At some point in our liveswe all had a relationship with someone – maybe with a parent, a teacher or an employer – who changed the way we look at life. Someone who had high moral standards and was instrumental in our development. Someone who inspired and motivated us. Someone who taught us to look to the future and instilled in us the confidence to set our goals and go out and reach them. That someone is a true leader. 

Today we are surrounded by people who call themselves leaders – in government, at the workplace or in education. But I am sorry to say that we are lacking true leadership. Where are these people leading us and to what aim? 

Some Maltese people have been deluded so many times and have experienced such a great level of abuse of power that they no longer trust their leaders. However, although we may be cynical of all that is happening around us, we have to resign ourselves to the fact that we still need people to run the different sectors that make up our society. Preoccupied as we are with running our own lives, we are all more than ready to elect others to run our country. 

How can we recognise a good leader? Many of our leaders are good managers, some even inspire others. We have politicians, for instance, whose rhetoric inspires thousands of citizens to support them. However they are missing something simple that is key – a vision of life itself. 

Mexxej ta’ veru ma jridx is-segwaċi; irid jgħallem lil ħaddieħor kif ikunu mexxejja. Ma jridx kontroll; irid il-verita’. Ma jimponix it-tmexxija tiegħu fuq ħaddieħor u lanqas ma jieħu l-awtonomija ta’ xi ħadd. Mexxej ta’ veru irid ikun eżempju ħaj ta’ dak li jippriedka. Jekk naraw li mexxej ma jgħix skont dak  li jippriedka, allura qatt ma nistgħux nafdawh. 

A true leader does not need followers; they seek to teach others how to lead. They do not seek to control; they seek the truth. They do not impose their leadership on others and neither do they take anyone’s autonomy. A true leader is a living example of what they preach. If a leader does not live according to what they preach, they cannot be trusted. 

A leader, therefore, has to have a number of characteristics – they must be honest, confident, visionary, dedicated, have a positive attitude, creative, have the ability to inspire, be intuitive and, above all, be humble. 

We need to recognise the characteristics of a leader – not only so we rid ourselves of those individuals who seek support by appealing to the wishes and prejudices of the masses instead of making rational arguments – but so that we can recognise a true leader when we see one. 


 When people truly believe in a leader, they will put away their own personal interests. They will be keen to accept the leader’s direction and commitment, while being inspired to achieve more than they ever could on their own.