Keen, charismatic and confident; image traits of today’s leaders

Two sides of a coin?

As BJP veteran LK Advani stepped up to deliver the keynote speech on day 2 of the HT Leadership summit 2011, two things were clear. One – the man, who’s being heralded as the harbinger of change (I refer to the hundreds of billboards across the Capital city) by the BJP was going to use this opportunity to highlight the ‘national significance’ and ‘benefits to the country’ of his latest anti-corruption yatra; and two, there was no way the press was going to let him think that his yatra benefited anyone else, but himself. Fending of an onslaught of similarly themed questions, the press were keen to know “to what extent can the BJP drive the campaign of delivering better governance using the image of only one recognizable personality?”

So if the question is, can one man – a figurehead, possess traits strong enough to unite a nation, towards a single goal? Then, what are those traits and how does one make a good leader?

Here are a few ‘living’ answers.

1.   Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange is probably one of the most moral leaders alive. Debatable? Well, to the millions of his fans worldwide, he is a valiant campaigner for truth. Yet, to his critics, he is merely a publicity-seeker who needs to be silenced before he further spills their beans or even worse, their bank accounts! Described by those who have worked with him as intense, focused and highly intelligent, Julian Assange has an uncanny knack of creating an energetic atmosphere, where followers are immediately drawn by his truth seeking cause. Inspired by his keenness or motivated by his drive – “I would say that probably has something to do with his charisma”, said a reporter for the New Yorker magazine, who once spent several weeks travelling with him.

2.    So powerful a raconteur is President Barack Obama that after his presidential campaign speeches, people would often sift through his notes looking for hidden words that may have doubled up as hypnotic triggers, used to sway listeners. Described as charismatic and confident, the 44th president of the United States managed to charm one of the biggest nations in the world and hold on to the adulation of billions of people – domestic and foreign, despite a grim global scenario. A unique ability to draw others to his side and move them to accomplish a cause bigger than themselves; thus far, his cross-cultural approach to the world, thinking not only of US interests but also the interests of the other nations as well, has wooed many to his vision.

3.   Very few people exude the kind of confidence and cool demeanour that Rahul Gandhi does. The kind of confidence that branded Mayawati an “elephant that eats money, not grass”, in her very own state, and the kind of calm demeanour that is required when fighting two elections, in two foreign states – single handed. With brave ideas, a devil-may-care attitude towards opposing parties and a confident no-nonsense belief in the betterment of our country, the Gandhi scion, and youth icon is considered the future leader of India.

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