Language is the key aspect of human behavior and intelligence. It is the tool we use to communicate ideas and engage in convenient conversations. People’s ideas are largely influenced by communications from family members, the media and our role models. While authority and attractiveness are a major influencing factor in modern society, I believe that a person’s character, integrity and honesty are much more valuable and meaningful leadership skills.
In our society appearance is overvalued. I believe this is because from generations to generation we have evolved to be more attracted to elegance, aesthetics, and culture with a sense that these things represent experience and competence. In a study from 2005, Alexander Todorov argues that the reasons we vote for particular candidates have little to do with politics, but most of the time is base of how competent the candidate’s appearance looks. In this study participants were asked to make a judgement on who they thought was a much competitive person between two candidates running for offices in the senate. When the election was held, the results were compared, and they found that the judgments predicted the winners by 72.4 percent. Physical appearance does matter, because they show certain characteristic traits that voters look in a leader and symbolizes some perception of what their political affiliations are. I often tend to think about political activist like Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton because of what they stood for, and besides of what they blathered in their speeches, they took iconic roles that left a great impression in me. In a more recent study, Todorov explains that the first impression we get from a person, colors whatever else we learn from that person, how successful we think they might be, and presumably their political abilities. Most of these believes comes from the influence of the media, and how they define a leader in tv shows and news platforms. Generally, the media’s goal is to convince people to support their political agenda. I am not saying that what they communicate is irrational and based on likability since that would be a bad argument, but it is certainly bias.
However, I think that the ability to express yourself honestly, with all your imperfections, and errors is much more powerful. The reason why it works so well is because it shows that you possess integrity, and that you have moral principles. In “mother tongue,” Amy Tan describe her mother’s English as being “vivid, direct, full of observation and imagery”, even though others describe it as “broken”. Tan’s mother knew the “limits” of her English, but she remained true to herself, and she impacted her daughter’s passions for literature. Nobody is perfect. We might be good at a special thing, but we might be bad at others. Perfection is arbitrary because no one can decide to what standard it is measure. For example, having a perfect sat score is possible because it is scale to a maximum of 1600. According to an article on “How Many Questions Can You Miss for a Perfect SAT Score?” posted by Dora Seigel, stated that “Since you’re not penalized for wrong answers, skipping vs. answering a question incorrectly results in the same score”. The sat test your skills to a great level, but that those not mean that it is completely fixed and perfect. Still, it’s difficult to convince colleges to accept you solely on your sat score. Most colleges look at your personality, and how you portray yourself, and your character.
Furthermore, appealing to a person’s trust is one of the most important factors that determined whether they are going to interact in a conversation with you. In our society many people fear being tricked by a hierarchical ruler. We live in a country where it is very easy to be persuaded by false information and duplicity. Some people do not have any choice other than to take the risk of being deceit because they are not aware of their existence and feel hopeless. This is the reality of many illiterates in the U.S described by Jonathan Kozol. In “The human cost of an illiterate society”, Kozol argues that “illiterates live, in more than literal ways, an uninsured existence” (1). They are misinformed, and unaware of their surroundings, and the selfish people who try to get control of their community. Nevertheless, people who are altruistic have stronger connections with others, leaving a disciplinary effect on them. In article called “Trust, Communication, and Leadership: The Three Laws of Influence” Kellie Cummings argues that “many of us have specialized tasks and responsibilities within an organization, and the only way to collaborate effectively is to understand each other, which is the core of trust”. The best way of having a successful relationship, whether it is in the workplace or at home, is by getting involved as humane as possible. Being able to communicate your ideas honestly demonstrate that your intentions are not brag about your skills and position, but to help your community.
Alexander Todorov describes the significance of appearance and competence, but “The human cost of an illiterate society”, and “Mother tongue”, show us that it is your character that show your qualities and abilities. Your thoughts become your actions, and your actions determine who you are. Our society is responsible for communicating the right message to our next generations, and who do not teach fancy ideas, but teaches the right leadership skills.
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