The Presidential Leadership Project – Blogging for President is a post by Jim Kouzes discussing his research (with Barry Posner) about what people say (or claim) they want in a leader.
As Kouzes puts it:
For people to follow someone willingly, the majority of constituents believe the leader must be
Taken by themselves, these four characteristics are useful. Write them down and take them into the polling booth with you. Put them next to the names and then vote. But what is more significant is what these qualities mean when taken as a whole. Three of these four key characteristics—honest, competent, and inspiring—make up what communications experts refer to as “source credibility.” More than anything, people want leaders in whom they can believe. Credibility is the foundation of leadership. Period. Full stop. Put another way, if you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.
My only quibble with this is, it’s what people say they do, which often differs from what people actually do. (Everybody says they want more mass transit – just not for themselves. They want the other drivers to take it and get off the road.)
Still, it’s a great post, thought provoking, and well worth reading.