What Makes a Leader?

What is required of a political leader in order to obtain a position of power? What steps must he take? Leaders of a society undertake a very large responsibility and its citizens have the collective duty to choose those they deem capable of directing a nation. There are many expectations that come with the candidacy of a prospective official. Certain knowledge and skills are required of all candidates for ultimate success in the political arena. Other areas such as background, training, and belief systems may be very different depending on the candidate or the party. Similar to today’s society, both Ancient China and Ancient Greece, held certain expectations and educational requirements for the higher classes and leaders of society. In “The Analects”, Confucius explored the Chinese ‘gentleman’, and Plato examined the Greek ‘guardian’ in his work, “The Republic.”
Confucius was an ancient Chinese philosopher whose teachings were put together to form a religion called Confucianism. The Analects were philosophical bits of wisdom, which explained how people should live life and how a society should be run. He gave his opinion on what should be considered good virtues and advice about how people could live happy and peaceful lives. One of the main themes in the Analects is benevolence. Benevolence according to Confucius is one’s attitude or will to do good. It is when people do the right thing for the right reason. Confucius said: “If a man sets his heart on benevolence, he will be free from evil” (Analects 4.4). These acts of benevolence are one of the things that define a gentleman. The Analects described goodness as a goal for the ruling class of China, which in turn brought benevolent effects on society as a whole.
The ‘gentleman’ is the ideal person that everyone should strive to become. A gentleman according to Confucius is someone who is respectful and well mannered. His gestures towards others are reflective of his true character. True gentlemen know how to...