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Traits of a Leader

Characteristics and attributes are seemingly international throughout the world, yet, possessing certain traits may lie in the work of construction, in a sense of preparation to develop a quality, or in fate itself. Most citizens of a society are born with traits which lead them to act a particular way or even lean towards a less than neutral option. In a society within itself, a leader most likely lies, acting in a manner which a king or tyrant would, maybe even behaving in a way where the potential courage or leadership the person possess overtakes them to act in accordance to the situation. Plutarch has written about legendary leaders, Demosthenes, Cicero, Pericles, and even Fabius Maximus included, showcasing these heroic characters and their attributes of leadership.

Athenians hardly saw Demosthenes, an oracle and statesman who grew up in Greece, as the type of man who possessed the right to call himself a leader. They distrusted him and his warning concerning Phillip of Macedon, who had plans to overtake Greece. Demosthenes, nevertheless continued to strive his best in order to alert his fellow citizens about their situation. Even though the citizens did not believe he had the potential to be a leader, neither believing the forewarning Demosthenes had shared, he, himself, knew the truth. He was motivated to strike alertness in the people, showcasing his decision to act somewhat like a leader. Being a leader does not require a person to be leading an army or group of people forward, but it requires the characteristics and virtues that are often lost in a man until recovered or sought out again. Within the virtues lies courage. Courage to face what is right in front of a person, as that person in specific strives to lack fear. They carry courage for anyone who decides to side with them in their belief or trial. Not all leaders’ destiny is to win, even though, that is what they most aspire to do. Demosthenes himself knew he may not be able to win, to set his fellow citizens free, yet instead of backing down and accepting the situation, the fate, the future that he knew was going to be his, he decided to dedicate the time and effort to prepare himself. He prepared himself in order to lead and die, because he knew others were depending on him to act the role of their leader, who the citizens now saw him as.

Similar to Demosthenes, Cicero of Rome was an orator, one who had to earn his title without the help of inheritance or given blessings and riches at birth. He was somewhat unreasonable and acted upon his own accord, basing on his ‘ unfair ‘ execution concerning some conspirators. Cicero did not lead the citizens of Rome to victory, unlike how most known leaders have done. He had even halfheartedly sided himself when it came to the conflict between Pompey and Caesar. Cicero seems to be an example of a man who was not born a leader, nor became one in the future, but a man who had a sense of leadership within a situation. The circumstance in which he was involved in was the Cataline conspiracy, which later led him to his temporary exile. After he came back Cicero was welcomed into an extensive mess involving the future of Rome. Before this all happened, though, Plutarch showcases that Cicero himself was responsible and involved in uncovering the Cataline conspiracy. He took on the task for the good of Rome. Although wishing for people’s safety and reassurance is a thought many people can have, it just signifies the fact that they possess a sense of apathy. In truth, most of those people may look up to someone in specific to take action, to decide their future for them. Cicero did just that, even taking it too far to insure safety and executing conspirators, which later led him to pay the price with karma. Cicero was not born with exceedingly high amounts of riches or popularity, yet he was able to take action for the people who depended on him.

A man who appears to be insolent and pompous would never cross someone’s mind as a person who had the potential of being a leader. Pericles, a man born of the tribe Acamantis, knew and kept that in mind as he proceeded his days. He seemed set on being equal with that of a “common man” preserving his pride and envy, which are sins that some people showcase in their lifetime, all the while doing so. Pericles was a man who stood up amongst all people in his city. He was someone who those people looked up to, and who those in his party wished could be equally rivaled with someone else. Seeing as he was the ” greatest and foremost man of all the city”, his siding party imagined Pericles standing with one who equally rivaled him and who was worthy of being his opponent. The people wished to avoid seeing Pericles be and become an overbearing ruler, comparing him to Thucydides, who represented somewhat of their nobility, in a case where the people were to see themselves as Pericles. Pericles, in Plutarch’s readings, appears as a leader character who understood and who wanted to understand his people to the point of representing them in himself. Someone who leads accordingly does not go by his own laws and opinions alone. More so, they should know and act upon the majority of the group’s decision, keeping in mind logic and what is right and wrong in the process. One who seems prideful and overwhelming with arrogance will most likely be someone who is not fit to lead their people, and if so, they will lead them into a careless situation.

A leader may not just possess traits in which emotions or virtues are involved. One who has wittiness alongside a sense of cleverness occupying a section of their mind carry an essential and must-have trait in order to, while not needed to be titled as someone with the skill of leadership, lead their companions to victory or reassurance. Fabius Maximus, or Fabius if addressing him informally, appears to be the cleverest in comparison to the leader-like characters mentioned before, this generally includes Demosthenes, Cicero, and even Pericles. Unlike most others Fabius did not study in law, yet he was clever in terms of acting and manipulating his enemies to do as he desired. When the time came where he was fated to go against the likes of Hannibal, Fabius used a tactic. He quickly figured out a certain detail, a certain trick, as he observed the circumstance Hannibal was in and managed to capture some of the ‘beasts’ in his hands. When he put his tactic into action, it led him and his troops to somewhat of a victory. With this, he used inner emotions and virtues still, examples are courage and bravery, yet he also used an observation trick which required thorough thinking and ingenious analyzing on his part.

Although not all attributes and characteristics are showcased with in these four characters which Plutarch has written readings about, it further proves a certain point, which introduces the fact that a leader, like the four previous men mentioned, cannot act upon his own ignorance and pride. A person taking on the role of a leader, must carry the burdens and desires of the people who walk, not behind, but alongside them, accompanying him on his adventure or trial in which he does not know the end to. A person could consider themselves a king, a tyrant, or even a citizen with power unlike the rest, but, if they do not possess bravery, most other virtues, and concerns about the people who depend on them, then they must question if they can really call themselves fit to be a leader.

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