Leadership is part of the social evolutionary process in a community. Many creatures on earth follow an Alpha in their groups like primates and lions. In human societies, a number of theories emerged discussing the subject of what makes a leader. One theory was the traits theory which dominated humans’ thought of leadership most of humanity’s history, and still most humans believe that a leader is utterly a group of characteristics. This was clear to me during my last participation in a leadership project where we were told a number of core values for women leaders, and these values were: authenticity, empathy, patience, wisdom, humility, courage and transcendence of love.
These core values should exist in all human beings and are not just an exclusive franchise for leaders, but they can work as a raw base for the emergence of a good leader. I would argue that a leader cannot be separated from the situational influences and efficiency. Owning a position, having the power, controlling apparatus, ability to affect public-opinion, all previously mentioned are qualities for leadership, but do not necessarily make a good leader i.e. autocratic or authoritarian leadership style. One leadership theory that attracts my attention is the Neo-emergent theory which states that a leader’s image is made by the stories told about him/her. In the past, stories of heroism in a battleship or an adventure (whether false or true), used to bring leaders close to the public. We can see this matter taking a lunatic turn nowadays turning leaders into stars. In the information age and free markets, it seems that a shift in humans’ interest occurred to place a great care on much trivial leadership traits like the kind of a shoe that the first lady is wearing, and this accompanied by stories of praise by media of how classy, talented and smart the choices of this first lady, giving an honorable picture of the country to the world. This happened in Syria, as the first lady syndrome moved to our area, but the first lady always wanted more for herself and less for everyone else. Is this an example for leadership?
There is an epidemic glorification of leaders that must stop, this glorification is bringing with it toxic leaders that leaves their communities in a worse state than before they take control. One main thing we must know, a leader is in service of the public to give aid, support and organizes communities’ relations and resources to reach a common goal, and not the opposite. Leaders in this age talk too much and do nothing, or little, which raises the question in my mind: do they have the power anymore to act?
One of my main criteria regarding identifying a leader is to examine how much this leader helped the society to develop and thrive naturally, how much this leader motivated the society to think critically and ask questions.
When the Arab spring started, there were no identified main leader among the masses, there were a collective movement. Although in my humble opinion, most of these masses were not equipped with the necessary awareness and knowledge for how to act collectively responsible without a leader, but I see that this might be a futuristic cocoon for societies. The mission of the leaders nowadays is to prepare the society for this step. I am not saying to eliminate the role of a leader entirely, but this role will change into more integrated one in a society.