What is a great leader? Great leaders accomplish. Great leaders inspire. But great leaders are not born as leaders. They are molded by the same fire that was meant to consume them. They are normal people who refuse to surrender in times of hardship and come out braver, more determined and yet, humbler. They come out as true leaders.
The qualities of a great leader are found in most common people as well. But very few of these people make an effort to amplify the effects of these traits by exercising them to the fullest. However, when a person is hit by a tragedy or is faced with an extreme situation, once can choose to rise up to the occasion and spread one wing of courage and valor. One can choose to defy the oppressive voices around them and start a new revolution. This display of character usually lies dormant in our minds until we are truly provoked.
So, yes anyone can become a leader if he or she channels just the right amount of courage at the right time.
History has proved, time and again, that leadership isn’t an act of God, but that of human perseverance. What makes a great leader
Here are a few examples that help clarify the qualities of a great leader.
Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the title of ‘Mahatma’ or ‘Great Soul’ was bestowed upon him much later in life. He was a lawyer by profession but failed to make a mark in India, professionally. He later moved to South Africa where he was faced with much better luck.
However, once while traveling by train, he was thrown out because he refused to move out of a first-class carriage to make space for a European passenger. This was followed by a series of racist incidents until he decided enough was enough. That was his defining moment.
He began developing his theory of ‘Ahimsa’ or Non-violence which eventually helped the black population in South Africa to win the Right to Vote, and more popularly, it was the driving force behind India’s successful Independence movement.
What did we learn from Gandhi?
His leadership teaches us not to take any discrimination lying down, but to fight for your rights. If even one person retaliates with confidence, many others will follow.
Born to a modest Albanian family, she was fascinated by stories of Christian missionaries working abroad. To realize this passion, she arrived in India as a sister of the Church, in the capacity of a teacher. Mother Teresa had some crucial moments that defined her role has one of the greatest contributors of our time. It wasn’t always her intention to help out the poor, in fact, for over twenty years she taught the wealthiest children in Calcutta, India. Every day she went about her day never venturing outside her tiny sphere of influence.
Until one night, she was walking down the street when she heard a woman crying out for help. It was in the moment that this dying woman fell into her arms that Mother Teresa’s life changed forever. She rushed this woman to the hospital, where she was told to sit and wait patiently. But Mother Teresa knew the woman would die without immediate attention. So she took her to another hospital where she was confronted by the same situation, again she was told to wait. Because of the woman’s social caste, it made her less of a priority, then others who were there. That night Mother Teresa took the woman home with her, and she died in the comfort arms of Mother Teresa.
That was her defining moment, the moment where she would decide: that this would never happen again to anyone within her reach. That was the moment she decided to devote her life to easing the pain and suffering of those around here so whether they lived or died they would do so with dignity.
What did we learn from Mother Teresa?
Her selflessness and dedication to humanity can only urge each one of us that great leaders do not always inspire people to fight for their own rights, but sometimes to fight for the rights of the less fortunate.
Popular as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, she still serves as an inspiration to those who face racial discrimination of any sort. In 1955, when she was traveling by bus, seated in the section reserved for colored people, she refused to give up her seat for a white person, upon being demanded to do so by the driver. That was her defining moment, though she had faced racial discrimination before, at that moment she decided that she will no longer allow herself to be abused anymore.
The driver threatened to have her arrested but she was not deterred. Eventually, she was arrested but her arrest sparked off the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was one of the turning points in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
What did we learn from Rosa Park?
Her story teaches us: to never surrender your personal position, no matter the severity of the force used against you. Stand for what you believe in, and the crowd will support you.
Enthusiastic about cartoon drawing from a very young age, he soon found that the entertainment business wasn’t very rosy. Early in his career, he was fired by the editor of a newspaper, citing ‘lack of imagination’. However, Disney wasn’t dissuaded and started making his own cartoons in Kansas City under the name ‘Newman Laugh O-grams’.
Though they were a hit, the company went bankrupt soon. He decided to try his luck in Hollywood, moving there with his brother. There too, he was met with success initially, but one of his business associates stole the rights to all Disney characters, leaving Disney with little money.
At this point, while most people would simply give up, Walt Disney dedicated all his time and energy in creating what would become the world’s most famous cartoon character, Mickey Mouse.
What did we learn from Walt Disney?
Disney’s story inspires us to not be bogged down by the challenges life throws at us. You must not only stand back up each time you are punched down but stand up back, taller.
Popular as a peace revolutionist, his childhood was spent in a very violent Jamaican neighborhood. Most kids his age took to violence to make name for themselves in the local society, but Marley refused. He escaped into his own world of music, from an early age and never looked back. He became one of the biggest icons ever, but he was much more than a that-a promoter of the peace who inspired millions of people to choose love over war.
Bob Marley once said, there will be no peace until “the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned” “there no longer are first class and second class citizens of any nation” and “basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all.”
What did we learn from Bob Marley?
He inspires many people, even today, to not give in to the demands of a failed society but to build a new world filled with love and peace.
These people exemplify the making of a great leader and the qualities of a great leader. So, what is stopping YOU?
So the next time you find yourself in the middle of a challenging or unfair situation remind yourself that nothing is happening to you, things happen simply to give us an opportunity to define who we want to be in those moments.
We all have struggles and we have all had unfair things happen to us, but its what we do with them that determines who we will become and the kind of life we will lead.
Will you empower yourself and disempower yourself when life brings you down?