I was thinking today about Ariel Sharon, I was thinking today about leadership, I was thinking “what makes a good leader, are we born leaders or do we have to learn this trait?”.
There have been various times in my life that I have had to lead people, I have always felt comfortable doing it, I have always found it easy, sometimes stressfull, but always satisfying. Why?
In reflecting on Ariel Sharons past, I came across an intersting part of his biography. Salah Halabi, the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces says of Sharon “Sharon was a good military leader. We cannot deny this, but he wasn’t very disciplined.”
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Ariel Sharon, then a high ranking leader within the army, took his troops on a daring (and successful) operation to cross the Suez Canal (towards Halabi’s troop) completely against the orders of then Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan. Over the past year, we have also seen him unilateraly pull-out of the Gaza Strip, something that was completely against the wishes and ideaology of the Likud political party that he headed as Prime Minister. Why did he not follow orders in 1973 and still not over 30 years later in 2005?
On thinking about this I realised that a good leader is somebody who can adapt, but still keep the greater picture in mind. Somebody who is selfless and their actions are for the benefit of the people that they are leading. Ariel Sharon changed the perception of peace in the Middle East. He turned it from ‘Land for Peace’ to ‘Security for Independance’, not ‘we give you land, you give us peace’, but ‘we get security (with or without you) and you’ll get independance’. He realised that both sides wanted different things to what had been negotiated before hand, since 1967 and changed the whole world perception to this. He was a strong leader with an overwhelming, powerful presence and was able to exude assurance that his convictions were the sensible ones.
I would have loved to have met him, find out what makes him tick and speak with him on his personal philosophies on leadership. Even though I have never had this opportunity, I will take him as an influence for the rest of my life.