There are over 200 different definitions of leadership. The one thing that all of the definitions have in common is that they all refer to getting others to do something. The differences in the definitions involve exactly how to go about doing that. There are many different ideas of what it takes to be a great political leader, but there are several things that most of the experts agree on.
In the realm of politics, an honest politician seems to almost be an oxymoron. However, almost every list written by the experts on the traits of great leaders contains honesty. With many of the public scandals that have occurred in politics, it is even more important for politicians to go out of their way to show honesty. When leaders are honest with themselves and others, they inspire trust. Honest leaders have more influence and are more worthy of following.
Put Others First
A great political leader is one who puts the good of the people before personal gain. A caring leader is enthusiastic and inspirational. These positive emotions are felt by the people. When people feel that they are taken care of — economically, socially, and politically — it makes them feel secure and happy. When people are in a better frame of mind, a happy society is created. A happy society leads to a strong nation.
Effective political leaders are self-aware. They have a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. They are able to utilize their talents to their fullest potential, and they are able to recruit those that have the skills necessary to balance their weaknesses. They seek constant feedback about their personalities and their behaviors so that they can respond appropriately in different situations. This flexibility in different situations is one of the most important behavioral characteristics that leaders possess.
Being a valuable political leader means listening to those that are affected by political decisions. Thoughtful leaders take time to listen. They understand that their preconceptions are not always correct. They gather information to learn the truth. They put aside their own egos to learn from those who know best, which isn’t always themselves.
Lead by Example
If leaders do everything to the best of their abilities, their followers are more likely to, as well. Staff and followers are less likely to act in ways that are morally questionable if they see their leader living by high standards. Influential political leaders set the bar high for themselves and have confidence that others can reach the same standard.
Political leaders are in the position that they are because they have been elected by their constituents. They were given a vote of confidence by people that believe in them. Good, representative leaders will act in a way that people can look up to and be proud of. Followers need leaders that they can listen to and believe in. Trustworthy political leaders are honest, selfless, and self-aware. They listen well and lead by example.