A Leader Makes Effective Decisions: Applying 100 Leaders in World History in the Classroom

Post by Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs

The 100 Leaders in World History program, sponsored by Kenneth E. Behring, is designed to help students think about the idea of leadership. A key piece of a democratic society is the need to evaluate and select leaders at the local, state, and national level. We hope that this study of historical leaders will help students evaluate the leaders of the past and construct intelligent, informed opinions about the leaders of the present.

Each day this week we are posting to this blog about one of the five criteria that our selection panel used to determine the 100 Leaders in World History. The five criteria are:

  1. Articulates a vision,
  2. Motivates others,
  3. Makes effective decisions,
  4. Willing to confront tough issues, and
  5. Impacts history.

Today we are discussing how a leader makes effective decisions.


Henry Ford Photographer unknown, n.d., New York Public Library

Makes Effective Decisions

Leadership is a daily struggle. Leaders are people who are challenged to respond to situations in which they often have imperfect information.  They need to make decisions that are the best for their society, even though they might be unpopular during their time.  Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela reformed nations struggling with economic, social, and political challenges.

Not all leaders make the right decisions.  Students are encouraged to look at the legacy of the decisions made by leaders like Mao Zedong, Christopher Columbus, or Henry Ford and consider the decisions that they made.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for an update on the next of the five criteria: willing to confront tough issues!


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