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Blupete's Weekly Commentary


May 17th, 1998.

"On Leadership"

A leader is one who is capable of exerting authority. Workable and sustainable authority comes to those who have the consent of those over whom authority is exercised; it stems from custom and tradition. When a leader is required, in times of fear and deprivation, a group will find a leader. Aristotle identified three qualities which must be possessed by a leader. They are ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos is one's disposition or character; pathos is when one can readily touch the feelings of others and emotionally spur them into action; and logos is the ability to give solid reasons for the action, to move people intellectually.

If a person would be a leader, he must, as Shelley put it, "rule the empire of himself." He must first vanquish his own will and quell the anarchy within himself; he cannot afford to have, like normal people, regular hopes and regular fears; he must steel himself to "being himself alone." Having defined himself, the would be leader, must pass on, and, in an authoritative fashion, define the group's situation for itself. Thus, the primary function of the leader is diagnostic, first of himself, then of the group. Only after this, does the leader progress to his or her second and third functions, viz., prescribe a course of action and see that the action is taken.

A good leader will be one who is possessed of culture, one who will have a passion for "sweetness and light"; he or she will be a citizen of the universe; he or she will readily extend his hand to his fellow man and help him understand the larger questions; he or she will wisely estimate and value the goals of society, and the means by which they shall be achieved; he or she will be a historian, and as such will understand the present and its relationship to the past, and the future.

A leader's cause must be the common cause. He or she can either change the thinking of the people, a difficult though not an impossible task; or adopt the common cause as his own. What is for sure, is that the leader must be in accord with the general bias.

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Peter Landry

May, 1998 (2011)