Of the characteristics attributed to leaders, the one that stands out the most is accountability. Some people are considered leaders, but in reality, have no relationship with the people they claim to represent or to be working for the benefit of. Evidence of this can be observed with programs which are designed to help a particular group that in fact either, exacerbate the problem or have a null effect. For most proposed solutions to actually have a net positive benefit the people who are most impacted by whatever problem they are facing must be party to the decision and implementation process. This was a lesson hard learned. Being a civic leader tends to require the courage to stand out, the willingness to engage in controversy; and the ability to negotiate, to strategize, and to propagate a message. However, those qualities alone may lead to a person being an unaccountable leader who does more harm than good. I have my own analysis of unjust circumstances, but what usually motivates me is that someone has requested I act on their behalf. Otherwise, we bring our analysis to the people to ask for their input, and what they want to be done about it. Lastly, and often most important to accountability is access. Human beings are fallible and we make mistakes, whether intentional or otherwise, and the people whose interests we are working on behalf of need and deserve to be able to air their grievances and to shape a leader’s actions accordingly.

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