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A Political Leader

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 18 Nov 2020 | comments*Discuss
Political Leader Leadership Government

The world is full of aspiring political leaders but sadly, very few live up to the leadership ideals. In fact, many political leaders seem to severely lack some of the most important leadership qualities, such as integrity and accountability. It is no coincidence that for many people, the word “politician” has such negative connotations! However, history – and present day – shows us that there are still a few who come close to the leadership ideals and who are good examples of an effective political leader.

Leadership In A Political Framework

Political leaders are vitally important – through the authority of government, they assess the distribution of power and resources, build relationships with other stakeholders and make decisions that can have great impact on the well-being of a nation and its people.

Leadership in the political framework requires a focus on the long-term good of a country, above and ahead of any personal short-term gains. Good political leadership requires a combination of charisma and integrity, as well as the ability to assess a situation and make a decision based on what would be best for the greatest number of people. Most of all, leadership in a political framework requires ‘statesmanship’ – as opposed to just being a ‘politician’ – this means having the integrity and willingness to stand up for what is right, even if it means resigning a position in government or losing an election.

What Makes A Good Political Leader?

Ironically, those who make good political leaders are often those who least want the position in the first place! These are individuals who do not seek power but who have authority conferred upon them by others who value their judgement.

So what makes a good political leader? A good political leader is:

  • someone who serves as an example of integrity and loyalty to the people they represent, both to the public and to other political leaders .
  • someone with good communication and inter-personal skills, who can work with a range of other people, regardless of political party or opinion, to achieve the greatest good for the general population.
  • someone who can resist the various temptations and lures of the political arena
  • someone of strong character, with both conscience and charisma
  • someone willing to listen to the needs of the common people and to represent them faithfully
  • someone with the courage to stand up and say what needs to be said – rather than just tell the general public what it wants to hear
  • someone who is willing to make difficult (and possibly unpopular) decisions for the greater good.
An effective political leader will have a leadership style that focuses on coalition and building, while an ineffective leadership situation results from a leader who is a “hustler” – i.e.. who uses manipulation to get what they want, instead of inspiration and motivation. While negotiation and even coercion are sometimes necessary, a good political leader will always try to use persuasion first.

Taking Responsibility…

One of the key leadership qualities many political leaders lack is ability to take responsibility. A lot of political leaders are very adept at pointing the finger at everyone else and few seem able to accept responsibility for their mistakes, admit their political failures and acknowledge their own contribution to a problem.

Accountability is crucial to effective political leadership, as without this, there will be no respect from the followers. A good political leader is someone who will be honest and responsible for their own actions and decisions and who is willing to admit when they have made a mistake. They will focus their energies and time on representing the people rather than spending all the time “covering their backs” and criticising others.

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This Article is very paramount to me, a big thank to the writer. I want to ask a question, the question is which book is good to read if you want to become a politician.
Degreat - 18-Nov-20 @ 7:41 PM
The author has missed to differentiate between leadership and stewardship... ThoughHe has stated correctly the key word,statesmanship...
PK - 29-Oct-18 @ 8:11 PM
This article is super dope.I have searched for so much on leadership, but political leadership discussion of this type has created and responded in the right way. Bravo!
Taiman - 25-Jul-18 @ 2:51 AM
Cutey - Your Question:
Nice article and it is very useful too may I know who is the author of this article?

Our Response:
The author's name is listed at the top of the article.
LeadershipExpert - 2-Jul-18 @ 10:35 AM
Nice article and it is very useful too may I know who is the author of this article?
Cutey - 1-Jul-18 @ 12:35 PM
well said thanks for sharing such a good information....
keribolton - 22-Mar-18 @ 8:24 AM
Case scenario: Nelson Mandela was a gifted visionary. He exercised a full range of cognitive, emotional and behavioral abilities to bring about profound change in South Africa. He anticipated! Mandela looked ahead and could see that South Africa’s system of apartheid would not survive into the future. From his prison cell, he strategically assessed his moves and anticipated reactions. When offered freedom in exchange for renouncing opposition to the government, Mandela rebuked President Botha: “What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remains banned? … What freedom am I being offered if I must ask permission to live in an urban area?” Mandela decided to serve out his sentence rather than exchange it for the political prison of apartheid. His vision was right. The outside world recoiled against South Africa, while local business leaders and young whites pushed for change domestically. (Folarin Leonard, Dept of Mass Communication, Caleb university, Lagos)
Folarin Leonard - 24-Jan-18 @ 1:20 AM
This Is A Greak Work. It Has Helped Me In My Research Work. Thanks A Lot.
Fryo - 3-Oct-17 @ 5:45 AM
Cohen has mentionedseven principles that make a good and I believe an effective political leader, that in principal we lack in Africa. We can hardly find one in our African political spheres leaders with such attributes. We lack institutions that help shape minds and good character of good political leader. This article is really educative.
josh - 16-Jul-17 @ 5:43 AM
This article is very resourceful and i have really understood the purpose of political leadership. #"...If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favourable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects." 1Kings 12:7
JListon - 27-Sep-16 @ 9:32 AM
Responsibilities of a Political leader is to stand not only in times of good but in times of bad too.
klim - 17-Feb-16 @ 4:58 PM
Who is the author of this article?
Me123 - 19-Dec-12 @ 1:01 AM
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