The desire to be a leader is quite often born within us. If it is not so born, we may acquire it by association with other people who have become leaders. There are various situations which lend themselves to the role of leadership. First is what you might call luck. I call it being at the right place at the right time with the ability and desire to fit the situations which are ahead of you and yours into the path of leadership. Second, the willingness to work hard with others to accomplish desired objectives is necessary. Third, to gather people around you who can be relied upon to continue and enlarge the success pattern—in other words, to create a pattern among your friends and fellow men that leads to some leadership role and, preferably, of course, since you are a person who wants to be a leader, to be that leader.
In twenty-eight years of my thirty-year Congressional service, I was in the minority party. We got whatever facilities the majority gave us and few opportunities to successfully influence legislative accomplishments. Even so, we prepared plans that we would follow if and when we got a majority in a Congress. The media paid little attention to our plans because they were mainly liberal Democrats who did not believe as we did, and they were sure we would never be in the majority.
When I was chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, we took positions on legislation which was coming up before the Congress. Past Republican leaders did not speak to the media because they were not asked. Gerald Ford and I took our Policy Committee positions up to the press gallery, which surprised everybody—they did not expect such behavior from the minority Republicans. Nevertheless, we sat down and answered their questions on the matters which had been handled by the Policy Committee. We established a rapport with the press beyond anything we had ever hoped for. Despite this, we were not taken seriously, even though we did put together a comprehensive program we would follow if and when we became the majority.
If you wish to become a leader, the background you take to support that effort is important. In my situation, the fact that I graduated from Harvard Law School was important in attracting the people that I needed to help me in becoming and being a leader. It also helped me in earlier days in getting a beneficial assignment when I went on active duty in the Army at Williams Field. Finally, being known as “trustworthy” gives entry to others and helps you to accomplish your aims as a leader.
It is important to look toward the future and try to identify needs for our world and its people which will exist “on the far side of the hill.” Clean and plentiful sources of energy are available, but it will take a global effort to get the means to subjugate and employ them. We must lay out plans to do this in a reasonable time period. Leadership must insist on employing and organizing these needed resources.