Edmund Burke once wrote, “The true lawgiver ought to have a heart full of sensibility. He ought to love and respect his kind, and to fear himself.” Burke was emphasizing that leadership is a passionate activity.
It begins with a warm gratitude toward that which you have inherited and a fervent wish to steward it well. It is propelled by an ardent moral imagination, a vision of a good society that can’t be realized in one lifetime.
It is informed by seasoned affections, a love of the way certain people concretely are and a desire to give all a chance to live at their highest level.
Whenever and wherever human beings are gathered together in large numbers, they need leadership. Even children need their school prefects and schools captains, Army’s need Generals. Civilians need governments, captains of industry and intellectual leaders of thought as well.
People whether from East or the West, require to be led and each group ‘throws up’ its own leaders in each succeeding generation. Whether in the school-room, or on the battlefield or in governmental deliberations, people who are natural leaders and who are chosen to lead, always have the same qualities of character and of outlook.
In the first place, it is the personal qualities that count for most, in other words, the personality. A leader, in any sphere, must be someone who can be looked up to and respected. His personal judgment must be trusted and he must be able to evoke love and warmth from those he leads. So the, the first quality of a leader is that he must have the ability to win over men’s hearts.
Secondly, he must have intellectual control over his followers and a mind that is capable of assimilation what is true and what is right and then of exerting this over others. It is useless, no matter what personal qualities or what intellectual prowess a man may have, if he lacks the initiative and the will to lead and to rally men around him. He must also in his search for truth have great powers of concentration.
Again, a leader must possess this mysterious thing we call “character” is meant strength of will, clarity of mind, tenacity and determination. In other words “character” is knowing what you want to do and being ruthlessly determined to do it.
Throughout world history, most presidents had small personal staffs. They steered through political waters as amateurs, relying on experience, instinct and conversations with friends, but unfortunately our leaders mostly rely on their large staffs.
Every successive administration has taken power away from cabinet agencies and centralized more of it with those political professionals who control messaging from within the presidential house.
Hence we have become a consultant society and in this sort of society most important faculties central to decision making are experience, intuition, affection, moral sentiments, imagination and genuineness associated with professional tactics and strategy regarding public opinion analysis, message control, media management and self-conscious positioning.
There is, too the good leader and the bad leader, of which Hitler, is a striking example of bad leader because it is possible to have all the qualities of leadership without the most important one of all.
This is a moral sense of right and wrong and the right kind of “love” which is emphasized in many of the world’s great religions.
The final test of a good leader is, of course, the question: “Do men follow him?” The answer will be “Yes” if, combined with strength of character, the ability to evoke love, a clear brain and a fair minded outlook, he also has a knowledge and respect for truth, honesty and fair play. Such a man surely possesses the spark of leadership and men will look upon to him and follow him.