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The following are not in order of importance:
A) Ability to connect with constituents- All great leaders in history have had a penchant for being able to connect with their citizens. Leaders who have failed have probably failed in this domain.
B) Clarity of vision- The Prime Minister who knows their vision and can successfully articulate it to the voting public is one who will be held in high regard.
C) A keen understanding of the different cultures in their governance- All good leaders will be able to understand the different cultures in their nations. Political cultures, ethnic/ racial cultures, class based cultures are but three of the many examples of cultures to which a good Prime Minister must be able to appeal in both good times and bad ones.
D) Coherent grasp of domestic issues- There has to be a keen understanding of domestic concerns that directly impact the Prime Minister's citizens. Failure to understand and address these issues will invariably create a gap between what the leader does and how it impacts their citizens.
E) Good credibility- Throughout history, the best Prime Ministers have maintained good credibility with the citizenry. The reality is that when the prime minister stands for one thing, s/he must have that credibility with the voting public that says, "Trust me because this is what I believe and what I will do." .
F) Foreign power presence- The Prime Minister must be able to sit with heads of state and articulate the vision that will invariably lead to dialogue and cooperation with other nations. If the Prime Minister is perceived as weak by foreign nations, this could have drastic implications on a nation's ability to trade with other nations or maintain healthy and proactive relationships with those nations.
G) Good grasp of parliamentary constituents- It is important for a prime minister to understand the needs of their own political party and the opposition parties. Most prime ministers are subject to legislative checks or limits on their power. Due to this, they cannot afford to operate as if they are a despot or a dictator. Rather, they must listen and negotiate within their own parties or with opposition parties.
H) Ability to "seize the moment"- Great leaders are defined by how they handle "the moment." Even Former President Bush is remembered for his actions in the days following 9/11. I am not sure a good Prime Minister or leader can be taught to do this. It must be instinctual and must seize the moment at the moment.
I) Distinction, yet approachable- This one might be the softest quality on the list, but I think it's important. Great Prime Ministers have to be able to remain distinct, a symbol for their nation. Yet, they cannot be aloof or too distant. They must be approachable. Great leaders must be unique individuals, distinct from us, but they have to be able to embraced by us. It's a trick balance to strike.
J) Great politicians- Every certain number of years, Prime Minsters have to be able to go out into their public domains and convince citizens to reelect them. While doing this, they have to be in control of themselves and of their surroundings. Being a great Prime Minister/ President is one thing.
The following is a list of qualities I believe most important for prime minister of a country. As prime ministers play different kind of roles in different countries, I would like to clarify that I mean prime minister who is the effective head of government of the country, like in India and U.K..
- Understanding op people in general: This is necessary to understand what is it that is in the interest of people, and how they can be motivated to act in the common interest of the country.
- Understanding of the economic issues: Understanding of economic issues is absolutely essential to take policy decisions that lead to economic well being of the people.
- Understanding of the international issues and how they impact home country: Any country must maintain appropriate relationships with other countries, and for this understanding of international issues is necessary.
- Ability to form and lead an effective team of capable people: I have deliberately not used the word leadership here, because I am really talking about a team that will consist of the best available leaders in the country, and this requires capabilities that are mush more than being a popular leader. It involves number of things such ability to choose right people, making each member of the team work as a group member, provide enough freedom to each member to manage affairs under his or her charge, and ensure that members remain honest.
- Personal integrity: Power corrupts and without very high integrity a prime minister cannot remain honest.
- Personal courage: A prime minister needs to take many tough decisions and without personal courage, it is not possible to maintain a cool mind in such situations.
- A genuine love and concern for people: Without this a leader may stray into directions that can be catastrophic for some people. Most of the dictators in history believed that they were acting in the interest of their countries.
- Ability to play the politics and remain in power: This is not remaining in power for personal gains, but remaining in power in spite of taking measures in the interest of the country which may be unpopular in short term.
- A progressive and innovative thinking: The most critical national problems are never the standard ones. To solve such problems and to improve the lot of people continuously original thinking and innovations are essential.
- Good health: The job of prime minister is physically demanding. The most important thing is the mental ability, but without physical health this mental ability cannot be used fully.
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