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When Ronald Reagan said, "What I'd really like to do is go down in
history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again", he
probably was not thinking too much about the definition of leadership. However,
without realizing, he pretty much defined it. I believe the definition of
leadership is having a impression on others, and not only inspiring them, but
making a physical difference in their lives (hopefully in a good way).
Without that aspect, there is not only no effective leadership, but there is no
leadership at all.
To have this ability to make impressions and differences, you need
communication skills. One who can not communicate well will never be a leader.
A leader must know how to speak so his ideas are understood in the correct way.
Ronald Reagan very own nickname was "The Great Communicator." The examples
that prove his nickname true are his great acting skills, the fact that his
talks with the Soviet Union push to the Russian move toward capitalism.
The next aspect of effective leadership is the ability to make decisions
to change, and not always stick to the status quo. What good is a leader who is
afraid of change? Despite economic setbacks, President Reagan reduced
government spending tremendously, and cut back on business regulations to
strengthen the business sector of the economy. By making this change, the
inflation rate fell 13% to 2%, and created thousands of jobs for Americans.
When Reagan entered office, the unemployment rate was 10.8%, when he left it was
5.3%. This economic growth would have never come if Reagan did not have the
will to change.
Even though Reagan's term sounds successful, there were many problems.
Failure is an aspect of leadership whether we want to believe it or not. The
drug menace, loss of international competitiveness, falling standards in
education, and the rising national debt were all of Reagan's flaws. However,
to be an effective leader, one must realize that there will be flaws such as
Reagan experienced in his term, and it is the effective leader's duty to try to
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I believe to become a leader in any situation, I must apply all of these
aspects to the best of my ability. I also need to try to learn from past
leaders such as President Reagan so I may be able to repeat the accomplishments
and avoid the shortcomings. All this, and keeping in mind that the impressions
I make upon my followers, matter more than anything.