Qualities of Leadership the Concept Essay

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So, in some case, leadership does not necessarily link with responsibility for the men, but rather with the relationship with the persons who are led. Napoleon was able to concentrate the energies of his men in a way that served his best interests.

This links with Raymond Carver's story, in the sense that good leadership is also about good communication, about the ability of passing the appropriate message. The main theme of his story is that of communication (or lack of), namely of finding the right words to pass on to the others. The right words are fundamental, because they help connect individuals and fostering this relationship is perhaps the most important part of good leadership.

The most important point in "Cathedral," from a leadership perspective, is when the husband finds himself at a loss of words when trying to describe the cathedral to Robert. He is, throughout the story in fact, a bad communicator. Robert, on the other hand, connects well with his wife particularly because, since he is blind, and, as such, other forms of communication skills have developed. He is also a good leader, so he is also able to connect with the husband, including in the process of drawing a cathedral. The end of the story shows a process in which the blind man leads with concrete directions, but also personal communication: "We're drawing a cathedral. Me and him are working on it. Press hard" (Carver, 1983), but also "You didn't think you could. But you can, can't you" (Carver, 1983). The latter phrase shows the motivational skills that the blind man has, another important component of leadership skills.

Comparing this with the Napoleon example previously mentioned, the blind man shows himself as an excellent communicator, finding the right words to motivate his people. President Lincoln was also a great communicator, just as President Kennedy. One can remember, for example, The Gettysburg Address, in Lincoln's case, or the famous speech that Kennedy made in Berlin (and the famous words "Ich
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bin ein Berliner"- I am also a Berliner, which immediately attracted German sympathy). So, a conclusion for this part can be that good leaders are also excellent and motivational communicators.

It is difficult to concretely link leadership and integrity. Everyone will likely prefer a leader who has integrity rather than one who has not. Certainly, a leader should not make his followers do things that lack integrity. However, unfortunately, history shows that this is not always the case. Hitler, one has to say, is an example of good leadership. Following what has been previously discussed, he was also an excellent communicator: there is still footage with his discourses and impressive crowds. However, his leadership was anything other than linked to integrity.

Another example could come from the business world. Kenneth Lay, former CEO at Enron, was seen for many year as a visionary leader, one who proposed a new path for Enron, introduced the company to new market segments and created economic markets. It turned out this was not the case: he had indeed been a successful leader, but not an integer one. Examples like Robert in "Cathedral" are fictionalized characters and, quite often, not much in common with leaders in history. For these, an approach that Machiavelli suggested is probably more common, one where the leader makes compromises to reach his objectives and is always ready to sacrifice his or her integrity in the short-term, in order to promote medium and long-term interests.

It is also interesting to note that literary characters such as Jesus or Robert, present punctual approaches to leadership, specific cases where they acted in a certain way. It is difficult to extrapolate this to a general situation for the character. For historical figures, however, this is easier to do, since the perspective is much wider and over many years and actions.


1. O'Brien, Tim (1990). The Things They Carried. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

2. Carver, Raymond (1983). Cathedral New York: Knopf

3. Chemers…

Sources Used in Documents:


1. O'Brien, Tim (1990). The Things They Carried. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

2. Carver, Raymond (1983). Cathedral New York: Knopf

3. Chemers M. (1997) An integrative theory of leadership. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers

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