What makes a good leader? There have been many attempts to define the quintessential attributes of a strong leader. David Brooks has written a phenomenal essay on leadership, using the current question of whether or not Romney’s experience as a CEO ‘tells us anything about whether he would be a successful president.’ Paraphrasing David, high level leadership demands : 1) Emotional security, 2) Superb judgment, 3) Experience with facing crushing situations, and 4) Sense of being an instrument for achieving a higher purpose.
David contrasts leadership in business and politics, focusing on the backgrounds, abilities and life experiences of past Presidents to critique the requirements of, arguably, the most demanding position of leadership – the U.S. Presidency. But, an even more important value of his essay is his definition of true and effective leadership.
Politics aside, his definition is useful in evaluating potential leaders for any position which demands high level capacity in this critical attribute. In my experience, leaders who succeeded in bringing their organization through tough challenges and who led their organizations to great growth and long lasting success had those four attributes.
To read David’s article click here The C.E.O. in Politics – NY Times – David Brooks