The presidential election is to be held in November 2008.The elections are the first since 1928 that an incumbent is not vying. In determining the rightful candidate, his or her traits should be critically analyzed and a profound judgment made before voting. This is to ensure that the candidate elected can maintain the dignity of the nation.
Leadership characteristics required for one to be president
Leadership characteristic by Lee Iacocca
He was the chief executive officer of ford motor company and chairman of the then Chrysler corporation. He wrote a book entitled, where the entire leaders gone .The book have has described the 9 characteristics of leadership required for one who would be president. These characteristics are curiosity, creativity, communication, character, courage, conviction, and charisma, competent and common sense. The character was also called the 9c’s. Curiosity refers to the desire to know and do new things. The aspiring presidential candidates should have the urge to know about new policies that are likely to affect the country effectively. Its only through doing and implementing new ideas that change can be found. One example where curiosity was used was in the experiment of developing of genetic organism in an urge to end food deficiency. Also a curious leader would put a lot of effort to know what is happening in some country especially those whose activities are kept secret like North Korea. This is important in bolstering national security. A curious personality would like to know why some situations occur in the society and as such come with a solution. For example he or she would look at the real cause of terrorism and as hence come out with a permanent solution. Arnold M Ludwig (2002).
Communication is the exchange of information. It involves listening and being listened to. Good leader should be able to have good communication with his or her subject. In leadership responsibilities, the ability to communicate well shows the leader’s effectiveness. The ability to communicate well the thoughts, information and ideas so as to be understood is of a significant importance since communication is only complete if there is understanding of the message between the source and the recipient. The means of communication should be such that it is universally accepted by the recipient. The language used should be polite, understood easily, show respect and maturity and should not show any bias Arnold M Ludwig (2002).
Character refers to a combination of psychological and moral traits that distinguish an individual. These traits include trustworthiness where the aspiring candidate should show the features of honest, should be reliable whereby one keeps his or her words, and should show the quality of being entrusted with public resources. The aspiring candidate should be respectful.Here; he or she should treat others with respect, be tolerant to difference especially in usa where it is multiracial and multicultural, have good manners and use of good language, deal peaceful with insult and disagreement and not to be emotional. Great sense of responsibility should be portrayed. Here one should do what he is expected to do as per requirement in the law, one should e able to work to his best and with great dedication, and one should have the ability to think before taking any major step such as getting involved in a war and should also consider the possible consequences to the country, Accountability to one’s deeds show a great sense of responsibility. In leadership, fairness plays a centre stage in leadership roles. One should have an open mind to others, should offer listening ears to others, and not take advantage of political power to mistreat others. One should show the ability to treat all the citizens equally and no racial discrimination. Caring is another character that is important to leadership. one should show compassionate and care especially to the poor and the disabled, one should be thankful to those who do them good ,forgive those who have done wrong and ask for forgiveness to those who he or she has wronged and should be able to assist those in need. Those in need to be leaders should show a great sense of patriotism such as getting involved in community affairs, respect of the authority and should be involved in protection of the environment. Arnold M Ludwig (2002).
Courage is an important element since it shows the persons ability and willingness to face fear, uncertainty and a rightful action to a difficulty and tricky situation. Leaders need to take difficult action and make tough decision and this can only be achieved if one is courageous. Should have the responsibility to initiate change and only courageous leaders have the ability of doing this because change is mostly resisted by people since it represents uncertainity.The individual vying for presidency should have the bravery of solving different types of conflicts. Should have the ability to solve both domestic and international conflict without fear and favour.Leadership also involves one being optimistic as a sigh of courage and a belief of not to succumb to failure is healthy in leadership. Laubach, R (2005).
Conviction is ones own capability to take clout in your roles. It involves action that includes provision of the service for all and not just a small clique that is privileged. Leadership must be involved at all the hierarchy within the state and enable the increase in participation of the others in policy making. Laubach, R (2005). Charisma is a characteristic that is desirable in leadership. It refers to the trait that is found in some human being that includes great charm and attractiveness. It is always innate and involves the ability to persuade and command a large following. One should have ability to charm, persuade, inspire and influence people. Because of the ability to draw attention, they should elicit good behaviors so that other can emulate them and they should desist from negative fanatism.Most of the charismatic people have a strong self belief which is important when leading others. Laubach, R (2005).
Competence as one of important leadership characteristic is the ability of an individual to perform a given job. It involves knowledge, skills and the behaviors utilized to improve performance of the leader. The individual should have the ability to interpret the situation at hand and have the necessary skills to tackle it. Competence is enhanced through training and experience and so the candidate seeking the presidency should have some leadership experience. It also involves emotional competence such as social skills, self management, and maintains a high level of self awareness. Laubach, R (2005).
Common sense refers to the belief that is based on what is seen as the knowledge and the experience which most people have. The idea tends to relate to events within the experience of human being. In leadership, common sense is a character that a good leader should posses. The candidate should show the ability to reason especially when solving some divisive matter such as abortion. Common sense should prevail in every policy that is to be made and this is important in avoiding the formulation of the policies that may have a negative consequence to the society. Laubach, R (2005).
Creativity is the articulate style an aspiring leader uses to tackle the leadership challenge and come out with an exiting leadership that will be appealing to the country. It also involves the formulation of creative ideas that help in shaping the nation. For example is in the development of the information technology. Laubach, R (2005).
Leadership characteristics by professor Fred Greenstein
Professor Fred Greenstein is a well recognized presidential scholar. According to him, the potential president should possess important characteristics which include communication, organization capacity, political skill, vision, cognitive style and emotional intelligence. Bennis. W (1989). Communication is the exchange of information. It involves listening and being listened to. Good leader should be able to have good communication with his or her subject. In leadership responsibilities, the ability to communicate well shows the leader’s effectiveness. The ability to communicate well the thoughts, information and ideas so as to be understood is of a significant importance since communication is only complete if there is understanding of the message between the source and the recipient. The means of communication should be such that it is universally accepted by the recipient. The language used should be polite, understood easily, show respect and maturity and should not show any bias. Bennis. W (1989).
Organization capacity is the ability of one to pursue his objectives and controls his performance. He should have the ability to coordinate different state functions and institutions, should be able to exert lawful authority over different state functions and should also play a crucial role in controlling people in different government institutes. He should have the capacity to liaise the different security apparatus to ensure that national security is maintained. Bennis. W (1989)
Political skill refers to the characteristic where one has the ability to exert influence on others. The aspiring candidate should have the ability of understanding others and use that knowledge to manipulate other’s people action and thinking. He should be able to build trust among the electorate as this will make the implementation of his ideas and objectives by the citizen to be easy as he will be having their goodwill .The aspiring leader should be having a large political contact with the people who are of help to him as this will enhance his political strength through advise and moral support. Ridley M (2003).
Vision refers to the focus and plan showing ones aim to achieve in future ones he gets to office. The aspiring candidate should present the focus to the electorate to show how he is going to improve the nation socially, politically and economically. He should show a focus of the policies he intends to introduce and the changes he expects to make in the existing policies .The objectives he forecast should show some reality and should propose the objectives that look unachievable. Seligman, Martin (1988). Cognitive style describes the way individual think, perceive and recall information and use this information in solving problems. The USA is a multicultural country with different races. Due to this, the leader should be having both the field dependent and field independent style .Through this one is able to unite the nation and thus promote harmony in the nation. Seligman, Martin (1988)
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, assess and manage ones emotion and that of other people. This is important to the candidate who is aspiring for presidential as it will show his ability to persevere some difficult condition and also help the nation to come in terms with some situation that seem to be disastrous such as terrorism. Seligman, Martin (1988).
The USA presidential candidate with the best leadership characteristics
In the united states of America, there are three presidential aspirants with one already chosen to vie in a republican ticket while two in the democratic party still in the primary elections. Of the three candidates, the Illinois senator Barrack obama seems to be satisfying most of the character needed to become a good leader. On July, 18, 2007 in Washington DC, Obama gave a speech about poverty in the urban America .He wonders why in a country like the USA can have poverty in such level. Here he shows the trait of being caring as he empathizes with the poor. He says the poor are a neglected lot and promises that he will fully address the plight by creating more employment opportunities and provide more education opportunities.
On March, 18, 2008, Obama gave a speech on racial discrimination. It is believed that racial discrimination is a vice that still exists in the USA .He says that when he is elected president, he is going to bridge the gap between the different races and hence come out with a United States of America. This shows that he is ken in uniting the country once he is elected. The TIMEs in conjunction with CNN brings out a speech by Obama on Iraq war as at 19th march 2008 in a page by Mark Halperin.Obama says that the role of the commander in chief of the armed forces is to protect the country against any imminent danger but this should be done in a sober manner since one should look at the consequences of the steps taken. Iraq war has done more harm than good to the United States of America.
Ones he gets to power, he promises to withdraw troops in Iraq. This will enable the Iraq authorities to take full charge of the affairs of their country. He also says that this action of withdrawing troops will enable USA to be more peaceful. Here Obama shows that he is more courageous in taking such a decision. It also shows that he is a rational leader who looks at the possible consequence before acting. In 22nd June 2007, Obama gave a speech about fighting corruption in the government. He promises to bring about corruption free society. He also propose that employee should not overstay in an organization as this will increase the tendency of one becoming corrupt ,This is in a speech ,Obama catches the anti-corruption bug contained in Lessig blog.The anti-corruption attitude by Obama shows that he is honest and can be trusted in the management of the state resources when he is elected president.
Character brings out the real personality of an individual. It is on this platform that an individual should be judged on. An aspiring presidential candidate should have most of the leadership characteristics so that the electorate can have an opinion on who to elect. Also it is only through proper coordination of the leadership characteristics that effective leadership can be achieved.
Arnold M Ludwig (2002): King of the mountain: Nature of political Leadership: University of Kentucky press.
Laubach, R (2005): Leadership is influence: Macmillan.
Bennis. W (1989): On becoming a leader: Addison Wesley, New York.
Ridley M (2003): Nature via Nurture: Harper Collins, New York.
Seligman, Martin (1988): Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life: Addison Wesley, New York.