Traits of leadership.

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C_Claycomb

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I think that having the power to execute anyone who displeases you, along with their whole family, probably erodes the need and use of good leadership skills.

People will follow all sorts of ridiculous things, think of the scene from Life of Brian; just because you have succeeded in acquiring a crowd of followers does not make you a good leader.

@TLM,
While they were successful, at least for a while, I doubt that they displayed many of the characteristics we have been talking about as the qualities of good leaders. Stalin didn't make those around him feel safe and valued. The Kims do not act on behalf of their people, waddling around like barrels while the people starve. None were noted for listening to others.
 
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Van-Wild

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Sorry guys, but nobody said 'good leaders' had to be 'good people' :)

There are a number of quite awful people historically that have been excellent leaders in as much as they managed to talk millions of people into following them no matter how extreme the mission.
You misread 'leader' with manipulator......

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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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You misread 'leader' with manipulator......

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I disagree, in times of conflict and national emergency, many of those people managed to convince their populations by making them see a vision of a better future. There was an understanding of the majority need, vision, belief, trust, the list goes on and ticks so many of the boxes for what has been described earlier as 'good leadership'. Just because atrocities were committed by the leaders and the followers doesn't make it 'bad leadership'.
 

Wander

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Jan 6, 2017
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I think that having the power to execute anyone who displeases you, along with their whole family, probably erodes the need and use of good leadership skills.

Well, yes. But that wasn't the point I was making.
I wasn't referring to the one who banged the gavel and passed sentence, I was thinking about all those who would support such a decision (members of public, like you and me) and go along with it, even when they otherwise claim to feel the opposite (i.e. killing someone is bad).
I was suggesting that people 'follow' if they can be absolved of guilt in making a decision in the first place - the Nuremburg defence: 'I was just obeying orders'.
I was musing on the idea that people become followers because they don't want to stand out by making an important decision. And maybe that's what makes a leader - a decision maker.
And Broch's raising the (quite right) point that good leaders needn't be good people gave the discussion a moral component. If a good leader doesn't need to be a good person then that suggests that leaders are, at best, amoral (not to be confused with immoral) and, at worst, immoral (not to be confused with amoral).
 

Van-Wild

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@Wander you make good points. It is the moral component for me which is a sticking point on leadership. If a leader were to push an immoral act, I would disobey and challenge their position. It is the moral component that stops the majority from commiting atrocities.

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TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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There is a problem with identifying historic figures as 'true leaders' as history has a habit of romanticising events. However, just off the top of my head, I would suggest Mahatma (Mohandas) Gandhi, Fidel Castro and Napoleon Bonaparte showed 'true leadership' qualities beyond the normal business manager or military officer.
You met these people????
 
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TLM

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While they were successful, at least for a while, I doubt that they displayed many of the characteristics we have been talking about as the qualities of good leaders.
While I am not fond of any of the people on that list, some of them were very successful for fairly long time. Without doubt they were leaders, dictators, killers, some just products of their time. I don't think there is anything in the theory that says that one has to be a "positive" leader.

Kims kill North Korens at an appalling rate and the Chinese are not far behind numberwise, might actually be ahead. We all buy Chinese products though (I try to avoid when ever possible).

It is probable that being a ruthless dictator is very much easier than an even somewhat democratic leader.

All things considered it is not easy to be a leader of any nation.
 

TeeDee

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Hope we can steer this interesting ( - to me at least ) topic back from semi political despots and mass killers to more grass roots environment.

So , do you need strong charisma levels to be a Leader? Can you be a leader without charm and still be followed?
 

TLM

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Leonidas had a bit of leadership skills.
"Molon labe", he was a hereditary (military) king of Sparta. He believed in augurs and that did somewhat affect his decisions. He did make the wrong decisions after he heard about Efialtes's guiding of the Persians.
 

TeeDee

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"Molon labe", he was a hereditary (military) king of Sparta. He believed in augurs and that did somewhat affect his decisions. He did make the wrong decisions after he heard about Efialtes's guiding of the Persians.

Ahhh... Persians in the spring....
 

TLM

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I thought his decision was to only select men who had sons,which to me seems like a good bit of leadership considering what eventually happened .
That was before the battle and it was a sensible decision. The questionable ones were made towards the end.
 

TLM

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"Stranger, go tell the Spartans..." Is not necessarily a desirable outcome. If one wants to be the object of legends then maybe but not necessarily in the real world. His bravery is not in doubt but some of his decisions are.
 

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