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What Does It Take To Be A Good Politician?

Updated on September 15, 2014

Traits of a Good Politician

Winnipeg, Manitoba is facing a civic election in October for a new mayor. The city of Toronto, Ontario also has an upcoming election for a new mayor. Both cities have something in common. The exiting mayors have been scandalous. The Toronto Mayor has drawn international attention for his unethical actions, while the Winnipeg Mayor has kept his scandals more local. His last few years in office have been plagued with significant mismanagement and over spending of public funds. He has participated in unethical business practises that have significantly benefited his friends financially. The people of Winnipeg are quite happy to say good bye to the current mayor and his financial scandals.

Both mayors are just two examples of poor politicians who have openly abused their power. However, they are not the only politicians to abuse their power, nor will they be the last. Too many politicians have used their position for their own personal gain with little or no work done to help the people they represent. Whether they are at a civic, provincial and federal level of government, many politicians tend to be corrupt and unethical in their practices. The public view of politicians has become openly very jaded and with good reason. With so many bad politicians, are there actually any good politicians? What does it take to be a good politician?

Surprisingly, there are a few good politicians in office. Sadly, these good politicians are few and far between and tend to be over shadowed by their bad counterparts. Those that are in office because they genuinely care about their constituency or country have similar traits regardless what level or country they represent.

A good politician has integrity and is honest. They openly and genuinely want to help their people live a better life. They are honest in their words and their actions easily reflect what they say.

A good politician works very hard. Their job is very demanding. A good politician is dedicated to their position and gives everything they can to their job all the time. They can easily maintain a high energy level needed to do their job.

As busy as they are, good politicians make time to attend community events. They are reliable. If they are scheduled to attend a function or event for their constituency, they will be there. Good politicians always make time to spend with the people in their constituents and interact with the voters whenever possible.

Great communication skills are another trait of a good politician. Often, a politician’s words speak more than their actions. If a politician says something that is incorrect, unethical or unprofessional in any way, those comments will immediately be front page news. Opposition parties will eagerly use the words said against the politician and party represented. Once words have been said, they can never be taken back. The ability to clearly communicate their thoughts, stance and position on a topic or issue is essential for any politician to effectively their job.

Good politicians have a clear understanding that they are not elected for their own personal gain, but rather, as a representative of the people. A good politician understands that he/she has a responsibility towards the people who voted for him/her and to act only in the voter’s best interests. They do not let their position get to their head or use their status to abuse the power. Parties from all levels have been plagued by members who have openly abused their authority. The entire party can suffer significantly from the actions of one. Once their reputation has been tarnished, it can take a long time to restore public faith. Some parties are never able to regain the public’s faith.

A good politician is trustworthy. Public trust is very fragile and can be very easily shattered by one comment, decision or action. The public has a very apprehensive view towards trusting politicians as a whole. A trustworthy politician is a rare commodity. Politicians need to earn the trust of the voters. Once they have the trust, the politician has to work equally hard to maintain the public’s trust.

Politicians are elected by the people for the good of the people. Those politicians who understand and appreciate this role will work diligently to make their community or country better for the people they represent. To be a good politician, the candidate must have a clear understanding of their role in government. Running for office for the sole purpose of gaining power and prestige will never make a politician good.


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    • Lorraine Pelley profile image

      Lorraine Pelley 3 years ago from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

      Thank you for your comment. I always appreciate hearing from readers. Yes, it is hard to see the positive but there are those rare gems who do respect their position and duty. They're just really hard to see at times. Thank you again.

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      retief2000 3 years ago

      I like your Hub most for its, all too rare, optimism.We hear about the miserable sots who occupy the corridors of power.We hear the harsh rhetoric.We watch the narrow and ideological strip away freedom and opportunity. We do not see the genuine efforts of good folks to get streets paved and trash collected.

      I especially appreciate the references to my beloved home state, Indiana in your sources at the end. Indiana University and Lee Hamilton bear the mark of a great home filled with modest Hoosiers.