Though military activity was forbidden by Spartan law during the Carneia festival, King Leonidas decides to prepare for war with Xerxes before the Persian king and his troops could advance to Sparta. He knew that he would not get the support of the politicians to get the bigger Greek army to follow him. Therefore he chose 300 Spartans who had sons to carry on their names to be his bodyguards and decides go to war. His vision and strategy was to block the only road through which the massive army of Xerxes could pass. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back their enemies in one of the famous last stands of history. Leonidas was self-confident and had a strong moral conviction in his course and the ability to inspire trust among his followers to achieve his goals. He is seen as both charismatic and transformational as he could convey his vision and form strong emotional bonds with his followers. Transformational leaders take charismatic leadership one step further in that they can articulate a compelling vision of the future and also motivate and influence followers to transcend self-interest for the benefit of society.
In the final stand-off with the Persians, betrayed by Ephialtes, Leonidas commands his Spartans to fight until death for the sake of their country. Though Leonidas knew that death was certain, true to the Spartan tradition, they decide to stick to their code of honour on what it means to be a Spartan. Though the Spartans faced insurmountable odds in terms of numbers, a true Spartan warrior is always willing to die for his country. They define themselves by sacrifice and freedom. At the ‘Hot Gates”, as the Persians surrounded the Spartans, Xerxes’s general demands their surrender declaring that...