The drive towards effective international leadership is currently considered one of the most prominent hallmarks of the 21st century. It traces its origins to the Second World War in what is, arguably, humanity’s darkest hour; characterized by overt belligerence and disintegration of international leaders. Global leaders failed to reach a compromise on several critical issues and instead chose to conduct a coordinated war of attrition that left 75 million dead in its wake (Qvortrup). The devastation witnessed, particularly in Europe, prompted British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the then U. S Secretary of State George Marshall to urge global players to embrace cooperation and shun any dangerous ideologies that derail such efforts.
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National-populist forces were identified as a threat to peace and stability, with much of Europe expected to embrace a new disposition with regard to relations. Effective international leadership has since prevailed, with pivotal democratic figures such as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel emerging as the phenomenon’s foremost exponent. Merkel’s efforts were recently acknowledged during the 368th Commencement at Harvard University on May 30, 2019, where she was awarded an honorary Doctors of Law degree. It is, therefore, critical to discuss the importance of attaining effective international leadership with a particular focus on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Background and Drive towards Effective International Leadership
Angela Dorothea Merkel (1954- ) was born during the height of the Cold War in Hamburg, an integral segment of West Germany. Education was of essential importance to her parents, which is why the family moved to Perleberg, East Germany. Here, Merkel expressed her political fervor by taking part in state organizations such as Free German Youth and Young Pioneers. Merkel also soon emerged as a top-achiever and graduated in 1986 with a doctorate in Quantum Chemistry. Notwithstanding her academic credentials, Merkel still viewed politics as a prospective field for her to provide service to society and introduce positive change. The Revolutions of 1989 presented a unique opportunity for her to enter politics and serve as an instrument for change (Mo and Jongryn 89). She soon joined the Democratic Awakening, rising through the ranks and becoming the official spokesperson for the party in the spring of 1990. After entering the Christian Democratic Union, Merkel emerged as an ardent proponent of the unification of Germany following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Her stint at the helm of leadership began in 1991 when she was elected to the Lower House of Parliament (Bundestag) on a CDU ticket and went on to represent Stralsund-Rügen-Grimmen. In 2005, Angela Merkel was elected chancellor, a position she still holds today. Her noteworthy participation in negotiating treaties, managing the European financial crisis, and the ongoing migrant crisis are some of the reasons why she is widely regarded as the face of effective international leadership.
Angela Merkel Espousing Effective International Leadership
Effective international leadership skills are effective in a complex, dynamic, and ever-changing world. Meticulous management of national and international affairs requires a prudent leader ready to face a myriad of unavoidable vicissitudes. Such leaders are expected to display intercultural effectiveness, skillful management of paradoxes, and diligence internationally. Angela Merkel’s leadership attributes are, therefore, important in demonstrating the importance of showing effective international leadership.
Over the years, Merkel has displayed her intercultural efficacy and capability of being a lone voice when clamoring for change. Her appropriate communication skills, both locally and internationally, have enabled her to fit and participate directly in international settings. Merkel has, from time immemorial, championed the rights and freedoms of minorities in society with the primary purpose of introducing this concept internationally. Being a Protestant serving in a Catholic party, Merkel has had firsthand experience as a minority. This background has served as a background for espousing egalitarianism in society with the primary aim of promoting inclusivity in future societies. Merkel also admits that she was inspired by Nelson Mandela during her formative years in politics and on the best direction to follow in an international setting (Décosterd). At the crux of her collective activity, ideology is the idea that effective global frontrunners should always display a degree of purpose-based leadership. Merkel has always urged global leaders to avoid the image of an authoritative power figure and instead serve a nation’s core needs by animating its population. Her staunch principles have been of great importance to Germany in salving its reputation during the post-war period. Germany’s dark past is an inescapable reality constantly haunting in the eyes of the international community. Merkel’s strong attempt to reverse this state of affairs has been displayed constantly through her humanity, liberality, and tolerance. She has avoided protectionism which would essentially revive the wall building mentality in favor of a fresh approach in favor of international cooperation while adhering to steadfast moral leadership
Merkel successfully manages the global paradox and is always ready to embrace and respond to change. This attitude entails accepting change as part of the global environment in which we currently live reside in and accepting the complexities presented. Merkel’s effective international leadership has been displayed by her practical diplomacy skills that have enabled the management of global paradoxes. She has always strived to unite global powers as an effective technique that will ultimately promote collaboration and hinder outright confrontation. Merkel has effectively employed this strategy in the worldwide stage and urged nations to avoid isolationist policies and become part of the contemporary “international orchestra.” Her approach is informed by an acute understanding of the multilateral system and its role in improving the conditions of billions across the globe. Merkel has done this with full acknowledgment of the fact that challenges to such efforts still exist, which is why it is always critical to adopt a comprehensive methodology. She advocates for a less confrontational society where nationalism and populism take a back seat while citizens become increasingly aware of the essential nature of cooperation within an international setting. Merkel has effectively employed tools of national power conferred to her by the Federal Republic of Germany to fulfill her vision of containment (Mushaben, 2014). She has always sought to understand the preferences of other nations as a way of ensuring that compromises are always arrived at while avoiding outright confrontation. Apt strategic choice is a typical strategy employed by Merkel during political maneuvering. It has aided her in avoiding political misreading of a nation’s preferences in an international setting.
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Diligence has emerged as one of Merkel’s notable attributes and a reason why she is regarded as an effective international leader. She has always been prepared to face world leaders and work painstakingly towards the attainment of specific goals bound to benefit significant players and their citizens. Her methodical approach to international relations involves weighing the pros and cons before proceeding with a groundbreaking decision. She has expressed attention to detail by comprehensively reviewing climate change and breaking down its effects on specific countries across the globe. Merkel’s logical approach to international conflict is part of the reason why she espouses effortless performance as a leader. She has always won many nations over using this approach and has been praised for her undying determination in the face of difficulties. Merkel’s singleness of purpose and extraordinary inner strength has been linked to her success internationally by always urging nations to come together and partner during the conflict. Her ultimate objective is to reach a point of compromise where international leaders can make an informed decision that will accommodate adversaries and avert confrontational politics. For instance, Merkel is a crucial figure within the G20 Group of Nations and among the first world, leaders to respond during the global recession with the hopes that she would forestall another Great Depression (Osland, et al. 72). The sovereign debt crisis experienced in the Euro Area was one of Merkel’s greatest tribulations. Even so, her unwavering determination was in full display when she took it upon herself to organize continual crisis negotiations to avoid any adverse effects. Merkel triumphed yet again and galvanized international efforts to halt the crisis and promote the creation of clear fiscal rules that finally birthed the European Stability Mechanism.
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Attaining effective international leadership has recently emerged as imperative in today’s rapidly transforming global environment. Chancellor Angela Merkel is an epithet of the worldwide community and an epitome of effective leadership. Her display of intercultural efficacy, skillful management of paradoxes, and internationally diligence has enabled her to chart a new course while encouraging compromise globally. Merkel’s shrewd leadership and the success it has introduced is, thus, the chief reason why it is now vital to attain effective international leadership.
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