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What makes a person a true leader?

August 17, 2012
Daily Press


This is the year for electing the president of the United States. So it's a fitting time to explore the qualities of true leadership.

The presidency is preeminently a place of moral leadership. All our great presidents were leaders at times when certain historic ideas in the life of the nation had to be clarified. The stakes in any U.S. presidential election are high since the winning candidate will occupy the most powerful position on earth able to effect the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, as well as the people of other nations of the world and their standards of living. Is such a power and influence the key to leadership?

Does seeking and obtaining a position of leadership along with the authority, responsibilities and decision-making that accompany that position make someone a leader? Or is there more to it than that? Just what constitutes a true leader?

Here are some of the following characteristics that I think up a true leader.

- True leaders begin with humanity.

- True leaders love people.

- True leaders are inclusive.

- True leaders serve others.

- True leaders aren't envious of others.

- True leaders value and strive for good character.

- True leaders emulate great leaders.

George Washington was perhaps the most effective leader of all U.S. presidents. Washington's superior leadership qualities was his fearless role in rallying troops in 1755 during the French and Indian War.

Washington came forward to rally the troops, riding back and forth among their remnants, and had two horses shot out beneath him and his coat pierced by four musket balls.

He escaped without a scratch and saved many lives by risking his own. This occasion showed him to be a man of courage in the face of a lost cause and earned him the moniker "man of destiny," well before his later great endeavors.

Washington's leadership qualities compared to more recent political antics in the city that bears his name highlight the fact that the terms leader and leadership aren't always synonymous.

Mudsliding, denigrating stories regarding a candidate may be researched and exploited or even invented by the opposition's supporters. Is this what true leadership is all about? Not all leaders display good leadership.

Who will step forward with grand ideas and talent to be a great leader? Time will tell.

Anita Carlson




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