As said by Tony Dungy, “The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.” But what makes a great leader? Many other people would agree that for a leader to be a great one, they must be chosen based on key qualities such as focus or courage, be able to adapt to certain situations or person types, but most of all, they must have a positive impact on the group to lead them to success by being true to themselves. Sadly, the main character in William Goulding’s Lord of the Flies, Ralph, fails to meet the criteria as a leader. He is not only chosen because of his looks and age instead of qualities, but he also lacks the ability to adapt to certain age groups and person types, and overall has a negative impact on the group as he fails to lead them to success.
As a leader, in order to maintain control over a group, that person must prove themselves worthy which includes having the right qualities and staying true to your morals, seeing that the individual will be setting an example for the other members. When Ralph was voted chief, the boys did not base their choices on these qualities, but instead on his looks and age and the fact that he had the conch. This improper election later caused many problems and chaos because Ralph was incapable of leading. If the election had been carried out in a more civilized manor, and if the boys had voted more logically, they could have chosen the right chief for this situation and kept things from spiraling into chaos.
If a leader cannot adapt to situations, no one is able to find a suitable solution to problems that arise. More importantly though, a leader who cannot adapt to accommodate different types of people, is going to run into difficulties when trying to get their message across. We know this because throughout the book, Ralph is unable to share his ideas with and communicate clearly to the ‘littluns’ in a way that would motivate them to work. Ralph could not get his messages across to them during the meetings “When the meeting was over they’d work for five minutes, then wander off or go hunting.” (P. 51) Ralph’s lack of communication skills and adaptability towards situations and others, furthermore proves that he is not qualified for his role as chief.
Lastly, one of the most important aspects of good leadership is always having a positive impact on the group by ensuring success and staying true to one’s self. Once again, Ralph’s abilities do not correlate with this aspect of leadership. We can see in the book that he tries to create a sense of civilization and society to avoid chaos with the conch. According to Ralph, the tropical shell gives someone the right to speak when held at meetings. Unfortunately, near the end of the book, Ralph visits Castle Rock to eat with Jack’s group, when later that night, they kill Simon, thinking he was the beast. This is a great example of how Ralph can forget a moral he, himself had created; He had forgotten about his sense of society and civilization he was trying to impose at the beginning.
To conclude, when asking ourselves if Ralph was well equipped enough to become a chief, the above arguments are more than sufficient to prove that he indeed was not. His lack of leadership qualities makes him a bad leader. Could the story have played out differently if Ralph had not been in charge? How could Jack have influence the book if he had been elected chief? Only key qualities can decide if a leader is good or not, and not looks or age.