To Be a Leader
An Essay on What Being a Leader Means to Me
To be a leader is not to put the world on your shoulders alone, but to trust enough that others will be able to carry the burden with you. To be a leader is not to bark at others and give orders, but to bend your back with them and show them the way. You will know that you are a righteous and humble leader when nobody realizes that you have been leading them.
These are all great examples of what I see leadership be to me. The characteristics that I believe that makes these magnificent leaders are communication, humility, and a strong will.
To start off with, I believe that the ability to communicate; which is, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, and behaviors; is a very important trait to have. To be a leader is to be a voice for those that follow.
Without the ability to communicate in any way; whether it be by speech, sign, or writing; the leader is nothing but a figurehead. A leader must have and be a voice — a strong one. To be able to convey the dreams and wishes of his followers, communication is key. To develop such a characteristic, one must do the opposite and hold his tongue. It may seem as if that is the exact opposite of what should be done, but how, pray tell, can one convey that wishes of his followers if he has not yet listened to them? Therefore, To be a leader, one must be willing to hear the cries of his followers until his ears bleed.
Because it takes humility to do such an act, that is another important characteristic to have. Humility, according to the Merriam-Webster, is the freedom from pride and arrogance. To not see oneself as superior or better than others, but as their equal and friend, one must have true courage and strength — remarkable traits that are seen in such a leader that has obtained humility. To develop such a characteristic is to walk on the same path as one’s followers. No shortcuts. Being a leader does not give one any free pass to do whatever one pleases, but gives one the responsibility of the many who come after.
To be able to succeed in doing this, one must have a strong will, which is the third and final characteristic that I find to be important. It’s one thing to have a dream, but it’s something completely different to have the will to make it happen. To be strong-willed, according to the Merriam-Webster, is to be very determined to do something even if other people say it should not be done. To be a leader, one must have a strong will, if one doesn’t even have that, then what do they have anything at all?
If a leader does not have a strong will, they will not be able to withstand the judgment that they will inevitably receive. They will not be able to withstand their own failures and will be easily broken down constantly. Those without strong wills are not fit to be leaders, for they cannot even take care of themselves. So, how can they take charge of many others?
To get to the point where one has a strong will, one must continuously be placed in the fire like coal, until the gold starts to shine under all the grime. Meaning, one must take on all the struggles of life — the pain of living — until he can no longer break down at the sight of it. Life is already hard to withstand as it is, our future leaders mustn't make it harder for themselves.
To conclude, there are many great characteristics that are notably shown through many leaders throughout all time. The ones that I have seen the most are communication, through leaders like Ronald Reagan; humility, through leaders like Gandhi; and finally, strong will, through leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr.
To be a leader, one must be able to go back in time and learn from the greatest.