The first mission of a true leader is to search, jointly with the people, for A COMMON VISION, a nation’s or an organization’s common aspiration, one that embodies the dreams, the desired situation, the long-range goals of the people. The leader must be able to articulate in few and simple words what the people wish fervently in their hearts and minds. He must not impose on the people what he personally wants. Rather, he must guide them in expressing their own genuine definition of the future that they choose to create for themselves and for their posterity. Moses was such a leader.
The second mission of a leader is to UNITE THE PEOPLE and in the pursuit of the common vision. This vision must be taught by him and his trusted co-teachers to all the people. The common vision should transcend all barriers, break all boundaries of social and economic status and political colors and ideological leanings. Uniting the people means that the leader must be able to create a unifying message of hope, a reassuring atmosphere, where the strong shall not oppress the weak, and the weak shall not rebel against the strong. Jesus Christ was such a leader.
The third mission of a leader is to formulate a PLAN AND STRATEGY, in constant and continuing consultation with the people. He must be able to point out a way, a set of specific steps, and definite time table. He must have a Plan A and a Plan B and even a Plan C. He must be able to present to the people many viable options and to discuss with them the advantages and the downside of each. Then, listening to the people, choose the best alternative. He must have the wisdom to know beyond what the ordinary mortal can discern and the courage to fight for his convictions. King Solomon was such a leader.
The fourth mission of a leader is to INSPIRE THE PEOPLE. He must make them feel good, be proud of their identity and be filled with enthusiasm to pursue the common vision. The leader’s life must be a living example of virtue and rectitude. He must be an inspiring behavior model, one that ignites the sparks of hope and dynamism among his followers. The way he lives his life must inspire respect and move people to emulate his deeds. Mahatma Gandhi was such a leader.
The fifth mission of a leader is TO TEACH THE PEOPLE, to widen their horizons, to awaken their consciousness, to open their eyes to the truths, and to teach them to stand up for what is right and resist what is wrong, to motivate them to search for knowledge. A leader may even lead the people to temporarily experience pain, precisely in order to gain the determination to fight against all those who cause such painful experience. He must also teach them new skills and technology to enhance their empowerment. Dr. Jose Rizal was such a leader.
The sixth mission of a leader is to make HONESTY, INTEGRITY, ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY as guiding principles in his decisions and actions. He must always keep the people informed of his important moves and all the directions he is taking. Since he is occupying a public post, it is his duty to open the books of the organization, to answer any question and never to attempt to mislead them on important matters that affect their future. He must also accept responsibility for all the consequences of his actions and decisions. The late President Ramon F Magsaysay was such a leader.
The seventh mission of a leader is to SHARE THE PEOPLES’ JOYS AND PAINS all the time. In victories and in defeats, the true leader should not abandon his people. Better still, to his people, he would attribute the cause of their success and to him and to him alone, the cause of their defeat. In times of dangers, like in most dangerous battles, the leader should be in front. In times of celebrations, he should lie low at the back. The leader should remain humble and magnanimous ready to forgive and understand. The late Secretary Jess Robredo was such a leader.
The last mission of a true leader is to STAND FIRM ON HIS PRINCIPLES AND CONVICTIONS and be willing to die if it is necessary. In matters of principles, he stands like a rock. In matters of style, he swims with the current. In the face of his enemies, he would rather die standing up than live on his bended knees. Ninoy Aquino was such a leader.