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Leadership qualities

What qualities define good leaders? How deep is their need for recognition? How important are people to them? Who do you think about when the word ‘leader’ is used? Which of your childhood teachers inspired you, and why? Whose biographies did you as a young person? Whose now?
The Time 100 is the magazine’s list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. The list might contain the names of people the previous questions brought to your mind. Why – and how – did they become leaders? How do these people compare to today’s leaders?
Leadership is not confined to the famous. Do you recall any good bosses, mentors or supervisors you have had at work? Years ago I was trained using Blake and Mouton’s The Managerial Grid. Their questionaire asks whether the manager has more concern for people or production. Leaders at the extreme corners of the grid quadrants are characterized by type as Missionary, Executive, Autocrat or Deserter. At the center is the Compromiser.
The academic and business worlds devote a tremendous amount of time, thought, energy and money to nurturing leadership. Many former therapists and counselors are now “coaching” potential leaders. This coaching site lists the basics about leadership.
The James MacGregor Burns book on leadership is a classic, and yet has pertinence for today. The above ‘book’ link has an excellent exerpt from his book. MacGregor talks about our inability to distinguish leadership from mere power-holding. Does that sound like the problem in the last two presidential elections? Have the voters been good followers? Did we do our job of examining our potential leaders well enough?
This story illustrates a very poor example of leadership. President Bush made a recess appointment of our current U. N. ambassador. Ambassador John Bolton is now blocking a briefing to the Security Council on the situation in Sudan. Strangely, he claims that he wants more action and less talk. It just seems bizarre. Is the examination of Harriet Miers, nominated to be our next Supreme Court justice, related to her leadership capacity or something equally bizarre?
My blog S/SW has mostly focused on our government’s national leaders. I have been largely critical of Republican leaders, while examining Democratic leadership, as well. Bill Willers, in Common Dreams, asserts that the Republican administration is leading the country in the direction of massive privatization of many heretofore governmental roles and obligations. Many of believe that corporations are now far too powerful and dominant leadership role in the direction our nation is taking.
Many ask whether religion is too dominant in Iraq. The religious/political rivalries struggling to become dominant there give us new stories every day. SBCYahoo!News carried this story about the current and proposed evolution of the country’s new constitution, the central document laying out how people will lead in the future.
Here is a actual way to act in the direction of encouraging good leadership. Democracy for America has a way for you to sign on to only sending elected officials to Washington who will deal directly with the issue of the war in Iraq.


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