LEADERS were once defined as ordinary persons with ordinary skills and ordinary decisions under extraordinary situations. These are people who have poise under pressure. They come up with wise decisions that would be good for all even to the detriment of themselves. A true leader emerges when the circumstance is hard and in times of crises and trials.

Leadership gurus often say that there are two kinds of leaders – one who is born and the other is formed. We may now ask which of the two is better. There are many schools of thought answering such questions but it depends on the circumstances.

A born leader is biological. He possesses the pool of genes from a lineage of leaders. This is the reason why laws against family-political dynasties are very hard to pass. Many lawmakers believe that the supposed leadership genes must be preserved. They believe that good leaders are born. Thus the family’s leadership legacy must go on.

On the other hand, some believe that leaders are formed and made. There is a great need to mold and form our leaders to the standards of our society. The circumstances will often cook and ripen a leader. A charismatic-leader rises from the ranks and brings simple solutions to complicated problems.

There are also schools of thought that would slam us with the characteristics of a bad leader. The worst that would top the list of leaders are those who had been accidentally placed in a position. A thinker once said that a leader by accident will always lead the community to an accident. These are leaders whom we place in the position because we have no other choice. At the end of the day, the accidental leader will always tell the community, I do not even understand why am I here in the first place. This is different from a reluctant leader, a reluctant leader chooses not to lead but has no choice but has the potential of a leader. A reluctant leader has the leader in him but an accidental leader is never a leader.

Another bad leader is the forced leader. He is pushed to the wall that he cannot say no but accept the mandate of the people. A Netflix series entitled “Designated Survivor” is a similar case. A cabinet member was made president and to negotiate with a terrorist group because all other top officials were killed in a bombing incident. A forced leader is most often reluctant because he knows he cannot perform well but he has no way out because laws are binding him. A forced leader may always come out with an imprudent and unwise decision.

And a worse leader is competing with his shadow. If a leader competes or seeks office just to get rid of someone. This leader will not perform on his own once he is in power. And he will have no competitor except himself. So if the motivation of one to become a leader is just to overrun another, then this leader is even worse than the other two.

So, the leader we are seeking knows justice, charity, and the common good. These are the three aspects that a leader must always adhere to. Jesus Christ is one leader who understands these aspects. He practiced justice by dying for all of us. He practiced charity by accepting the ransom for our sinfulness and he died for us all without exemption. This is the leader that we need, one who is ready to die for another and ready to empty his pockets.

Now, do we have a leader like this in our midst? Let us pray for one as we are nearing the crossroad of our history. May God bless us all.

Congratulations to Mo. Maria Estella de los Reyes Infante, RA for her diamond jubilee as a member of the Religious of the Assumption.