Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.
Some people say that leaders are most effective when they are unwilling to compromise. Leaders who refuse to yield are likely to gain the respect of others because they stay true to their beliefs despite fierce opposition. Other people say that leaders are most effective when they are willing to compromise. Leaders who are willing to compromise, they argue, find better solutions to problems because they can understand different perspectives.
Are leaders more effective when they are willing to compromise? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
In the diverse societies of modern times, where different people may have radically different beliefs, a leader that is ossified in stance and pugnacious when it comes to decision-making is the worst thing that could happen. Countless instances in history and literature exhibit how deleterious such leaders can be to progress in a nation. A leader should be able to compromise in order to find a win-win solution.
In Homer’s the Iliad, Paris, the prince of Troy abducts Helen, the wife of Agamennon. Agamennon marches to Troy with his army and is preparing for war when Kramer, the king of Troy makes a proposition. Agamennon can have Catherine, Paris’ sister and a great beauty, as his wife for six months and Helen as his wife for the other six months in exchange for Paris having Helen as his wife for six months. Agamennon is very pleased with this and calls a truce. Hence, through a bit of negotiation both kings are able to find a solution. It was through their ability to compromise that Kramer and Agamennon prevented a massive war that would have led to a lot of bloodshed.
During World War II, when the Allies proposed a solution to end the war to Germany, Adolf Hitler dug his heels in and refused to stop fighting, The Allies promised Germany a huge loan for post-war reconstruction if Hitler agreed to step down as the dictator of Germany. However, Hitler’s beliefs in Libenstraum and the Aryans being a superior race kept him from accepting an excellent offer that the Germans would have benefitted from. Because he was so unyielding, Hitler caused devastation to his country no other German leader could have.
During the Indo-China border dispute, Jawaharlal Nehru was willing to compromise withthne Chinese premier Lao-Tze. Nehru offered Tze control of the northern frontier of the area under dispute in return for the southern part being restored to Indian territory. Although Tze was unyielding at first, he and Nehru were able to reach a decision after a few more compromises.
Thus, the truce between Agamennon and Kramer, the war between the Allies and Germany and the Indo-China dispute all show how essential it is for a leader to realize the advantages of quid pro quo and see that nobody wins if both sides are at a stalemate. Standstills hinder progress and arguing lead to better solutions to problems rather than being silent.