It’s easy to disparage humanity in many, many ways. We see the difficulty the planet is in due to carbon emission, political fighting and idiocy from both sides of the table, and a range of incompetence through and through.
However, that doesn’t mean that humanity is anything other than absolutely mind-blowingly impressing in many, many fields. Just look at the technological aids we take for granted today.
But this doesn’t happen accidentally, nor are technological progressions the highest tier of human achievements to be aimed at.
In this article, we hope to express what the best leaders of history have all known, what form of attitudes they take to the world in front of them, and how they take the time to effectively improve the world around them. We will used historical and present-day examples in this article. Who knows? Perhaps with diligent effort and a dream, you could count yourself among this number.
True leaders are a rarity. But almost all of them share these virtues:
Pride For Their Culture
Almost no person of national prominence has had anything but love for their culture, and a desire to improve it. They will often be connected to the roots of that culture, and as such feel grateful for their maturation in such an environment.
Often, it’s hard to see the pure beneficial effect that person has had on their environment while they’re alive and working hard. Usually, those who are competent leaders focus more on results and not the perception of them that will follow.
Pride for their culture means preserving it. It means caring for the language, the art, the history.
This is why the best leaders of history and today have a keen interest in the developmental beauty of a people, no matter what artificial borders lay in and around them - they know that real culture is held in the hearts of those who possess it, and divided land is simply a means of logistical differentiation.
Often, those who really try to move the path forward aren’t given half as much credit as they deserve. This is case in point with His Highness Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, who is currently working with diligence to help the United Arab Emirates, directly within Ras Al Khaimah directly in the Arabian Gulf.
Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi is a leader of industry, and knows that positive cultural celebration can become a breeding ground for investment.
These actions, and the presence of leaders like this espouse the ‘bread and soul’ measure of fantastic leadership and a vision for the future. It’s essential for them to focus on what makes their country tick, and how they might improve matters for those they are responsible for.
But without logistical knowledge, tangible planning via economical or practical means, and without a generous helping of celebrating and respecting the thing you’re trying too improve. Too much soul is difficult to put into practical practice.
Too much practical vision lacks soul, and can become too corporatized. This is what the best business leaders understand, but it’s what the best leaders in general master.
Integrity is one of those virtues that is perhaps the most tantamount to ‘honor,’ although it’s rare for that word to be used these days. Integrity is sticking to your word, keeping direct and accurate in both thought and deed, and ensuring you know where your priorities are.
This is why honest politicians are often those who rise to the height of our respect. It’s the ability to turn down simple profit, because sometimes there are things more valuable to lose than the opportunity of money. Integrity is the bedrock that generates the inspiration in those under you.
We think very harshly about leaders who sell their people into difficulty, or are corrupt. We know that those who embezzle funds from a business are looked down upon, not only through the eyes of criminal law. The best leaders understand integrity, and would do anything to sustain it.
Walk With Villagers & Kings
The best leaders walk with villagers and kings at the same time. It is often said of the main religious figures that they had the careful touch to honestly address those from all castes of society without judgement but a goodwill towards all.
If you’re hoping to be a leader in business, you must speak with equal respect to those part-time workers in your mailroom, to those who are planning to invest deeply into your firm. Respect is free, and can be given with diligence. The best thing about this is that respect is often reciprocal, and thus generates a positive feedback loop that all can appreciate.
Against The Odds
We respect leaders who go against the odds in order to pursue their vision. This might be a plan for a country, a new direction for a business, or a sports coach willing to take a different, risky plan. We also appreciate those who are self-made, and those who craft their destiny.
The famous poem by William Ernest Henley ‘Invictus,’ once stated: ‘It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ This is often repeated in athlete mantras, by CEO’s looking to stay direct to their vision, and anyone hoping to pull themselves up from the bottom.
We think of incredible self-made men such as Benjamin Franklin, who enjoyed absolutely nothing given to him. He had to forge his path crafting a successful printing business, then turning to an author and crafting his deepest thoughts about a range of topics, many of his books are celebrated critically today.
History is often made up of those who weren’t placed into their position, but through hard work and effort made the most of themselves despite themselves, and not only hoped for a better future, but knew it was going to be so.
Caring For The Result
Great leaders not only set things into motion, but they care about where that motion leads. They understand that changes come like a large ship on the water. To turn immediately might not be possible, but turning a degree in either direction can lead to a large difference in distance over time.
Passing It Down
Those who are great leaders often feel, through positive pressure from their peers or through a need to express themselves, that writing down their memoirs and passing down their knowledge might help the next version of them get a leg up, and begin to craft good at a more frequent pace than they could.
The utter impartiality of wanting to make the world better is a strange one here. They understand that this is a process, and that not every achievement can be identified as them.
The Ancient Greek proverb, often attributed to Plato, suggests that ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.’ It’s not hard to see how passing down knowledge can be part of this blossoming tree.
It’s why great leaders worldwide often release their memoirs, and even begin speaking tours after their term has come to an end. Passing down opinions, insight and knowledge, even if tained or not completely relevant at the time, can be useful for the context it brings and for us all to understand and learn.
With these thoughts in mind, who knows if you might be the next great leader of history?