Regimes around the world have been crumbling as large protests amass globally. There is unrest among the civilian population who seek strong leaders free from corruption and greed. The Arab Spring has lead to overthrows in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and numerous other surrounding countries. The Occupy Wall Street movement is sweeping the nation and protesters are refusing to back down. With large social media outlets available on-line, these revolutions never go undocumented and inspire countless other would be docile citizens to take action. These often justified up rises around the world beg the all important question; what makes a good leader?
Leadership qualities are determined by several characteristics. One of the most important traits in an effective leader is communication. People in charge need to listen to their constituents and their needs. In fact, it is commonly believed that a leader is responsible for serving its people; not the other way around. Communication means openness to new ideas. There needs to be a public forum in which people can inform of their grievances. A leader should listen to their people, hear what they have to say and develop a plan to meet their needs whenever possible. A leader who does not serve public interest is nothing more than a dictator.
Of course, it should not be expected that everyone will agree to any particular decision. This is where the ability to compromise plays a very important role. Leadership skills dictate that given a situation with several particular outcomes, it may be wisest to change initial thoughts and procedures. Compromise was once defined as, “where both parties leave unhappy.” This demonstrates that ruling with an iron fist is no longer acceptable and sometimes sacrifices will have to be made. It is foolish to think that any person is right all the time. However, an effective leader will be able to admit when they are wrong and change course to mitigate further harm done by prior actions in order to restore public support.
This being said, a good leader is not without a backbone. It necessary for a leader to be strong willed in the times where compromise is not a viable action. Like Winston Churchill in World War II or George Washington in the Revolutionary War, some pursuits are worthy of fighting for, even if it means casualties. A leader should be able to distinguish between situations that necessitate negotiation versus those which allow for no compromise. Furthermore, a leader should act as swiftly as possible. Procrastination is not an effective way to take charge.
A leader should not be corrupted by corporate interest. Previously stated was the importance of leaders to serve the people. While corporations may employee citizens of the country, often times, there are ulterior motives. Leaders should be able to rule without influence from large companies and do what is best for their country and its people. This means the ability to say no and standing by the citizens in their support.
If a leader is in a precarious situation in which they are not able to solve by themselves, they should be able to ask for help from allies and neighboring countries for help. Open forums, like the United Nations, serve as a global support system for countries in need of assistance. Leaders should only use these services when the situation is dire and the public interest is in jeopardy.
Taking these steps will create the most effective leader. Being open to suggestions and always ruling with the public interest in mind is imperative for success in today’s society. Remember, with high tech cellphones, the internet and social media outlets, the whole world is watching.