What is a leader? A leader is a person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. There are many types of leaders. A leader can be a laissez-faire leader that lacks direct supervision and fails to provide regular feedback to those they lead, an autocrat that possesses total authority and take decisions upon their own will without consulting those who are following or even a participative leader who has the responsibility of making the final decision but greatly includes the opinions, ideas and feedback of those they lead.
Leaders can also be transactional leaders who receive certain tasks to conduct and give rewards or punishments to those under them based on their performance or transformational leaders who motivate followers and increase productivity using communicative techniques and involvement in the tasks they set. Not only that, a leader also has to have some traits that correspond to their types of leadership.
For example, transformational leaders have to be patient with their followers otherwise relationships can break down and the whole idea of efficiency is destroyed. Leaders need to be persuasive as well to motivate and convince their followers to believe in an idea or their ability to do a task which they hesitate to do or think they are unable to. As seen in history and many novels, leaders lead differently than other leaders as ideas, methods and perceptions of perfection differ between them.
For example, the ideas and methods used by Queen Elizabeth the First differed from those used by Sampath Chawla from the novel entitled ‘Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard’ written by Kiran Desai as well as Mark Antony from the play entitled ‘The tragedy of Julius Caesar’ written by the famous William Shakespeare. The three of them all differed in how they led their followers and using which ideas to do so. Despite differing in many aspects, they all shared some common traits that are the bases of leadership.
In ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’, some conspirators had killed the almost roman emperor, Julius Caesar. They did so, giving the false reason that they wanted to rid him of the fear or worry of death. Mark Antony, using persuasive techniques, managed to change the mindsets of the public who believed in the conspirators’ reason into believing that Caesar was a good man and had no bad intentions, which is what the conspirators’ thought. Mark Antony uses persuasive techniques like repetition, false intentions and sophistry.
He uses these in his speech at Caesar’s burial to convince the crowd into believing his ideas by first commending Brutus on how honorable he is but then repeating how honorable he is to make the crowd question their faith in Brutus. He also says that he did not arrive to praise Caesar but to bury him which is exactly the opposite of what he wanted to do. Another false intention was that he did not want to disprove Brutus which is exactly what he did by using appropriate facts. Lastly, his speech was sophisticated and so led the crowd to believing that he was superior to Brutus which cemented his gaining the crowd’s support.
In ‘Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard’, the main character, Sampath, is a leader later on in the novel after losing his job at the post office where he reads every letter that passes him. He becomes a sort of spiritual leader as he passes on some of the knowledge, both useful and downright senseless, to those who believe he is one. He manages to convince the people who come to him for advice, as he seemingly has an answer that seems meaningful and wise, using persuasive techniques that include loaded language and glittering generalities.
An example of the responses he gives to people is when someone asked him if anyone could comprehend all there is to know about god to which Sampath replied ‘‘ Once you have broken the bottle you can no longer distinguish the air inside from the air outside’’ This represents the colorful and loaded language Sampath represents as well as his ability to confuse and manipulate people into thinking meaningless sentences like these have greater meaning and that is the reason they cannot understand.
He is also a leader because he represents a symbol of knowledge and religious importance and this gives people something to look forward to, believe in and rely upon. Queen Elizabeth the First was a leader as well when she ruled over England in 1588. She was brave, intelligent, caring and because of this, loved by the people. At this time, England was about to go to war with Spain. The units in concern were the naval fleets of both nations that were about to engage in combat.
The Spanish fleet, nicknamed the Spanish Armada, were in comparison to the English fleet, bigger, stronger and heavily armored and this caused the soldiers to doubt their own ability to win and caused large bouts of cowardice. Despite this, the English fleet came out victorious. Queen Elizabeth, on the eve of the Spanish Armada, gave a powerful speech that motivated her soldiers and showed her love and respect for the country.
She used persuasive techniques like bandwagon appeal to bring out the desire to belong in the soldiers, rewards that gave incentive to the soldiers to fight, win and return, loaded language to appeal to her audience, a tone of self-assurance to show that she knows the position of power she is in and how she is not threatened by anything on the outside and lastly, the most powerful technique she used was to keep using the word ‘we’ to show how they are all united and how she was willing to give up everything for the nation.
This inspired the confidence needed to win the battle. A leader is a person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. This is what all three leaders have shown, the ability to lead. They have shown this in their own ways and with their own ideas. They all share this common trait as well as being persuasive and adapting intelligently to fit the situation. That is the basic leadership trait that all successful leaders throughout history have shown and that is all that is needed in order to be a successful leader.