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Most Leaders are not Visionary but managerial. In every society and at every level of responsibility, day -to- day stewards are needed to guide the institutions entrusted to their care. But during periods of crisis whether of war, rapid technological changes, jarring economic dislocation or ideological upheaval, management of the status quo may be the riskiest course of all.

In fortunate societies, such times call forth Transitional Leaders. Their distinction can be categorized into two ideal types: The Statesman and the Prophet. 

Farsighted statesmen understand that they have a pair of essential tasks. The first is to preserve their society by manipulating circumstances rather than being overwhelmed by them. Such Leaders will embrace change and progress, while ensuring that their society retains its basic sense of itself through the evolutions they encourage within it.

The second is to temper vision with wariness, entertaining a sense of limits. Such Leaders assume responsibility not only for the best but also for the worst outcomes. They tend to be conscious of the many great hopes that have failed, the countless good intentions that could not be realized, the stubborn persistence in human affairs of selfishness and power-hunger and violence. 

In that definition of Leadership, statesmen are inclined to erect hedges against the possibility that even the most well-made plans might prove abortive, or that the most eloquent formulation might hide ulterior motives. They tend to be suspicious of those who personalized policy, for history teaches the fragility of structures dependent largely on single personalities. 

Wise Leaders in the statesmen mode will recognize when novel circumstances require existing institutions and values to be transcended. But they understand that, for their societies to thrive, they will have to ensure that change doesn't go beyond what it can sustain. 

The second type of Leader, that of the Visionary, or Prophet-treats prevailing institutions less from the perspective of the possible than from a vision of the imperative. Prophetic Leaders invoke their transcendent visions as proof of their righteousness. 

Craving an empty canvas on which to lay down their designs, they take as a principal task the erasure of the past, its treasures along with its snares. The virtue of Prophets is that they redefine what appears possible; they are the unreasonable men, to whom George Bernard Shaw credited all progress.

Believing in ultimate solutions, prophetic tends to distrust gradualism as an unnecessary concession to time and circumstances; their goal is to transcended, rather than manage, the status quo. 

The dividing line between the two modes may appear absolute; but it is hardly impermeable. Leaders  can pass one mode to another or borrow from one while largely inhabiting the way of others. 


Thank you all 

By, Cde Meen Gabriel Chol 

The SPLM Senior Political Activist