TOEFL TWE Topic 2011-11-20

>Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The most important characteristic for a politician or a leader is good communication skill.


Contrary to the common belief that good communication skill is vital to becoming a leader, actually leadership is practiced not so much in words as in actions that inspire confidence. It may be said that leaders are usually good talkers but the reverse is not necessarily true. A leader had better be recognized as a dealer in confidence, one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way and, in addition, is good at the art of communication as the language of leadership.

A leader's right actions plus perhaps effective words can do magic to get the message carrying confidence across to others and guide them to hope more, dream more, become more, and even fly higher. This refers particularly to an extraordinary leader as a politician whose better ideas lead to popular trust, as often happens in more difficult times. Remember a Chinese proverb to that effect? "Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow." One's good communication skill, like talking more and speaking louder, might otherwise be just hollow words, should one's deeds not match that kind of virtue which wins trust from followers. Accordingly, it stands to reason that the greater one is in power above others, the more one ought to excel them in virtue since none ought to lead who is not better than others.

To do justice to good communication skill, it is better to look at it as a big advantage rather than a great virtue in the moral sense of the word. As can be seen ever so often, what matters to the audience is the singer and not the song, meaning a crafted talker can move the mob, even though the message may be far from correct politically. And that is probably why so many ordinary leaders are seen, who represent the power of persuasion and not the real aspirations of their followers. From this viewpoint, good communication skill alone may actually make an ordinary leader, but may still be short of making a good leader, let alone a great leader. The difference lies in that a good leader can inspire people to have confidence in the leader. And a great leader can further inspire people to have confidence in themselves as well.

The confidence factor aside, good talkers have always ruled and will continue to rule, with the results of some cases ending well and some ending badly. Therefore it is desirable having the combination of the virtue of leadership and the art of eloquence. Nevertheless, the ultimate truth must be acknowledged that true leadership is always associated with virtuous actions rather than simply with skillful communication in words.