door in Plato’s academy “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter.”
One of the core leadership commitments is the need to ‘Become’ which means that you need to constantly and globally evolve. Many seek their “become” journey assuming they invest on a degree similar to their professional occupation. Plato’s suggestion about geometry means you can find true growth in seemingly diverse fields where there is balance, harmony and where your heart truly flourishes.