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The Qualities of Leadership Paper

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The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation Torun Dewan Department of Government, London School of Economics David P. Myatt Department of Economics, University of Oxford February 2007 Abstract. Party activists wish to (i) advocate the best policy and yet (ii) unify behind a common party line. An activist’s understanding of his environment is based on the speeches of party leaders. A leader’s influence, measured by the weight placed on her speech, increases with her judgement on policy (sense of direction) and her ability to convey ideas (clarity of communication). A leader with perfect clarity of communication enjoys greater influence than one with a perfect sense of direction. Activists can choose how much attention to pay to leaders. A necessary condition for a leader to monopolize the agenda is that she is the most coherent communicator. Sometimes leaders attract more attention by obfuscating their messages. A concern for party unity mitigates this incentive; when activists emphasize following the party line, they learn more about their environment. Political scientists and commentators agree that good leadership is important, indeed fundamental, to the successful performance of organizations. But what is leadership? When is leadership good? When is it successful? Which qualities contribute to good and successful leadership, and in what measure do they contribute? Leadership can be important ...
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