Right from aristocratic to democratic style, men and women the world over have chosen their own leadership styles to lead people in an appropriate manner. There are various qualities of a leader and numerous examples of people who have depicted them in the past.
Vision and Planning
The biggest asset of any leader is his vision and the plan that is used to achieve the vision. An appropriate vision is what people want. The vision is, in principle, a goal and promise for the people. The best example of a man who led his people towards a vision is, of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (born 1611). King Adolphus inherited 3 wars (against Russia, Poland and Denmark) when he took up the throne at the age of 17. The young king had vision for his people and thus started Sweden's journey to status of superpower. The feats of King Adolphus include, his successful military campaigns against several European powers, fast and highly effective technological advancements and well oiled empire with an efficient bureaucracy. The second example is that of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj of India, founder of Swaraj empire, in a Mughal dominated India. Born in 1642, Shivaji Maharaj was a benevolent leader. He started one of the most able administration system of his time. He was not just a king, but was a philosopher, economist, politician, and a just ruler.
Great communication skills is one of the most important leadership qualities, and this trait alone can separate the good from the great. Communication helps leaders to reach out to people and convey to them their vision and plans. It helps the leaders to gain the support and trust of people. The problem is that many leaders do not execute what they communicate. It is an age-old problem of many developing nations. Adolf Hitler is probably the best example of a leader who was skilled at communication. Hitler's favorite weapon of winning over people was giving speeches that were emotionally charged, and promised people, 'a better Reich'.
Winning the trust of people with righteousness is the greatest virtue of a leader. The modern leaders, especially political ones, rely on their honesty to gain the trust of people. A very good policy that has been implemented in many nations across the world is transparency and public accountability. With a view to put down policies on paper and legalize this transparency, many nations have also passed several enactments such as Right to Information Act. Apart from transparency, leaders also should have a strong constitution and leadership principles that help him or her to gain righteous trust of the people. Late President Abraham Lincoln is probably the best example of a great leader who managed to gain the trust of people by skillfully handling of the Civil war and the Trent affair with effective leadership.
Decision-making is a heavy responsibility of any leader. Fast and mature decisions make leaders successful. Golda Meir, the 'Iron Lady' and the gentle grandmother of Israel, was a fearless political leader who initiated two highly acclaimed operations, namely Operations Wrath of God, and Yom Kippur War. Though Meir resigned after the war, the success of both the operations is beyond doubt. Meir's policies to protect interests of her people were certainly astounding and the quick decisions were noteworthy.
Commanding respect is an absolutely necessity for all leaders. Sir Winston Churchill serves the best example for this purpose. Churchill had a natural ability to command people and their respect both at the same time. He is often credited to be the leader of the Allies in the Second World War. His study of the fighting armies and the deliberation with which the war should turn was one of his greatest achievements. His ability to handle soldiers, armed forces officials and politicians with sufficient practicality, humanity and perfect understanding made him a leader worthy of sincere respect.
Enabling people to participate in leadership and management has been a sensitive issue for all leaders worldwide. Ricardo Semler, a Brazilian industrialist of the 20th century has modeled the best business workplace with people participation. His establishment 'Semco' is a company where workers select their own superiors and research and development is conducted by every working person. The employees have members in management and also have a right to approve and ratify the expenditure of the company. Semco has set before the world the ideal example of business leadership.
Turning the tide of difficulties and working as per their own morals, have made these men and women successful in history. Mere qualifications and support of the people is not what accounts to their success. Thinking in the right manner and maintaining their own morals in all possible situations has made them immortals in history. The best thing that can be pointed out is their love, dedication, honesty and sincerity towards their own people, who choose them as their leaders.