According to you, who is the greatest leader in the history of humanity and why?
This topic has so many dimensions to it that it is almost impossible to answer.
I love the Lao Tzu quote “When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.'”
Leadership can occur at so many different levels, and does, simultaneously.
Some individuals are so far removed in conceptual space that their motives are impossible for others to distinguish, so often they appear as foolish to the majority – this concept is captured in the Tarrot deck where the Fool and the Magus are next to each other (which also captures the flip side of the same thing, that when someone’s focus is so far from the normal they often miss things that are obvious to most others).
Evolution is an amazing process. It doesn’t know or care about process or theory, it only works with results. What survives, what doesn’t? What leaves offspring that go on to reproduce, what doesn’t?
This evolutionary process seems to have been working with genetics (RNA and DNA, ours and every other living organism) for billions of years, going from relatively simple molecules to all the diversity of life we see.
In the last few thousand years a new form of replicator seems to have been exponentially expanding – memes – (ideas, behaviours, cultures, conceptual systems, abstractions, institutions, technologies are all different forms of meme expression in reality) following the same general laws as genes as to their exploration of the possibility space available for recombination and expression.
It seems that leadership can be represented in this generalised topology of possibility space as the generation of attractors (deformations of surfaces within possibility space to create pools where patterns collect or channels through which patterns flow).
It seems that for each of us, we gain in leadership to the degree that we are able to distinguish the levels at which we and others are operating, and the degree to which we actively choose to operate at those levels (or beyond).
It seems that at the most generalised level, this possibility space is infinitely dimensional – plenty of room for an infinite number of participants to forge an infinite number of new paths.
So yes – as others have said – developing our own leadership skills.
At the most basic level this seems to involve creating a space between impulse and action.
At every new level of awareness, one can cultivate this gap between impulse and action – can create a space in which awareness and choice can be cultivated. And at every level, it seems to be the choice of context which is the most powerful determinant of one’s actions.
As my old flying instructor used to say, any time you get an aircraft some place that your mind wasn’t at least 3 minutes previously then you are in trouble. Keep your conscious attention well out in front, making choices of context, then let your subconscious control the body (and the aircraft when flying) in real time. So in this sense, of having one’s highest level of awareness leading one’s actions in space and time by a significant time, one can be said to be leading ones self. This concept seems capable of infinite recursion, and extension.