leadership and William Donald Schaefer

Posted on: Thu, 04/21/2011 - 10:18 By: Tom Swiss

There have been many articles about William Donald Schaefer in the past few days, but I found this piece by Ray Jenkins particularly interesting. This is because Jenkins, a distinguished journalist who was a special assistant for press affairs to President Jimmy Carter and the editorial page editor of The Evening Sun during Schaefer's tenure as mayor, lays out a general theory of what it takes to make a leader:

...[T]he elements of political leadership are not really all that complicated. Three things are required: vision, courage, and tenacity — the capacity to see solutions to the problems that afflict mankind everywhere; the courage to stand before one's fellow citizens and say, "Let me lead you"; and an unflinching determination to see the job through. Once elected, a politician's constituents do not expect perfection, but they do expect two additional qualities: competence and honesty — sound judgment in performance, and a reasonable confidence that the leader always acts in the public interest and not out of some secret private gain.

This is a model I'm going to try to keep in mind as my on-the-job training in small-scale political leadership continues.