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Bob Rae: A Trio of Pragmatists
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A Trio of PragmatistsShare
Today at 11:38am
The thing to remember about great leaders is they have colleagues and followers. Successful leaders are neither narcissists nor prophets – great dissenters and commentators are not leaders either. Leadership is about vision, persuasion, and being able to get enough done to adjust the vision and add supporters.
It requires courage and determination as well as an ability to listen, to feel the changing pulse. Intellect is required, but so is emotion. Real eloquence and persuasiveness make connecting possible. Failure to implement means followers will drift away.
Leadership is not prophecy, nor is it simple management. Great prophets and good managers are extraordinarily valuable, but leadership is about arousing real, deep support.
Leaders understand themselves and have a self-confidence that is instantly communicated to others.
Canada has had its share of fine leaders: Sir John A. Macdonald took a right wing reactionary rump of a party and turned it into a national coalition. He understood that reconciliation with Quebec was essential to make Canada happen. He saw the possibility of a country from sea to sea, and then came to realise that a national economy required a policy that would sustain both industry and labour. He had flaws and made mistakes. But nothing can take away from his leadership.
Laurier's courage in understanding what it would take to keep Quebec in the federation led him to reject a wartime coalition. It meant a time in the wilderness, where he took some loyal followers with him, but it also meant he kept the country far more united than it otherwise would have been.
At first glance Lester Pearson might seem too collegial to be a leader, but his knack for surrounding himself with the strongest of colleagues, his ability to listen and learn, and his deep political skills gave us a powerful leadership on foreign policy and the most productive and substantive five-year legislative programme in Canadian history.
The next generation of leaders will be able to draw on these examples, and many others, as we face the challenges of today and tomorrow.
ONTARIO! Ours to Recover