Many people have the same childhood dream of being a outstanding personage who can lead a historic change and even the event was named in their honor. As time goes by, most of them have been content with the plain life, they have gotten used to relying on others to tackle the social problems. However, some of them still stick to their perspectives that they could not wait for heaven, they should make changes by themselves. So, what kind of person can lead a change? In the articles “Eve’s Daughters,” “Extreme Do-Gooders– What Makes Them Tick?” and “Agents of Change and Nonviolent Action,” the authors have given some different views, and they have also shared some common threads. The answer they give is the leaders of changes are not charismatic or omnipotent person, they are just ordinary people but with broad views, courage and faith. Firstly, according to “Eve’s Daughter,” and “Agents of Change and Nonviolent Action,” one characteristic that a leader should obtain is the broad views.
These two articles hold the same opinion but argue from different angles. In the article “Eve’s Daughters,” Miriam Polster believes the change leader should have a far sight, they should not be satisfied with the status quo, they are always capable to find the insufficient aspects and flaws in the society form a long-term vision (Polster, 2001). She writes “The hero has an original perspective that distinguishes her from others who settle for agreement and conformity are too beaten down to ask necessary questions” (Polster, 2001, p.162). In the long run, many policies or developmental direction are faulty with hidden risks. Far sight could help a leader build a sense of unsatisfied and enforce them to detect the invisible problems which may break out years later. Besides, far sight would also provide leaders a clear path though which they can find a advancing and specific way to solve these problems.
However, in the article “Agents of Change and Nonviolent Action,” Hardy Merriman insists a thorough view of the current situation is the necessary prerequisite to the leadership. He writes, to lead a change, the leader need to precisely analysis the current situation and make strategic plans. Also like coordinate the subordinators, communicate with the public or related organizations and so on so forth, all these aspects of a successful change need a accurate analysis and an appropriate decision which based on a thorough view of the current situation (Merriman, 2008). The thorough view of the current situation could help the leader easily catch the problem, produce a specific plan and also change their strategies as the situation evolves. So, the two articles both insist the broad view is the necessary prerequisite of a change leader despite focusing on different details. The change leaders first should have the ability to find problems around them, and then correctly analyze both the current and prospective situations.
Secondly, in the articles “Agents of Change and Nonviolent Action,” and “Extreme Do-Gooders– What Makes Them Tick?” the authors both point out the leader of a change does not need to be a omnipotent person. Merriman (2008) writes in the article “Agents of Change and Nonviolent Action,” a successful change does not rely on a charismatic leader or some kind of magical power. The leader does not need to be able to rally multitudes at one call, or to have a profound background. Making a change is a very laborious process and no one can complete it directly. According to Bill Drayton, a founder of the Ashoka, “The core defining element is that they simply cannot come to rest…until their dream has become a new pattern across all of society.” (cited in Moore, 2009).
Jina Moore explains this idea more particularly, he says, the change leaders always have to spend most of their time on the work and the result is they may lose the relationship with their loved people or miss their children’s crucial time (Moore, 2009). It takes a great deal of courage for the leaders to give up these happiness and to choose to dedicate in making a change. Moore (2009) also writes, though the change leaders devote themselves to committing a change, the results are not always up to expectations. Some of their efforts might take decades or even generations to see, some of them brush with famous, some of them are regarded as rock stars themselves. So the change leaders need great courage to bear the personal sacrifice and failure. Polster furthers this issue in her article “Eve’s Daughters,” as she writes “They have persisted at unconventional efforts with little recognition or encouragement, willingly surrendering their personal comfort in order to pursue their goals” For example, Marie Curie lived in the period that women scientists were not respected and recognized, but she still insisted on her research, she used great courage to break through the barriers (Polster, 2001).
The process of making changes is made over time, not overnight. So, the change leaders should have the courage to bear the personal sacrifice and failure, they should have the stomach for undertaking the stress and alienation. Finally, the articles “Eve’s Daughters,” and “Extreme Do-Gooders– What Makes Them Tick?” provide us another important characteristic of a change leader, that is the faith. Change leaders should have faith in themselves and also stand steadfast on their faith. But these two articles describe faith from two different aspects, one is the self-definition, and another is the faith in the effective exercise of choice. Moore believes faith is deemed to be a core element of self-definition. Change leaders could not wait for the heaven or rely on others efforts. They should have a profound faith in theirselves and believe that they are powerful to make difference. “You see the world as changeable because you can change it.
The vision of self and vision of world are related,” says Drayon (cited in Moore, 2009). But the environment around us in terms of school, home, social circle all tell us to obey the rules or follow the common pattern (Moore, 2009). It significantly influences people from the inside. People unconsciously and subconsciously get used to obedience and lose the faith in making a change. Retrieving the faith is a way to increase self-awareness. However, Polster is highlighting the faith in choices. As her article is focusing on women heroes, women is one of the most vulnerable groups, a woman leader will always meet much more challenges and difficulties than a man in the process of making a change. So she argues, a leader of a change should have faith in his/her choice no matter what difficulties he/she is confronting with. For example, Betty Washington is a famous women leader who makes unremitting efforts towards a common goal. She appealed and organized people for a citizen’s watch program to get rid of her neighborhood who were dealing drugs and creating crimes. Soon, she was on a publicly blacklist, and suffered threats and reprisals.
But she still kept her faith, she said: “Either you speak out and take the risk, or you die in the cesspool” (“Heroes, Past and Present,” 1987, p. 63). Besides, having faith in theirselves can not only help leaders build confidence which makes them become more confident and vigorous in the work, but also make them more reliable. As Merriman (2008) writes, successful nonviolent actions are based on collective actions, the key is to awaken people’s power. So the role of a leader is uniting people and transmitting their ideas, perspectives, and more importantly the faith. So, faith plays a pivotal role in the whole process of making a change, the leaders should have faith in themselves, in their choices, and also it is necessary to transmit the faith to others.
In conclusion, the article “Eve’s Daughters,” gives five shared characteristics of a hero, the article “Extreme Do-Gooders– What Makes Them Tick?” demonstrates the extreme do- gooders, and it gives the traits of this kind of people that make them tick, and the article “Agents of Change and Nonviolent Action,” talks about nonviolent movements, and the characteristics of the leaders in these actions. These three articles have various points of the characteristics that a leader should have. Some of them are illustrated from different angles, some of them are commonly shared.
Overall, the broad views, courage, and faith are essential for a leader to make a change. The change leaders do not need to be a charismatic or omnipotent person, but they should have the abilities to find the problems and analyze all the situations, and then use their courage and faith to conquer all the difficulties and stick to the end. Readers can find none of these characteristics are inherent, everyone has the opportunity to find the problems around us and lead a change. The key is just not waiting for the heaven or relying on others. Just try to plow forward in the resolute belief and stick to the end.
Merriman, H. (2008, April 8). Agents of Change and Nonviolent Action. Conservation Biology, Vol. 22, Issue 2 Moore, J. (2009, September 7). Extreme Do-Gooders – What Makes Them Tick? Christian Science Monitor,
Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/
Polster, M. (2001). Eve’s Daughters. Gestalt Journal Press.