Legal Blog


How Does Political Background Help To Develop Leadership?

Leaders are part of virtually all organized political life. Significant recent advances have been in modeling “leaders” and clever and innovative empirical studies. We review recent contributions from political science, economics, and management literature. We discuss how these new works represent advances over the major classic works on leadership and organization from the twentieth century. 

Leadership Skills: Scale Items

  • thinking creatively.
  • Listening to other people.
  • Accepting responsibility.
  • Accepting criticism.
  • Managing my time.
  • Asking for help.
  • Asking people to volunteer.
  • Delegating duties to others.
  • Coaching and mentoring others.
  • Supporting others to do their work well.
  • Challenging others to be more effective.
  • Holding others accountable.
  • Organizing and running a meeting.
  • Working effectively with public officials.
  • Working effectively in coalitions.
  • Speaking in public.
  • Planning and carrying out a campaign.
  • Working with the media.
  • Managing internal conflict.

Leadership involves multiple skills and talents. It has been said that an effective leader is someone who knows “when to lead, when to follow, and when to get out of the way” (the phrase is attributed to the American revolutionary Thomas Paine). In this view, influential leaders do much more than giving orders. 

They create a shared vision for the future and viable strategic plans for the present. They negotiate ways to achieve what is needed while listening to what is wanted. They incorporate individuals and groups into the processes of making decisions and enacting policies by developing support for their plans.

What is an influential political leader? “Effective leadership” is a more nuanced term. In the view of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.”

Since we have read about the leadership and Politicians in leadership roles in depth, let us now look at an example to understand this topic better. Our example for today’s write-up is Sharon Bock. She is an American attorney, business executive, and politician who served as Palm Beach County’sCounty’s elected Clerk and Comptroller from 2005-2021. 

During her career, Bock earned security and real estate licenses and is a certified scuba diver and general aviation pilot. Bock came to national and international recognition with her creation of the Guardianship Fraud Program, developed to investigate court-appointed guardians/conservators independently. 

Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1952, Bock attended Laurel Valley School District, graduating in 1970. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Slippery Rock University, graduating in 1974 with a dual major in Special Education/Early Childhood Education. She taught the first program in Ashtabula, Ohio, for physically challenged children K-8. 

Engaged in social issues focused on improving individuals’ lives, Bock attended law school and completed her Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law Houston in 1986. During law school, she was selected by the American Bar Association as the national Law Student Liaison for the Law Practice Management Section. She was assistant managing editor of the South Texas Law Review. She has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1987. 

Having exposure to diverse fields, Bock has come across many different styles of working and has realized that with her experience in Law and expertise being a person who knows how to lead people towards their betterment, she can be in a position to be a helping hand of many.