5 standards for presidential leadership

When it comes to presidential leadership, how should voters judge the candidates? Prof. Allen C. Guelzo, an authority on Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg College, suggests five leadership standards, personified in such figures as Lincoln and Churchill.

3. Mastery of the organization

Governing is not for the faint-hearted or those who are condemned to spend the first six months of their presidency figuring out where the washroom is. A leader understands the pulse and flow of responsibility among segments of a government as instinctively as a hunter estimates the range and speed of his target.

It was essential to the success of Churchill, when creating his war cabinet in 1940, to name himself minister of defense as well as prime minister, simply because he had seen from hard experience in World War I how disastrous the results could be when wartime civilian and military authorities are split apart.

He knew, in other words, how cabinet government in a parliamentary system worked and adjusted his own cabinet accordingly.

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