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What It Takes to be a Leader

      In life, one often may notice that the true difference between chaos and any smoothly functioning operation or activity is leadership! To me, a person who from a very young age has been a student and lover of history, government, and politics, leadership can only exists when an individual has clear goals. They want to accomplish something however; these true leaders have the ability to influence others toward achieving a group goal. It was American President Dwight D. Eisenhower who said, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” Another characteristic of a true leader in my view is one who can reach and connect with people on both an emotional level and a rational level. True leaders have personality, position, and expertise.

       Monarchs such as Peter I (the Great) of Russia, Elizabeth I (the Virgin Queen), British Prime Ministers such as William Pitt (the Younger), American Presidents such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt, and Generals such as John Churchill (Duke of Malborough), George Patton, and Dwight Eisenhower. These great men and women had power, prestige, position, and vast intelligence. In their respective times, they moved their people forward– not by pure fear, pure anger, or micromanaging. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, once said, “It is power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

     I personally have held and currently hold many different leadership positions both here at R-MA and in other civic organizations that I belong to within the community. While in elementary, middle and high school I held various leadership roles within Student Government and various Honor Societies. In college, I continued to hold leadership positions within Student Government, Residential Life, and Greek Societies both social as well as academic.

     I feel that the reason why I was elected to many of these positions is because I have lived by the very principles that I mentioned earlier. Anyone can call himself a leader, but you can’t be a true leader if you micromanage and refuse to listen to others, merely imitate, have a short-term view, or demand total control.  E.M. Kelly, of the US Army said, “The difference between a boss and leader: a boss says, “Go!” – a leader says, “Let’s go!”