A Confluence of Traits
If you were giving out a prize for leadership, the likely recipient would be someone who possesses not just one outstanding quality but a confluence of strong traits. Time and again, we see this kind of depth in our best leaders. To begin with, they are passionate about a cause. They have impeccable principles with respect to morality, justice, and ethics. They display patience; they persevere despite setbacks and criticism. They are individualists who understand the importance of teamwork. They are not obsessed with winning, and yet they fit the description of a winner.
Great leaders define competence. If they didn't, who would bother to follow them? They are courageous and willing to sacrifice, even to the point of putting their lives in danger, as was the case with previous Nobel Peace laureates Martin Luther King Jr. and Anwar Sadat. Even the most prominent of leaders must also have a sense of humility. They must be as interested in other people's success as they are in their own. Real leaders create other leaders.
A favorite historical figure who meets these criteria is Gandhi, though he never won a Nobel Prize. Going further back in history, before the Nobel prizes were established, one might cite Abraham Lincoln or the founding fathers, such as Washington and Jefferson, for the contributions they made to the advance of liberty around the world.
Indeed, everyone who wins a Nobel Prize fits the description of a leader. Nobel laureates are people who have long been trailblazers in their respective areas, who have persevered through years of hard work, doubt, and sacrifice. Like great leaders from all fields of endeavor, these laureates have not only provided vision but they have also possessed the passion, the patience, the skill, and the courage to turn vision into reality.
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