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GRE Issue 62: Leaders Are Created By The Demands That Are Placed On Them - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: “Leaders are created by the demands that are placed on them. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position. The statement claims that leaders are created by the demands that are placed on them. It is true that in most cases, the leaders are elected largely because voters believe that these leaders’ work can satisfy their needs. However, unlike currently, leaders are not always created by the demands in the past since there is hereditary system in lots of countries.”
At present, in most cases, leaders in a country are elected because they promise to fulfill the demands their voters ask for. Without responsibility of their people’s demand, they are not likely to become promising leaders. Franklin Roosevelt is an excellent example of this point. He defeated incumbent president Hoover at the depth of the Great Depression because he claimed he would put a high priority on reduction of unemployment and economic recovery, the two most urgent demands from people at that time. For the sake of satisfying these demands, Roosevelt put forward a series of policies and regulations to produce recovery and reform. As time went by, the economy finally revived and citizens lived better lives than previously. The reason why Roosevelt was regarded as an eminent leader is because he successfully accomplished the demands that were placed on him and improved the welfare of people. Therefore, leaders are created by demands. If they fail to take these demands into account, voters are unlikely to elect such presidents.
Also, demands mean opportunities for leaders. Where there is a demand, there is an opportunity which some people could utilize to show their wisdom, management skills as well as enthusiasm. Take Steve Jobs, the greatest CEO of Apple Corporation. Apple Corporation nearly went bankrupt a few years ago and the firm needed a far-sighted CEO to help revive it. After leaving Apple a few years ago, Steve Jobs grasped this chance to become a leader of Apple again. In Apple, he had more opportunities to realize his projects about developing a series of groundbreaking products, such as the ipad and the MacBook Air. Due to his far-sightedness and novel thoughts, the Apple Company became the most valuable company and he was also considered the greatest leader in the world. If at that time Apple Company did not ask for demands for the purpose of reviving, Steve Jobs might not have had the chance to become the most successful leader of this company.
However, in some cases, leaders are created by state system rather than demands. In the past, a lot of nations had hereditary system in which the candidates can become the next leaders automatically. So, under such circumstance, demands have nothing to do with leaders. Take ancient China for example. The princeling does not have to fulfill demands to get the power of country after his father dies. That is to say, he has the inherent right to be the leader of a country. Therefore, leaders are not always created by the demands.
In conclusion, at current, leaders are more likely to be created by demands that are placed on them because demands motivate them to fulfill people’s will and provide them with opportunities to become a notable leader. However, in some cases, because of state system, some people become leaders without demands.
You seem to assume in your first paragraph that “leader” means “political leader” (indeed “political leader in a democracy”) which would place limits on the possible scope of your argument. It is presumably fine to focus, in your examples, on political leaders, but I think it is a mistake to proceed, as you initially seem to do, as though political leaders were the only leaders. The focus on political leaders at the outset also seems to impact your interpretation of the phrase “are created by the demands that are placed upon them.” You seem to interpret that phrase to mean “are elected in order to meet the demands of the voters.” I think that is also a mistake. You say in your second paragraph that “without [the] responsibility of their people’s demand, they [politicians?] are not likely to become promising leaders.” To support this claim, you offer the example of Roosevelt, saying “The reason why Roosevelt was regarded as an eminent leader is [that] he successfully accomplished the demands that were placed on him and improved the welfare of people. Therefore, leaders are created by demands.” The conclusion here (“leaders are created by demands”) does not follow from the previous claim, which only concerns why Roosevelt became _regarded_ as an eminent leader, and of course you are not even claiming there that he became regarded as an eminent leader because demands were placed on him, but because he met those demands.
The next argument is more obviously to the point, but it is articulated poorly, and relies too heavily on the example. Moreover, the conclusion to the paragraph doesn’t explain exactly how the example helps you evaluate the original claim. You say only that if it were not for the demands placed on him, Steve Jobs might not have had the chance to become a leader. The general form of this argument is this: Demands are a condition of the possibility of leadership, or, in the absence of demands there can be no leader, or, there must be demands in order for the opportunity to become a leader to exist (which seems to be what you were getting at in the first sentence of that paragraph). So how does that general argument shape your position on the original claim? One could argue, for instance, that demands don’t create leaders, but they create the conditions under which leadership can emerge; or you could argue, a little differently, that demands don’t create leaders but do create the conditions under which those who are naturally inclined to be leaders emerge as leaders; or you could even argue, that demands create the conditions under which ordinary persons can be turned into leaders, and so in that said could be said to create leaders. Against all of that, of course, one could instead argue that demands are only necessary in a trivial sense, since leaders will seek out arenas in which to exercise their qualities of leadership.
There is also, you are correct to note, the trivial case in which leaders (in the sense of “those in power”) are obviously not in any way created by demands, but rather inherit their power. That’s a trivial contradiction of the original claim assuming the original claim really ought to be interpreted to mean something like: No one is born a leader, rather a leader is created as such by the circumstances that demand leadership. The prompt, in other words, is asking whether a leader becomes a leader in response to circumstances, or whether the characteristics of leadership are already present prior to the encounter with the circumstances that demand leadership.