During the second half of the nineteenth century, two strong politicians vied for leadership of Great Britain’s government: William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. The two men were intense rivals.
In a career lasting over sixty years, Gladstone served as Prime Minister four separate times, the only person who did such distinction. He also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times.
Gladstone is famous for his oratory, his religiosity, his liberalism, his rivalry with the Conservative Leader Benjamin Disraeli, and for his poor relations with Queen Victoria, who once complained, “He always addresses me as if I were a public meeting.”
Britain’s oldest Prime Minister, he was known affectionately by his supporters as “G.O.M.” which stands for Grand Old Man. But to his rival Disraeli, G.O.M. means “God’s Old Mistake.
Disraeli twice served as Britain’s Prime Minister. A writer and aristocrat, he played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party, defining its policies and its broad outreach. Disraeli is remembered for his influential voice in world affairs and his one-nation conservatism or “Tory democracy.” He made the Conservatives the party most identified with the glory and power of the British Empire.
The conservative politician had throughout his career written novels, beginning in 1826. He published his last completed novel, entitled “Endymion,”shortly before he died at the age of 76.
“Though both men accomplished much for Britain, what really separated them as leaders was their approach to people,” wrote John C. Maxwell in one of his best-selling books on leadership.
Maxwell cited the difference through a story told by a young woman who dined with the two rival politicians on consecutive nights. “When asked her impression of them, she said, ‘When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England,” wrote Maxwell. “But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.”
In his introduction of the book, Maxwell wrote: “Everything rises and falls on leadership. And leadership truly develops from the inside out. If you can become the leader you ought to be on the inside, you will be able to become the leader you want to be on the outside. People will want to follow you. And when that happens, you’ll be able to tackle anything in this world.”
To be a leader is a great responsibility. That was the reason why Moses questioned God when He told him “to bring my people out of Egypt.” He asked God: “Who am I, that I should to go Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt.”
A person doesn’t become a leader right there and then. “Leadership,” defines Peter Drucker, an Austrian-born American management consultant, “is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
A good leader possesses some characteristics which should go beyond what an ordinary person has. “The challenge of leadership,” said American author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
The reason why I am writing this is not because election time is fast approaching. It is still in 2016 yet but I think Filipinos need to think about a leader who should help us in bringing the country out of misery.
Last week, I was cleaning my drawer when I came across some yellowed clippings of articles which I have collected through the years. One of those was a column by Bob Garon, one of my favorite columnists.
The reason why I saved the article was because it discussed about the alphabet of action for a leader. Yes, it’s from A to Z and tells what a leader should do. Allow me to share them to you:
Affirm that you can do it. Believe that somehow, sometimes, somewhere, through someone’s help, you can achieve your heart’s highest goal. Commit yourself to a dream. Dare to try. Dare to love. Dare to make a commitment. Dare to take a risk. Educate yourself. Don’t be tempted to, as many are, avoid the hard years of serious study.
Find the talent, possibilities, the time, the money, and the way. Give. It’s the secret of successful living. Hope is holding on, praying expectantly. It’s never giving up. Imagine. Possibility thinking is in actuality the exercise of dynamic, creative, sanctified imagination. Junk the junk food of your mind — to keep hope alive.
Knock out depression, knock out discouragement, and knock out all kinds of forecast of gloom and doom. Laugh. You must keep a sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself. Make it happen. You can make it happen when you manage because possibility thinking is really another label for dynamic mental management.
Negotiate. If you want to get A to Z in the Alphabet Action of Possibility Thinkers, you have to be able to negotiate. Overlook and overcome. If you’ve made it to O, you’ll have been successful enough to know that you can’t succeed without a team. Persevere, don’t give up. Tough times never last, but tough people do.
Quit complaining, because life isn’t as nice as you want it. Reorganize. If you haven’t succeeded, then you have to say, “I need to reorganize.” Share. God can do tremendous thing through the person who doesn’t care who get the credit and is willing to share the credit, share the power and share the glory.
Trade off. You’ll have to decide what you will give up in order to keep what you’ve got. Unlock some human values you never experienced before: faith, hope, and love. Visualize the dream before you. Work; there’s no substitute for work. Success is spelled w-o-r-k.
X-ray. If you’re pursuing a job, if you’re on your way toward a goal, if you’ve got a dream, and you’ve gotten this far, it’s high time you stopped once more and x-rayed your deepest motives. Yield yourself to God. Jesus said, “For what it will profit a man, if he gains the whole world and losses his own soul.” Zip it up. Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” If you live by this creed, x-ray your motives, and yield it all to God, then you come to the end and you can zip it up.
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself,” commented Jack Welch, the chairman and chief executive officer of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. “When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”