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Finding The Leader In You

By Michael Ringrose

Identifying the Leader in You

Leaders have many attributes, many qualities, many styles and many faces. They can be presented in a formal way, easily enough identified, as for example, military leadership. Distinctive uniforms separate the soldier from the masses and within that category, badges, stripes, stars, braids, ribbons, ranks and titles, all assist in placing the individual at his or her appropriate place within the organisation.

In civilian life, other symbols are utilized to signal the importance and status of individual leaders within our societies and there are a multiplicity of agencies, PR professionals, State Agencies, Event Managers, etc., whose function in life, it appears, is to enable others to identify and build images of themselves and then use mechanisms to portray those images to appropriate audiences.

These strategies are used in order to add weight and importance to the presence of the individual leaders and also as influencers in communicating messages from leaders to their supporters and followers and also, to attract more support in advancing whatever is the campaign or mission.

We all succumb to these strategies and subliminally absorb them, from television programmes, newspapers, magazines, promotion events and rarely allow ourselves the time to analyse or even question the substance of the message propagated by such "leaders".

When it is time to elect a government, we do the same. When candidates present themselves, seeking our vote to elect them into high office, we readily accept the categorisation of policy. In the US we have Republican or Democrat; in Europe, divisions tend to be more diversified, with candidates coming from Labour Movements, Liberal or Conservative, Socialist, Communist, Democratic of Fascist camps of one kind or another. In other countries, of course, choice is not offered and is not an option. Winston Churchill is credited as saying; democracy is a dreadful process until you try the alternative.

Where do such leaders get their power? Excepting countries where there is no choice and, indeed even there, there is choice but the subject of another article) they derive their power from the people. Who are the people? Most of "the people" are content to exercise their 60 seconds of democracy, the time it takes to cast your vote, once every 3, 4 or five years. In casting that vote we identify the leaders we wish to put in place to rule us and our lives and expectations over the next number of years.

The real leaders are the individuals who choose the leaders but we do not permit ourselves to create and establish that identity in the process. We rather go through it as a duty and allow those seeking our support to present as if we have no choice but to give it to them and they, by and large, accept it as of right.

Individual people, all of whom collectively constitute community, society, country, possess a range of power and influence in our lives. No matter where we are and what our status we are in control of our own lives. The exercise of choice, having due regard to the rights and entitlements of others, is the key to our success and happiness. It is the exercise of our authority over our lives. It can be, judiciously utilised, be a key influencer, for the better, over the lives of others. Use it, use it wisely and use it well.

Michael D. Ringrose is a retired Senior Police Officer. He is currently engaged in building a national advocacy cross disability organisation enabling individuals and their families to influence and impact on decisions and policies that effect their lives and experiences.

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