Characteristics or habits of an effective political leader - Essay Example

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Characteristics or habits of an effective political leader Being a political leader is a highly vulnerable position as he/she is accountable to the people whom he/she represents at every step, every breath. The success of a political leader is in having the right mix of habits and characters needed for commanding the trust and respect of the people…
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Characteristics or habits of an effective political leader
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Download file to see previous pages This debate has been going on, ever since different forms of governance and political representation evolved. What Sima Qian, a second century BC historian, Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor of the second century AD, and Niccolo Machiavelli, a fifteenth century political philosopher have in common is their observations on the leadership qualities that a political leader ought to have. And the most interesting part of this comparison is that all these three political historians, in spite of them being very remote to each other in history, many times do prescribe the same qualities for a political leader. Aurelius has focused on the eternal and philosophical virtues that a leader needs to have. He has also advised an emperor to have a clear thought process, a good sense of reason, a composed mind and control over one’s emotions, especially, anger (Aurelius, Hicks and Hicks). He has commanded, “look always at the whole. What is it that has made this impression on your senses? Analyze it by breaking it down into cause, matter, purpose, and duration” (Aurelius, Hicks and Hicks, 139). Aurelius (Aurelius, Hicks and Hicks) has also stressed that “the character of reason and justice is one and the same” (Aurelius, Hicks and Hicks, 123). ...
Aurelius (Aurelius, Hicks and Hicks) has reminded this by saying, “purge your mind of all aimless and idle thoughts, especially those that pry into the affairs of others or wish them ill” (Aurelius, Hicks and Hicks, 34). Instead it is declared that “enjoyment is meant to be found in work too and that those who enjoy their work become totally absorbed in it, often forgetting to eat and drink and seek other forms of enjoyment” (Aurelius, Hicks and Hicks,53). Controlling anger has been a recurring theme in Sima Quin, Aurelius and Machiavelli. It is suggested that a leader can become a success only when he/she has “unshakable composure, even in the midst of acute pain” (Aurelius, Hicks and Hicks, 20). But Quin has revealed that his emperor, the first emperor of China, had a habit of getting angry for small reasons and acting upon it (78). But still he had been a success because he had his own effective means to make people fear or love him irrespective of his anger. His character is reflected in what Aurelius said almost 4 centuries after: Be like a rocky promontory against which the restless surf continually pounds; it stands fast while the churning sea is lulled to sleep at its feet. I hear you say, “How unlucky that this should happen to me!” Not at all! Say instead, “How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened (51). A prince should be able to win people over to his side (Machiavelli, 60). But he (Machiavelli) has also prescribed to rule by evoking fear rather than love because he believes that “men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared” (90). Sima Quin has also expressed faith in the effectiveness of fear and elaborated upon how the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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