General Discussion

What do you think makes a good leader?
Lonnehart at 9:17PM, May 24, 2009
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From fictional superhero teams to the real life military, and even from our own legends they are there. Inspiring (or intimidating) others around them to follow their example, they seem to be the cores of civilizations as well as the group's weakest link; remove that link and everything else goes down the drain… or something like that. So what do you think makes a good leader?

I always think that there are two things one must be to become a good leader. The desire to lead, and the ability to do so. You can have one or the other, but if you only have that one quality things will turn out badly for everyone under you.

What do you think? And don't ask me about the ability to lead. I'm not qualified to be a leader, so that's a question I can't answer. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
Lunaris Victoria at 11:25PM, May 24, 2009
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I think as well as both the ability and desire to lead, there is a bit more to it.

One also needs the ability to take the council of those under them.

One also needs to be able to stand by their decisions and ride them out. If you can't do right by yourself, you really can't do right by anyone. If someone else is calling the shots, they're the leader, you're the puppet. But as with above, taking others views into consideration is still important for forming your own best plan.

Lastly, you need skin of steel. No matter what you do, a good half or better of the population is going to be against you. You need the ability to see your way through to the end, no matter what the popular opinion is. Popularity rarely, if ever, equals ‘correct.’ If you know in your heart that what you are doing is for the best, then you need to be ready to do it no matter what weight comes down on you from those you would lead. After all, where are you leading people if you change course everytime someone decides they're against the current one? Probably in circles.

Not everyone is cut out to be a leader, and in fact very few people are. It's a tough position, and one I wouldn't want to be in. Still, those few are out there and they do make the most of their abilities. They may not always be likeable, some may be downright bastards, but the big point to it is that they get things done that they feel need to be got done.

Being a leader, as the above should say, isn't about being a nice guy. But of course, those following will respond better to kindness. Unless they're irritating masochists, then a show of power is probably best.

But that's a situational/circumstancial thing.

Thems my two cents, anyways.
“If I don't say it, don't assume I won't. An open book still needs a reader to turn the page.”
-Me
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:49PM
TheFlyingGreenMonkey at 12:49AM, May 25, 2009
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I disagree with the desire to lead. Sometime people are born into Greatness, other times it is thrust apoun them. I know this one from experience when scary Sh#t goes down is when you can truly see if someone has the abilty to lead.

1) Level head. If you don't have one then you can't survive the tough situwaitions.
2) Evalulating the situwaition. If you can't get a grasp of whats going on then your screwwed.
3) I agree with LV's “take the council of those under them” or other people((experts in fields and what not.)). Cause if you can't take others opinoins you'll only have your insight.
4) Being able to come up with a plan from the info you gathered in 2 and 3.

Theres more to being a good leader than the qualities we have put down but these are the main ones to me.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:17PM
DAJB at 1:46AM, May 25, 2009
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There have been many studies on what makes a good leader. If you look at the many incompetent leaders there are in all walks of life (the military, business, politics etc) it seems clear that no-one really knows. Or rather, that there is no single answer to know!

Different qualities will be required for every situation and even those qualities will be different depending on the group of people being led. For every theory about what makes a good leader, there are plenty of examples of exactly that type of person doing a bad job, and just as many examples of the complete opposite doing a good job.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 2:02AM, May 25, 2009
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Anyone can lead, they just need to take control of the situation and get others to follow.
And you know that DOESN'T really depend much on anything they “naturally” have going for them. What it depends on is a combination of being better at dealing with the siltation than others around you (because you're more educated, you just know more about what's going on, you have more experience etc.), and your rank.

-The latter is probably the most important in most situations. If you've already go something that makes you stand above everyone else, then it's easier to take control. Take a sprog like Alexander the Great. Would he be have been “Great” if he wasn't BORN into power? No, of course not.
But it's not always that easy, some start out with only a meagre head start in rank terms and then use that experience they gain in leadership to expand control. They make connections and keep on going until they really are a mighty leader. Look at Fidel Castro for example, it wasn't an easy road for him to work his way up to becoming a thorn in the side of the most powerful country today, outliving all those American leaders who faced him down…

AT the micro level “Rank” could be anything from having a degree, to being taller, being more wealthy etc.
—————–

There's no such thing as a “good” leader. You can be a successful leader, or a failed one. Many successful leaders fail until they learn how to do better at it. And some successful leaders will overreach and fail terribly.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
Bittenbymonk at 3:52AM, May 25, 2009
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In my opinion, most good leaders have badass facial hair. Take a gander at some poweful leaders and their mighty face fuzz.

TheFlyingGreenMonkey
Sometime people are born into Greatness, other times it is thrust apoun them.

THat would be Malvolio's line from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and it goes that ‘Some are Born Great, others achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them’ which, whilst ultimately written to fool someone who was a bit of a twat, has a lot of merit and pretty much sums up how people become ‘leaders’. Though lets face it, nobody is really a leader, coz you're gonna have to serve somebody.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:23AM
Chernobog at 10:44AM, May 25, 2009
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The ability to make tough honest decisions and risk being look unpopular for the benefit of the people rather than lobbyists and other goons of power. A leader must stand like a rock against the waves of corruption. And a leader needs the wisdom to find resourceful solutions, the gumption to get them done in a timely fashion, and keep his nose clean, so to speak. I would also prefer someone who doesn't kowtow to moral tyranny, particularly over small stupid issues based in superstition or religious trends.

Leadership is a role of character, not merely a well paying job. I wish the powers that be didn't treat it like that. As such, I don't respect any of them.
 
 
“You tell yourself to just
enjoy the process,” he added. “That whether you succeed or fail, win or
lose, it will be fine. You pretend to be Zen. You adopt detachment, and
ironic humor, while secretly praying for a miracle.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:41AM
Hyena H_ll at 12:33PM, May 25, 2009
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Has anyone said “havin' the most guns” yet? That's what I'm goin' with.


















last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM
bravo1102 at 5:15PM, May 25, 2009
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The last thing that has anything to do with true leadership is rank. Sorry. That dog don't hunt. So many have clawed their way up from less than nothing. Lieutenant Naboleone Buonaparte? That runt Private Audie Murphy? The has-been officer Ulysses Grant? The born loser Harry S. Truman? There have been more failures with the silver spoon in their mouth in leadership positions who needed that guy without the rank to bail them out. Lions led by mules?

The lowest dumbass with two stripes on his sleeve when it comes down to it will prove him/herself a better leader than the greatest general and a much more important one. Every truly effective leader starts out a good follower. A leader sets the example, but before he/she can do that he/she has to learn the right example to set. Whoever plans best, adjusts to a changing situation, provide a good example to follow, and a whole pile of other stuff. A good leader has learned as a follower until leadership becomes an instinct. Others hem and haw and obsess, a leader cuts to the quick, knows what has to be done and acts accordingly. And if he fucks up, he takes responsiblity, learns his lesson so it doesn't happen again. And a leader knows he learns best by teaching and setting the example. Those stripes, tabs, pips, bars etc are hard earned and those who worked the hardest to get them are the best.

Alexander learned everything he knew from his father and his generals. He started at the bottom. If he didn't prove himself as a soldier and a leader he never would have done a damn thing, let alone be great. (the definitive biography is by Robin Lane Fox)

Effective combat leadership? Joshua Chamberlain on Little Round Top. General Winfield Scott Hancock during the three days of Gettysburg. Thomas Jackson at First Manassas. For every George Washington there is a Nathanial Greene.

And as Napoleon knew, you have to be lucky. But a good leader knows how to create his/her own good luck.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
herio at 5:22PM, May 25, 2009
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a leder needs that spark that makes you bleve in them and what to follow them ya dig
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:47PM
harkovast at 5:29PM, May 25, 2009
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I agree with Hyena.
More guns = more rightness!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:43PM
bravo1102 at 5:37PM, May 25, 2009
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Once upon a time a British officer was leading an attack on Sikhs in India. All the men he was leading were killed, wounded or ran because of the Sikhs' marksmanship. The officer stumbled forward. The Sikhs came out and said they would follow brave men such as this.

That's the leader beating the biggest guns. Frederick the Great said “Audacity, audacity, always audacity!”

A good leader can get his men to take out those guns with nothing more than sticks with knives on the end. Give them the bayonet. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
ozoneocean at 5:46PM, May 25, 2009
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bravo1102
The last thing that has anything to do with true leadership is rank.
I don't think you read what I wrote… Please don't take my words literally, especially when I expand on them and explain that they are not. -_-
“Rank” can be anything at all that makes you stand out. Anything.

Thinking sensibly, very few would think a good leader is one who just leads their people to ruin. Having people follow someone to the death isn't much of an acievevment, it's not rare either.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
kyupol at 6:54PM, May 25, 2009
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1) Lead by example
- Before you tell others what to do, you should be able to do it yourself. That makes you a more respectable leader. Practice what you preach.

2) Calm under pressure
- As a leader, you shouldn't panic no matter what's happening. Be it a military unit under heavy fire or a company in danger of bankruptcy. If you're calm, your subordinates will most likely not panic.

3) Has initiative
- You must be able to function properly even with a broken chain of command. You also need to be an independent thinker. A leader isn't one who needs to be told what to do all the time.

4) Must have alpha qualities
- The way you walk and talk can say alot about you. Do you think a military officer will be respected if he is very lousy even in standing at attention?

5) Must have charisma and be a good speaker
- No matter what you're saying, if you say it properly, you can attract a good deal of following. Its not what you say but HOW you say it.
If you have alot of charisma, you will tend to inspire hardcore loyalty among your subordinates (like religious cults, communism, etc). Charisma makes you look bigger, stronger, and smarter than you really are.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM
Lunaris Victoria at 7:06PM, May 25, 2009
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bravo1102
Once upon a time a British officer was leading an attack on Sikhs in India. All the men he was leading were killed, wounded or ran because of the Sikhs' marksmanship. The officer stumbled forward. The Sikhs came out and said they would follow brave men such as this.

That's the leader beating the biggest guns. Frederick the Great said “Audacity, audacity, always audacity!”

A good leader can get his men to take out those guns with nothing more than sticks with knives on the end. Give them the bayonet. :)
Bigger guns, shmigger guns. Bravo has it right. A good leader can take out far superior numbers with a bit of ingenuity and faith. 300 isn't entirely fiction, after all.

But since those numbers can be disputed and accuracy of the accounts called into question…maybe a more modern and verifiable example can be brought forward.

I present Alvin C. York, from my own home state.

His platoon was laid waste upon by machine guns. In the end, he took charge of the seven other men and captured over 30 guns, 4 officers, and 128 soldiers.

This not counting the 28 killed.

And what were his roots? Poverty, farming, drinking and drinking and…bar fights.

What he accomplished was a true act of leadership. Most people would've turned tail and ran off. 132 men and 32 guns picking off everyone around me? If I could have been there, I sure as hell would've been hot-trottin' it back to base.
“If I don't say it, don't assume I won't. An open book still needs a reader to turn the page.”
-Me
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:49PM
ozoneocean at 3:23AM, May 26, 2009
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It doesn't matter how “humble” a leaders roots were, that's irrelevant really.
In fact most leaders throughout history have fake stories surrounding them making them sound even MORE humble and rough and ready than they were… That's one if the most popular myth sources there is: the humble origin story. sometimes the great heroes themselves make it up, but usually it's their admirers who write about them later.

It's an interesting counterpoint to the ones that used to claim divine decent or royal connections they didn't have.

——–
Lord Cardigan led many in the Light Brigade to death by the Russian artillery… In the face of certain annihilation they followed him. They weren't forced to, they didn't do it because they loved him, feared him, or because he made a rousing silly speech. No, they did it because that's what they were trained to do and he was their commanding officer.

Never give TOO much credit to the one in command. Their successes and failures aren't always down to them, they're just a part of it.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
bravo1102 at 10:36AM, May 26, 2009
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ozoneocean
Never give TOO much credit to the one in command. Their successes and failures aren't always down to them, they're just a part of it.

Didn't I say that? Napoleon's quote about luck? But a skillful commander still makes his own luck. You see a skillful commander could have won the Charge of the Light Brigade. Lord Cardigan was anything but. He was an inspiring leader as far as dicipline and motivation but not what was needed for victory. Those French Chasseurs d'afrique had what it took to win.

Good cummunication, instilling dicipline and motivation, mission-based problem- solving based planning, training the force, keeping calm.

Training and dicilining the force builds the force's self confidence and together gives the force its motivation. Cool huh? It works too. Effective leadership. Fm-100 blah, blah, blah…

The training and dicipline allows for calmness in times of strife as it builds self-confidence. Insoucience even. The leader uses those to set the example. Everyone forgets that Corporal York was leading a squad by example and they helped him perform his acts of bravery. Team effort like Joshua Chamberlain with his officers who came up with his swinging hinge bayonet charge (along with the 1st US Sharpshooters on their flank again guys whose contribution was forgotten)

The whole elevation of “rank” and talent and the denigration of humbleness as opposed to confidence, and dicipline and an effective skill set is the armchair quarterback. ;) Not what a leader knows and does and the reality he/she faces when the fecal matter hits the aerial occelator. Those stripes get awfully heavy.

As for planning. Everyone who says that their plan didn't survive the test of combat didn't plan properly. Problem solving, mission based planning. What has to be be done to achieve the goal? Is there a problem that needs to be solved? Realistic assestment of the situation and one that allows for Murphy (and his law. What can go wrong and plan for it!).

Rank got nothing to do with that unless it's that superiority instilled by the self confidence that comes with that skill set. You see if you break it all down you can teach anyone to be an effective leader. Von Moltke knew that. The British didn't. They had to learn it the hard way again and again and again…

It's not some inherent American superiority, it's the learning curve. America's enemies again and again have said that Americans don't give up and they learn quickly. And they win.

Now does all this seem a little skewed to military leadership? yes. But military leadership skills are what are used everywhere. MBA's leadership classes are distilled from US Army lesson plans.

(The above is distilled from bravo's new motivational DVD, Just send me lots of money and you can be Successful) ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Lonnehart at 4:10PM, May 26, 2009
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By the way, were there any “leaders” in history that depended on brute strength, ruthlessness, and everyone's fear of him to stay on top? I'd say Attilah the Hun (spelling?), but I think that guy lead more with his charisma than with strength…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
PIT_FACE at 6:58PM, May 26, 2009
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someone who doesnt do the things they do because they see themselves as a leader, but instead is a leader becuase that's what other people made them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:44PM
bravo1102 at 8:41PM, May 26, 2009
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Lonnehart
By the way, were there any “leaders” in history that depended on brute strength, ruthlessness, and everyone's fear of him to stay on top? I'd say Attilah the Hun (spelling?), but I think that guy lead more with his charisma than with strength…

The Huns and later the Mongols practiced some very advanced leadership and war fighting techniques. It wasn't sheer brutality for the joy of it. They knew how to employ terror as a weapon and were masters of logistics and manuever. The politcal infighting is very subtle even among “barbarians” and Attila was a masterful diplomat. (as was Ghenghis Khan. He didn't get to be Great Khan by being a mindless killing machine.)

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM

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