The Qualities of a Leader as discussed in the essays "Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau and "The Qualities of the Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli

Essay by ab1273College, UndergraduateA, February 2004

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Leadership is the most important quality for the head of our nation, or any other political leader. To be a good leader, you must have many attributes that qualify you for such a huge responsibility. There are good crisis leaders who would fail in a period of "calm." There are excellent leaders for issues involving strong social developments, while these same leaders may fail in attempting to lead in an environment where economic developments control the agenda. What is clear, is that leadership is a multidimensional concept. We have consistently found that good leaders have passion and values, confidence yet humility, knowledge and realism. Possession of these attributes and the ability to use them and develop them in others is the foundation for reaching goals and being successful in a leadership position.

An effective leader is a person with a passion for the causes that are important to their people, someone with a dream and a vision that will better society.

Henry David Thoreau, who was imprisoned for not paying the Massachusetts poll tax, had very strong beliefs that society needed a reform. Thoreau was setting an example for the people who wanted a better government that they could respect. He believed that people should have the right to refuse allegiance to the government when its tyranny is unendurable. Without passion, a leader will not make necessary, courageous and difficult decisions, and carry them into action. Leadership implies values. A leader must have values that are life-giving to society. This also implies values that are embedded in respect for others. Respect means also that one can deal with diversity. Diversity is one of the things in America today that makes having a good political leader so important. Having a single leader over the entire nation creates a sense of...