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Qualities of a Great Leader

By Airman Sang W. Lee 608th Air Communications Squadron

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There have been countless leaders in the course of history. Good or bad, leaders impact the lives of subordinates for better or worse. A good leader should be honest and full of integrity, be able to put others before themselves and be tactful in the way they speak to subordinates, much like the core values we practice in the United States Air Force.

Ruling by fear does not produce genuine respect from anyone. People may smile in your face and tell you what you want to hear, but those things are accompanied by bitterness and resentment. On the other hand, a leader that kills with kindness is loved by most. People are happy to get things done for those types of leaders. The subordinates work hard to make that leader happy.

Take Mahatma Gandhi for example, a great leader in history that led the fight for Indian nationalism against British rule in the 1920s. He did not lead using fear or brute force. He was a peaceful and wise man who used non-violent protests to get his point across. In the end, he succeeded in his goal.

Gandhi is often recognized as one of the greatest leaders in history. On the other hand, you have historical leaders that have led using the power of fear. Iconic figures such as Joseph Stalin and Attila the Hun are often remembered in a negative light.

Leaders come and go, but how will you be remembered? Are you a leader who has positively influences others with kindness and guidance or a leader who leaves others with bad memories? How will you impact the lives of those you lead?