Good Leader: Leadership Qualities
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity”. In this biblical passage Proverbs 11.3, the meaning of integrity is emphasized bringing its importance to the surface. Being a great leader can and does mean many different things to different people. The greatest of all leaders exhibit certain qualities and traits that make them hugely successful. Some of these qualities include honesty, integrity, decisiveness, courage, and passion. For one to be considered great, they are thought to be above average, while being a leader is one that leads or commands. What exactly does it mean to be both? Being a great leader does not always mean that one is always successful, it means one is well-intended and capable of his or her responsibility. Great leadership evolves around many things with integrity being the most important. Without integrity effective leadership cannot and will not exist.
In the past, many leadership styles have been brought to light. Some are more effective than others while certain styles seem to work for some but not others. All leadership styles have the same end goal, but they do not always have the same outcome. As a nation, we have learned many valuable lessons due to the leaders that have been placed in power. We have had leaders that have failed us, leaders that have been average, and leaders that have surpassed our expectations as a nation. A leader that comes to mind that surpassed our expectations is Ronald Reagan. Of Reagan’s many strengths, his ability to unite our nation was exceptional. He never sought to divide. He always spoke to us as “we” – citizens connected by the same love for America, the same values of family, faith, neighborhood, work, peace, and freedom. Dinesh D’Souza said in his book, Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader ” Ronald Reagan is a thoughtful and honest assessment of how this underestimated president became a truly extraordinary leader”.
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The idea that influence, power, and authority make a great leader is not at all accurate. Many theories try to explain leadership based on these qualities but at the end of the day, if a leader cannot connect openly and honestly with his followers, he may only be considered a power-hungry dictator. As a nation, we may remember the deeds of leaders both negative and positive depending on their leadership style. We tend to remember harsh individuals more often because they seem to “rub us the wrong way”. We also tend to remember leaders that are ineffective because of the negative ramifications that seem to follow. The leaders that have been remembered as great all tend to be open, honest, and transparent with their followers. Most effective leaders lead by example, and understand the importance of their relationship with their followers
To have integrity means one is honest and has strong moral principles. When Reagan took office in 1981 he had many people that doubted his abilities. He did not grow up wealthy, did not have a great education, and was formerly a movie star. He was doubted based on what people knew of his past and who they thought he was as a person. He maintained honesty and integrity throughout his Presidential career and did what he thought was best for our nation. He did not hesitate to refer to our enemies as “evil” and did not back down from what he felt was best for our nation. Reagan was dignified, respectful, and lead by example. Reagan’s critics consistently said that he would fail miserably. Yet, not once did he break stride or lose his humor. When his job was finished, he sought no praise, gave all credit to God and to the American people, whom he loved more than anything else on earth, except Nancy. Suitably, Mother Theresa noted, “In this man, greatness and simplicity are one.”