Great leader have been associated with many characters. There are schools of thought who argue that great leaders are born naturally others argue that they are made; still others believe that great leaders are both born naturally and also have to be developed to reach their leadership exploitation levels. For a person to be seen as a leader there must be a situation which requires that he shows direction to the others (followers). Such kind of situations often vary in the in the kind o f leadership that they require.
For a leader to be a great leader the situation under which he guided his/her followers must be extra ordinary one. This essay will present an argument that great leaders are ordinary people who are thrown into extra ordinary circumstances. This will be shown by the use of three examples of some of the great leaders; an activist, a political leader and a thinker. The paper is divided into two sections with the first section defining what constitutes a great leader by examining some of the suggested traits which great leaders are assumed to have. The second section will discuss three great leaders showing how they were ordinary, and showing the extra ordinary circumstance in they were in. the paper then discusses how they able to provide some sense of direction through the particular situation in question.
Section I: What makes a Great leader?
A list if traits have been listed by various authors in an attempt to describe what makes a great leader. Some of the most common traits discussed are explained below:
Great leaders have been known to have great determinations. They seem to have some sort of fire burning from within which pushes them to keep on fighting towards achieving their objectives. According to Lee (2010), a great leader is one who has, "inexhaustible stock of determination" (par. 2). Lee (2010) argues that a great leader takes the initiative of an idea and in most cases never gives up but in case he does he is usually the last one to do that. Such ideas are usually not far fetched from the ordinary people and in most cases the ordinary people usually identify with the ideas. The leader's determination makes it possible for the leaders to accomplish their projects (Lee, 2009).
Great leaders are known to adjust to various situations.
Flexibility makes it possible for leaders to fit into different into different situations and offer different solutions which are viewed from different points. Adjusting appropriately to a situation makes it possible to solve it no matter (Lee, 2009).
Great leaders are known to be resourceful. This makes them to be looked upon as the source of inspiration as well as guidance by the followers. Being resourceful makes it possible for the leaders to be great leaders. Resourcefully of a leader is exhibited during crisis times and in extraordinary circumstances. Lee (2010) views resourcefulness as a, "powerful leadership tool" (par. 6). Closely related to resourcefulness is creativity. According to Lee (2010), creativity can be defined as, "being able to solve a problem with the least amount of time, money and effort" (par. 7). Just like resourceful, creativity is manifested during crisis times when there are much to meet that the means available to satisfy the needs (Lee, 2009).
Great leader need to be confident of themselves. This is important because it will it possible for the followers to confidently and obediently follow their leader in the course. Self confidence will also entail having a positive attitude towards the course the leader is pursuing. The leader should also be very responsible of the people he/she is leading. Being responsible of the people you are leading gives the followers a sense of belonging. A great will always safeguard the interest of the followers. This is quite significant as it will make the followers to be committed towards the course of action of their leaders (Lee, 2009; Baldon, 2005).
A great leader inspires through communication with his/her subjects. Clear communication makes it possible for the leader to inspire the followers and pass on the vision to them. Communication is very significant because without communication it is not possible for a leader to have followers. Followers form an equally important element of leadership as the leader because without the followers them leadership does not exist (Lee, 2009; Baldon, 2003).
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Consistency and fore casting
A great leader is one who displays consistency in his work and goals. This persistency motivates the followers to keep on pursuing the vision of their leader. Persistency calls for the leader to be forecasted. A great leader knows what is ahead and that knowledge keeps the fire to achieve his/her goal burning within him/her (Lee, 2009).
Generally a great leader might not possess all this qualities but at least he/she should have many of them. These traits set great leaders apart from just leaders. They help the great leader to respond swiftly respond to extraordinary situations. The second section examines three great leaders and discusses how the above traits were exploited by great leaders in pursuing their goals.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhiwas born inOctober 2, 1869 and passed away in January 30, 1948. He was a great leader in his time: political and spiritual leader. He led the Indian people to fight for independence through the Indian independence movement. He pioneered the Satyagraha. This was the resistance to, "tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence" ("Leaders" n.d.). It should be noted that this movement was quite significant and was responsible for, "inspiration of movements for civil right an d freedoms across the world" ("Leaders" n.d.). His influence has been great: his birthday is a national holiday in India and it has been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly as the "International Day of Non-Violence" ("Leaders" n.d.).
A lawyer by profession he first tried out his vision of freeing men from brutalism in South Africa. He did this in the Indian community, South Africa, who were struggling for civil rights. When he went back to India he embarked on a large scale implementation of his vision. According to the "Leaders" (n.d.), "he organized poor farmers and laborers to protest against oppressive taxation and widespread discrimination" ("Leaders" n.d., par. 2). He used very simple means of nonviolence to force the British out of a India. It should be noted that no other country had ever used peaceful demonstration as a weapon to fight and win a war. This great leader advocated for non-violence and truth in his campaigns even in situation that the "Leaders" (n.d.) refers to as, "extreme situations" (par. 5).
Gandhi led a very ordinary life, "he lived simply, organizing an ashram that was self-sufficient in its needs" ("Leaders" n.d., par. 3). He made his own clothes which consisted of, "the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl woven with a charkha" ("Leaders" n.d., par. 3) and survived on a vegetarian diet.
This was a Chinese thinker and writer about government. Born in 551 BC and did in 479 BC the philosophy of his time have greatly the Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese culture. He taught students who wished to official government positions. He was a teacher of a different taste: unlike his predecessors he showed himself as a great leader by, "accepting students who were not of noble birth" and thus his students were not strictly those already in the government position but the ordinary people who had a desire to attain the official positions (Confucius, n.d.).
Confucius's philosophy laid much emphasize on the personal and government morality. He also taught about correctness of social justice, relationship and sincerity. The philosophies he taught gained more fame than other doctrines of his time. His philosophies gained dominance for two consecutive millennia and actually has developed into a system of philosophy referred to as Confucianism. The influence of this leader has gone far and wide with his philosophies being widely studied (Confucius, n.d.).
Confucius institutes have been set up around the world to help people learn the Chinese language and Culture. Within the country of china his philosophies are being embraced after being rejected for a long time and blamed for creating a social structure which allowed foreigners to dominate over the Chinese and exploit them. It should be noted that the philosophies of Confucius gave a chance to ordinary people to ascend to the official government positions. He was a simple ordinary man who gave his life to teaching ordinary people with a desire to be in official government positions. At present, Confucius is regarded as, "a founding father of the Chinese identity and cultural tradition" (Confucius, n.d.).
George Walker Bush
This was the forty-third President of the U.
S.A. H e was elected the Governor of Texas in 1994 and as president in 2000. It should be noted that he lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote. Under the presidency, Bush made some major changes: he signed a $1.35 trillion tax cut program, and the No Child Left Behind Act. He made a number of wars fighting terrorism. The war on Iraq has particularly faced a lot of criticism. The war on Iraq was empty Iraq of weapons of mass destruction but quite unfortunately or fortunately the weapons were not found (Dubya, n.d.).
It should be noted that Bush was re-elected in 2004. As president, Bush had the most extreme rankings in the history of the US presidents. The domestic approval varied from as low as 24 to as high as 90. The average disapproval; however, was 65 percent. Outside the US the disapproval ranking were even higher going as far as 88 percent in Spain. It should be noted that his way of response to the 11 September attacks gave him the highest approval ever (Dubya, n.d.).
Great leaders influence people to a great extent. In most cases their philosophies outlive them and they live behind legacies which are followed and even commemorated later by future generations. These people have got special traits which enable them to respond to various situations and gain the approval of their followers.