Your Idea Of An Ideal Leader:
Edwin Markham, in his famous biography of America’s great President, Abraham Lincoln, remarks in one place:
|Here was a man to hold against the world,
A man to match the mountains and the sea.
These two lines sum up my idea of an ideal leader. In the present day world, we find in every sphere a large number of so-called leaders. In fact, one feels that it would have been much better if there had been a much smaller number of them. It is so because in most cases these leaders have no other aim except to serve their own interests. Of course, we cannot expect everyone to rise to the height of President Lincoln. But certainly, we should like to see our leaders equipped with certain qualities, which are generally not found in the common man.
First, a leader should be a man of firm convictions and of strong determination. He should have enough courage to face continuous and strong opposition, and the strength to remain undeterred in the face of difficulties. A man not having such courage and strength can only bring humiliation and suffering to his followers. A steadfast adherence and loyalty to his ideals and sincerity of purpose are the essential qualities of a leader.
Secondly, the leader should have perseverance and patience. It is a matter of common experience that our every effort is not crowned with success. Only a man who has enough patience to smile in face of serious setbacks can continue his efforts with unfailing zeal can be fitfully acknowledged as the ideal leader.
Honesty is yet another quality that we must search for in the man whom we decide to follow. The ideal leader will be incorruptible. No amount of riches, power, or fame will be found enough to tempt him. A leader who can change the side for just “a riband coat” can only bring misery and trouble to his followers. And this is not all. A leader because his followers trust him too much, may acquire vast power. And we know that power has a great intoxicating influence. Therefore, a leader should not only be free from the temptation to acquire power in his hands but he should also know how to use it whenever it comes into his hands.
Martyrdom has often been the fate of many a leader. Socrates, Christ, Lincoln, Dayananda, Gandhi, and Indira- all these and many more leaders had to lay down their lives for their views. These were true leaders and their samples remind us that the price of leadership has often to be paid by life.
A leader should be large-hearted and possess the capacity to think over matters in a calm and sober manner. It often happens that the behavior and outlook of some person cause him pain. At such moments it is most inappropriate for a great leader to lose temper and display his anger. He should be able to overlook small matters and should not in any case give them too much importance. At times, again have has to take decisions when the atmosphere all around him is surcharged with emotion, and here his ability is to be put to a real test. He cannot afford to ignore popular sentiments and at the same time cannot ask his followers to do something which does not appeal to his own mind. At such moments he should try to persuade people to follow the path which in his opinion is the right one, and if he does not get success in his effort, he should be strong enough to risk his leadership and even life in opposing them. Gandhiji many times resorted to fasts unto death to prevent his followers from going in the wrong direction and thus risked his life. This is an example that should be emulated by all leaders.
An ideal leader is one who is firm in his convictions, whose integrity is never in doubt, who always tries to guide his followers to the tight path even at the risk of his own life, and who, if necessary, opposes his own followers when they are misled.