No one is a natural-born leader. Even the greatest leaders make mistakes, or have never anticipated that they would end up becoming one. Shaping oneself to be the ideal ‘leader’ is never quite clear cut, as there are many qualities that make a leader. One can, however, learn from the many experiences of today’s best leaders. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Barack Obama – Faith
When Barack Obama ran for presidency, the slogan of his campaign in 2008 was “change we can believe in”. In his speeches, Obama wanted America not to believe in only him to bring change but to also believe in themselves to bring change to the world. Having positive and strong beliefs about outcomes that may be uncertain can bring about positive actions in others.
Greta Thunberg – Courage
Greta Thunberg was once an introvert who would sit at the back of the class in silence. Her interest in climate change began when she was only eight. As she grew frustrated with the status quo and thought about how she could make a difference, she took a step forward by skipping school and began protesting, first alone, about climate change. Today, her courage as a teenager then to speak about environmental issues has spurred climate change movements across the globe.
Martin Luther King Jr. – Conviction
Similarly, Martin Luther King Jr. was not afraid to speak up when it came to the civil rights movement. His speech, “I Have a Dream”, remains one of the greatest speeches delivered and brought great awareness for reform in the United States. He dared to speak up about controversial issues and when he did, he spoke with great conviction and determination. His speeches were often bold, so much so that he was willing to risk his life.
Jacinda Ardern – Compassion
During the wake of the crisis in Christchurch, Jacinda Ardern was praised for the empathy she showed to the families of the crisis victims. She listened first to the affected communities instead of immediately going into a political speech. As a leader, she believes that the use of language is crucial for fostering a sense of togetherness within a community. Jacinda Ardern exemplifies that leadership is not necessarily all about power.
Mahatma Gandhi – Truthfulness
Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography is aptly titled “The Story of My Experiments with Truth” because he stood by telling the truth in his entire life, even before he was a freedom fighter. Being truthful is an important trait for a leader as it enables trust-building which paves the way for greater confidence in one’s leadership.
Malala Yousafzai – Humility
Because of her activism in advocating women’s right to education in her village, Malala Yousafzai faced a targeted assassination attempt and received a bullet to the head. She survived the ordeal and continued on as a prominent activist. In 2014, she received a Nobel Peace Prize. Despite everything, Malala still insists that her life is not extra-ordinary and remains passionate to the cause.