GRE Issue Essay 162

“Leaders are created primarily by the demands that are placed upon them.”

Who is a leader? A leader is a person who is followed by others due to his charisma and his ability to lead people in the right direction. A leader must exude qualities like confidence, integrity, dedication, honesty and competence in carrying out the tasks related to leadership. A leader has to cater to the demands of the people who are led by him. However, the contention that the demands of people can create a leader is not justified as not everyone can inculcate the qualities that are required of a leader. A person can be elected as a leader by his people but he will not be able to succeed in becoming an effective leader unless he has the inborn traits of leadership. Hence, it is true that leaders cater to the demands of the people who are led by them, but leaders can never be created by these demands alone.

A leader’s prime responsibility is to provide a solution for the development of the people who follow him. Take the example of political leaders. These leaders are elected by the general population. During the election process, political leaders are pitted against each other and the one who is able to garner the highest number of votes wins the election. What do these leaders have to do for winning elections? They have to consistently prove to the populace that they will cater to their demands and provide them with facilities that they are in need of. The leader who is ultimately voted into power is expected to carry out his promises. A leader who is able to meet the promises made by him during the campaigning process will probably be elected into power for the second term as well. His competence in carrying out the promises made by him cannot be developed overnight. People may have elected a person and placed demands on him, but he cannot win the confidence of his people and be respected as a leader unless he demonstrates leadership qualities.

The demands that are placed upon a person are a big challenge for him to become a leader. In a business enterprise, a manager is expected to lead the people working under him in such a way that the productivity of the company increases and the company reaps high profits. Good qualifications and experience may have assisted in placing the manager in this position. However, he will need leadership skills in addition to his capabilities in order to meet the demands placed upon him if he has to succeed as an effective leader. Inability of the manager to handle the people under him in the most cost-effective manner may lead to a scenario wherein he is replaced by a more competent manager. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for a person to prove his competence after being nominated as a leader because merely placing demands is not sufficient for creating leaders.

One can look up history to find examples of numerous leaders who rose to lead their people because there were demands placed upon them. Mahatma Gandhi led the people of India to independence, but could the people of India have created a Mahatma Gandhi out of any other person by placing demands on him? It was the qualities, ideology and principles of Mahatma Gandhi which were revered by the people who followed him. The freedom struggle of India placed crucial demands on all its leaders, however only a few of them were actually able to lead the people successfully. Therefore, effective leaders can be created by external demands placed on them along with the support of the inherent leadership qualities that are required to be present in the person who is nominated as a leader.