GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

76. For a leader there is nothing more difficult and therefore more important than to be able to make decisions.


Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion expressed above. Support your point of view with reasons and / or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


I agree that decisiveness is one clear mark of an effective leader. However, the speaker goes further to make the dual claim that decision-making is the most difficult and the most important aspect of a leader's job. In my view, this additional claim amounts to an overstatement that fails to consider other aspects of a leader's job that are either difficult or important.

First of all, decisiveness is not necessarily the most difficult aspect of a leader's job. In fact, leaders rise to their positions typically because decisiveness comes easily or naturally to them. In this sense, the speaker's claim runs contrary to actual experience. Also, for some leaders the stress and the burden of their job pose more difficulties for them than the mere act of making decisions. For other leaders, balancing professional and personal life or even time management in general may be the most challenging aspect of the job, since leaders are typically very busy people.

Secondly, decisiveness is not necessarily the key factor in determining the quality of leadership. Decisiveness does not guarantee a good decision. An effective leader must also have wisdom, perspective, clear vision, judgment and courage. Moreover, other factors such as trust and respect for others may be equally or more critical, since subordinates may not be willing to devote themselves to the plans and goals of a leader they mistrust or hold in low regard. Even the best decision will be of little value without the commitment of others to carry it out. Simply put, without someone to lead, a person cannot be a leader.

To sum up, I agree with the speaker only insofar as the ability to make decisions is a necessary ingredient of successful leadership. However, decision-making is not necessarily the most difficult aspect of every leader's job nor is it necessarily the most important factor in determining the effectiveness of a leader.

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