Leadership cannot be tested in advance, as it is often described after the result of action, action already taken, action within an event requiring direction and accomplishment.
The military especially talk about leadership skills, focusing much of their analyses on determining what these generalized characteristics are and who has them, then on shaping and sharpening those distinguishing features.
These put-together leaders do not always work out, as most aspects of significant events are unpredictable, and conventional approaches based on specific skills required at a given time, my not be suitable to the situation.
We know who the leaders are only designated after the event and as the result of the action of those individuals in charge. That is the test. Yet if no one is in charge, in a forceful situation, either another takes over or we experience no leadership and of course, absence of direction.
A group or a committee cannot take on a leadership position. Leadership qualities are found only in individuals and are often unknown and special and only expressed in certain situations.
These qualities can be supported but not shared. Often committees are established in government especially, placing a member of each of two different parties in charge. The product of these committees is usually of no real use or not long-lived. Often these are mere “love-in” kinds of situations.
A committee does not have a brain. The one in charge has a brain and with leadership qualities or designated power is able to lead the others. Leadership is the term given to how well one does when one leads.
Leadership may often be a one-time thing, and the person once showing these characteristics in a specific situation may not be able to function similarly again.
A group or a committee to move toward accomplishments must have a leader. Yet in non-dynamic situations a group may take action only by consensus. Consensus-forming is like kneading dough in making bread. It does not always rise and therefore can not be baked or it merely gets “half-baked.”
The leadership characteristic that interests me is found in political or community leadership, that which is inspired by vision to bring together a number of complicated situations, in the final service of the public or of the citizens of that community.
And that is the primary purpose of this discourse, it is to give some understanding to “leadership,” the term often applied to individuals who have found themselves in certain circumstances. It is not only a take-charge situation, but one where the individual is often above the situation itself and able to take command and is sensitive to his service to his community.
Perhaps this type of leadership is too much to expect at a local level of government. Perhaps the art of taking command at any level of government is more than we should expect.