Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Long reads
25 June 2007

Leadership qualities: Dedication

Each week we look at a quality necessary for success in public life. This week: dedication.

By Staff Blogger

Each week we look at one of four qualities necessary to succeed in this category, all of which come from a speech then President-elect John F Kennedy gave to the Massachusetts legislature on January 9, 1961. “Were we truly men of dedication,” Kennedy said posterity would ask about us, “with an honour mortgaged to no single individual or group, and comprised of no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest?”

Kennedy’s definition of dedication strikes at the heart of the quality needed most of all by those engaged in politics and public life. A sense of altruism, of public service, is something that we find in those we most admire in this area. The role that an individual may find him or herself in may be one that involves representing a particular group of people, but outstanding leaders think not merely in terms of sectional interest but of the greater good. Their motives are transparent; they are not secretly beholden to one cause or group; and they are, to use Kennedy’s word, marked by a quality we need to rescue from murky questions about cash for peerages and the like – they are people of honour. We may have different ideas about what the public good consists of, but we can all recognise those who honestly strive to serve it.

You could be part of Courvoisier The Future 500, a definitive list of the country’s successful young achievers across 10 wide-ranging categories.
The New Statesman invites you to nominate yourself in the Public Life category – or to tell a friend – click here to nominate

Is dedication an essential quality for success in public life? Tell us your thoughts below.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action