What Makes a Good Leader, Part 2
A good leader has certain personal qualities that attract followers, but when you are looking for great new civic leaders, there are certain political traits you want to look at as well. Some of these traits will be easier to observe than others, and this is not a comprehensive list, but a good place to start as you develop your own leadership skills and create a leadership recruitment plan for your organization.
1. Consistency- this doesn’t mean that a leader can’t every change his mind on an issue. Hopefully we are all growing and learning in our daily lives and careers. However, a good leader will apply his values consistently in a way that demonstrates a cohesive worldview.
2. Clarity- While a good leader should be able to inspire and engage people when speaking, they also have to be able to go beyond rhetoric to clearly communicate a specific plan.
3. Creativity- Most government structures have no shortage of people who are content go along with politics as usual, which often means nothing gets done. A good leader has to think outside the box to find practical solutions to actual problems.
4. Commitment- A good leader has to be committed to doing the hard (sometimes monotonous) work on the campaign trail and while in office. Asking for money and votes all day everyday, spending hours on the phone and walking door-to-door is not the glamour many might expect. But it pays off in the end.
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” -Margaret Thatcher
5. Connections- And of course we mean good connections. Connections have implications as to what kind of fundraising, endorsements and support they will receive, as well as providing a glimpse of who may be influencing the candidate once they are in office. The individuals or organizations that a person is willing to tie themselves to can tell you something about what kind of person they really are, and whether or not they’ll be the kind of leader you are looking for.
When you find someone who demonstrates the qualities your local government leaders need, ask them to consider running for office! Many good leaders don’t think about running until someone else asks them. For more about identifying good leaders in your community, click here.