Whenever and wherever human beings are gathered together in large numbers, they need leadership. Even children need their school prefects and schools captains ! Armies need Generals. Civilians need governments, captains of industry and intellectual leaders of thought as well. Men whether of the East or the West, require to be led and each group ‘throws up’ its own leaders in each succeeding generation. Whether in the school-room, or on the battlefield or in governmental deliberations, people who are natural leaders and who are chosen to lead, always have the same qualities of character and of outlook.
In the first place, it is the personal qualities that count for most, in other words, the personality. A leader, in any location, must be someone who can be looked up to and respected. His personal judgment must be trusted and he must be able to evoke love and warmth from those he leads. So the, the first quality of a leader is that he must have the ability to win over men’s hearts.
Secondly, he must have intellectual control over his followers and a mind that is capable of assimilating what is true and what is right and then of exerting this over others. It is useless, no matter what personal qualities or what intellectual prowess a man may have, if he lacks the initiative and the will to lead and to rally men around him. He must also, in his search for truth, have great powers of concentration.
Again, a leader must possess this mysterious thing we call “character” or strength of will, clarity of mind, tenacity and determination. In other words “character” is knowing what you want to do and being ruthlessly determined to do it.
Men and women will not follow a gloomy person! Therefore a kind sense of humor and a sense of optimism are two other essential qualities of a good leader. He must also, not only be a good judge of thins and of events, but of people too, so that he can select good subordinates. He must also show and practice such virtues as self-control, temperance and moderation, so that not only his body, but also his mind are always at their best, healthy and sharpened like finely tempered steel.
There is, too the good leader and the bad leader, of which Hitler, is a striking example of bad leader because it is possible to have all the qualities of leadership without the most important one of all. This is a moral sense of right and wrong and the right kind of “love” which is emphasized in many of the world’s great religions. This is true not only of international figures like Adolf Hitler, but also in smaller figures. The “gangs” of youths, typical of both East and West, whose members are led to violence and lawlessness are invariably led and inspired by leaders without a moral sense of right and wrong.
The final test of a good leader is, of course, the question: “Do men follow him?” The answer will be “Yes” if, combined with strength of character, the ability to evoke love, a clear brain and a fair minded outlook, he also has a knowledge and respect for truth, honesty and fair play. Such a man surely possesses the spark of leadership and men will look up to him and follow him.