Leadership is a vital component in every society. It defines the values, goals, and objectives of people in the society. Effective leadership not only defines these elements, but also determines how they are achieved. The success of the political leadership and organization emanate from the leadership style of the leader.
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Therefore, to ensure success of political leadership, it is important to work with good leaders who are focused on positive results. Good leadership depends on the leader’s individual qualities or character (Crick 23).
Based on these assertions, this study will take a comparative stance by analyzing the good leaders, in particular Bill Clinton and John Kennedy. The characteristics of a bad leader will also be examined. In this comparison, the study will compare the New York Mayor Mr. Michael Bloomberg and the Toronto Mayor Mr. Rob Ford.
Political leadership and organization require the leader to exhibit exemplary characters of charisma, good interpersonal skills, results orientation and good problem solving skills (Wren 132). The personal qualities of a potential leader determine the outcome for the whole nation, so superior intelligence and education are a must. It is crucial that the person is respectable, reliable and just.
Since the market and economy greatly influence the outcome of the leader’s plans and goals it is their direct responsibility to predict any fluctuations and prevent loss of stability and control. This study will look at the relationship between a leader’s character and the success of the leadership style.
Empirical/ Theoretical gap
Political leadership and organization are among the most interesting topics that have attracted attention of various researchers and authors. Every leader faces a theoretical gap in relation to the practical control and functioning of a nation, and the knowledge or empirical understanding that was gained prior to becoming a member of the office.
When an individual starts running for presidency or other leadership position, they will mobilize the resources and the political processes that are necessary for taking charge. Often, the internal politics are not as clear cut before the person gets the position in the government. As such, they must become aware of the current matters regarding the economy and policies that need to be changed or added.
Every good leader has the ability to organize and mobilize forces that are directed towards the greater good of the nation. Sometimes, before the leader is selected, a candidate will make promises that sound fair, but the reality is somewhat skewed, as many details are still unknown.
As a result, the gap between theory and practice gets overlooked. This leads to promises that are broken, and a change in policies that was over optimistic beforehand. This is why foresight and empirical knowledge should be balanced with practice.
Mr. Bill Clinton
William Jefferson Blythe III (Bill Clinton) was one of the youngest presidents in America. The leader was elected to the office of the president as the 42nd president of the United States of America. Bill Clinton was also among the first Democratic presidents who managed to serve two terms in the office.
Clinton attended Edmund Walsh School and Georgetown University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree (Morris 100). There are several factors that make Bill Clinton a good leader who has ever ruled the U.S. Apart from being a charismatic and influential individual, the leader is mainly remembered for significant contributions to the development of the country.
Bill Clinton was of one of the American presidents who managed to reduce the deficits in the federal budget and the economic recovery. The economic team appointed by the president played an important role in reducing the government expenditure and proper use of public resources.
On the political front, Clinton facilitated the change process in the Democratic Party by ensuring that the party was open to many Americans from various dimensions of social life. The leader changed the party to accommodate the needs of minorities and other groups in the country.
During Clinton’s reign, the Democratic Party played an important role in protecting the disadvantaged groups and stimulated economic development through government initiatives (Morris 112).
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Before his life in politics, Bill Clinton served in various leadership capacities. This therefore indicates that Clinton was born with leadership qualities. He became the student leader of Georgetown University and was also the leader of the music band in college.
Clinton was also involved in humanitarian initiatives displaying his leadership skills which made him an effective member. For instance, his reforms in the health sector were aimed at improving accessibility and quality of health care. He received higher ratings from the members of the public due to his charisma and concerted efforts to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as environmental problems such as global warming.
Mr. John Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States of America. His accession to power was marked by contention when he narrowly defeated the Republican candidate Mr. Richard Nixon. He served from 1961 to 1963 when he was assassinated during a public rally. Prior to his political career, John Kennedy was a leader in various capacities especially in the military.
His participation in the navy earned him recognition and awards for exemplary service. John Kennedy was a brilliant naval officer who is remembered for successfully leading his combat in Panama. In the navy, he rose to the ranks of a lieutenant and was in charge of a patrol board that toured the Pacific theater.
Kennedy became a hero in the military sector when he saved the lives of his fellow naval officers when their boat capsized (Alford & Newman 49).
Comparing the achievement of the two leaders it is evident that John Kennedy’s achievements delved on a diverse range of issues in America. Clinton’s main achievement was based on economic improvement through reduced federal deficits. He also improved the education sector through adoption and enactment of various policies. John Kennedy on the other hand had achieved that touched on various aspects of life (Crick 110).
Most Americans believe that John Kennedy was one of the most successful presidents that ever ruled America. It was during his reign that America managed to land on the moon. It was also through John Kennedy that America was able to overcome the invasion of Cuba and the Soviet Union.
The president also played an important role in ending racial segregation in various transport facilities and social institutions such as schools. Kennedy’s initiative to establish the Peace Corps program placed him in a position of great leaders. These achievements therefore tend to surpass the achievements that were attained by President Bill Clinton (Wren 121).
Mr. Michael Bloomberg
Mr. Michael Bloomberg is the one of the longest serving mayors of New York. Elected in the year 2001, Mr. Bloomberg greatly contributed to the development of the city in various aspects. He started his career at Salmon Brothers. However, he was laid off when the company was sold to another organization.
After retrenchment, Mr. Bloomberg started his own company that offered business information and data management services to other organizations in New York (Bloomberg 23). Mr. Michael Bloomberg resigned from Bloomberg L.P. and joined politics in the year 2000. He decamped from the Democratic Party to contest for the mayoral post on a Republican ticket.
The mayor played an important role in transforming New York after the attacks of 2001. When he resumed office in the year 2001, the mayor introduced different policies that enhanced the performance of various sectors. For instance, in the year 2002, graduation from high school increased by more than 26%, crime rate decreased by 35%, and welfare rolls declined by more than 22%.
The mayor also played an important role in reducing other social problems such teen smoking and alcohol abuse among the youths. Mr. Bloomberg was one of the mayors of New York who facilitated economic growth and the creation of new job opportunities for the youths (Crick 76).
One of the key achievements that enabled the mayor to earn higher ratings from the public was his concerted effort to transform the education system. Bloomberg introduced new education policies, which improved the quality of education and rate of enrollment. Bloomberg is one of the most philanthropic individuals in the U.S.
The mayor has participated in several charity programs, and has donated his time and resources to various community based initiatives. Before politics, Mr. Michael Bloomberg was a great business leader in various organizations. He led the financial and equity department of Salmon Brothers and later became the chief executive officer and chairman of Bloomberg P.L (Bloomberg 23).
Mr. Rob Ford
Robert Bruce Ford joined politics in the year 2000 when he was elected the councilor to represent Etobicoke Ward in Toronto. Ford was first elected to the mayoral seat in the year 2010. Mr. Rob Ford has been overwhelmed by his personal escapades, which have greatly comprised his leadership qualities. Mr. Rob Ford has been accused of mismanaging public funds, conflict of interests, and drug abuse (Goddard 2011).
Before Rob Ford rose in politics, he had served in various leadership positions, especially in the business sector. The mayor had served as the director of the Ford Family Company before he was elected to mayoral positions (Wren 210).
As such, even though he had experience as leader, and accomplished some changes for the city, his personal life became too detrimental to the office. Every leader must realize that they are constantly watched by the public, and their professionalism in public life and governmental positions must be aided by their personal life.
As a leader, Ford has played an important role in ensuring that Toronto remains one of the safest cities with free health care programs. However, his critics believe that he has contributed to the collapse of the city council in Toronto. Mr. Ford has been blamed for mismanagement of funds. Compared to the New York Mayor, Mr. Ford was not focused on development, and did not implement change to policies and administration.
Benefits of Comparison
From the comparison of the various leaders discussed in this study, it is evident that leadership transcends from the character of the individual. Comparison of political leaders also reveals how various leaders affect the growth and development in the society. From the comparison of Bill Clinton and John Kennedy it is evident that Clinton introduced economic policies, which transformed the federal budgeting and expenditure.
Kennedy, on the other hand, played an important role in protecting the country against foreign invasion. Comparison of various leaders is important in expanding the knowledge on the topic of leadership and organization. It is also used in learning the various leadership styles that are used by the leaders (Creswell 189).
Methodology and Data
The research method employed in this study was qualitative. The researcher mainly relied on secondary and primary sources of data which provided reliable information on the topic. The researcher collected data by interviewing respondents who worked in government offices and other social institutions such as schools (Creswell 240).
The researcher visited the respondents in the areas and managed to collect data by accessing relevant materials on the topic. To get information about the two mayors the researcher interviewed the city council officials from New York and Toronto.
The researcher used a population sample of 25 respondents who were interviewed from various government offices and the city council departments. The following elements were considered for evaluation of leadership qualities.
|Leadership attributes||Score (Good)||Score (Bad)|
|Good management skills||72%||28%|
|Good Interpersonal skills||90%||10%|
|Control over personal matters||70%||30%|
From the above table, good or great leaders scored higher marks on the above mentioned attributes. For instance, the respondents believed that all the leaders from Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, Michael Bloomberg, and, Rob Ford had good management skills. The other important element was the control over personal issues. The respondents believed that a good leader should have control over their private life.
Uncertainty surrounding the results mainly emanate from the lack of accuracy of the information provided by the respondents during the interview. Everybody’s view is rather subjective, and might be based on understanding and information from other people. As such, only practical results can be properly evaluated.
Political organization and leadership are important areas of study which enable individuals to learn how organizations and regions are governed. Good leadership contributes to the development and growth of a given region in various aspects.
However, the success of a leader depends on the leader’s personal characters and the leadership style used in influencing issues, such as management of public resources and other important political and economic matters of the nation.
The short comings associated with this study mainly stemmed from the research method employed by the researcher and respondents who were interviewed.
Also, situational or environmental factors must be taken into consideration, as the difference between pre-election times might be greater when compared to the leader who has already been elected. It is critical to base theory and practice on realistic conditions and empirical knowledge.
Political leaders should uphold responsibility for issues that affect the society, and ensure individual discipline in the public domain. The amount of work that the leader has is a lot for one individual, so uniting the efforts in the fight for common goal must also be present. Considering all the qualities of a leader it is possible to see that the disadvantages must be minimal, if not non-existent at all.
The leader can focus all attention on promoting policies and regulations that are promised to the people, leaving the minor organization and support to the party members. Personal life is closely connected to the position of the leader, so it must be kept proper and respectful.
Alford, Mimi & Newman, Judith. Once upon a secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath. London: Hutchinson, 2011. Print.
Bloomberg, Michael. Bloomberg by Bloomberg. New York: John Wiley, 1997. Print.
Creswell, John. Qualitative inquiry and research design. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2009. Print.
Crick, Bernard. In defense of politics. London: Continuum, 2000. Print.
Goddard, John. “Doug Ford, Athlete, business leader, MPP”. Toronto Star 22 August. 2011. Print.
Morris, Roger. Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America. Washington: Regnery Publishing, 1995. Print.
Wren, Thomas. Inventing leadership: The challenge of democracy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2010. Print.