Lester Bowles Pearson

Jasmine Syed's Leadership Assignment

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Who was Lester B. Pearson?

Lester "Mike" Bowles Pearson was a Canadian scholar, soldier and diplomat whom was born on April 23, 1897 and died on December 27 1972. Pearson specialized in negotiation and world organization and was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1957 for his outstanding efforts in keeping peace during the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956. Thus making Pearson is one of the most profound leaders both Canadian and world history.
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Leadership Involvements

Lester B Pearson's leadership history is very colourful as throughout his career he took on many different leadership roles. Pearson most recognized leadership role was when he served as the Secretary of State for External Affairs of Canada. In this coveted position Pearson was a central player in world affairs in his time and responsible Canada's negotiation with other countries. For example, During the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956 Britain had asked Canada to assist them during their attack on Egypt although Pearson had decided to take a different approach to the issue. Pearson had introduced peacemaking to Canada as he decided to handle the crisis with diplomacy opposed to acts of violence. Pearson had instead contacted the United Nations and called for a multinational armed force to go to Egypt in order to try and keep the peace and prevent major confrontation. Pearson's idea soon became The United Nations Emergency force which was used to ease tensions on the Egyptian-Israeli border for over a decade. Pearson was unquestionably a leader that helped develop Canadian Identity. Due to Pearson's outstanding leadership efforts during the Suez Canal Crisis he was Elected as Prime- Minster of Canada in the 1960's. Pearson initially gave Canada, "makeover" by changing Canadian social programs, helping Canada gain its Independence from Britain and developed Canada's Peacekeeping Identity.
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Acts of Leadership

As a very progressive leader, Pearson's primary interest as A leader was held within the development of Canada as an Individual Nation. Pearson was very enthusiastic about Canada gaining independence from Britain as he believed that it was the first step for Canada to take in order to develop as a nation. The first way the Pearson had tried to gain Canada's Independence was by Giving Canada the ability as a nation to decide its own external affairs. For example, during the Suez Canal crisis Canad a was demanded to attack Egypt as a dominion of Britain. Although, Pearson had refused the idea of utilizing violence by denying Britain, Canada's assistance in the attack. Thus, making it clear to Britain that Canada would decide its own external affairs. Pearson had also help Canada kick start its road to independence as he also changed Canada's national symbol in order to unify Canada's independence. Pearson became interested in giving Canada its own flag, and began the great flag debate in 1964. In the February of 1965 when a new national flag for Canada was established. Pearson’s initiative during the great flag debate was extremely important in unifying Canada as a freestanding nation. The previous Canadian flag consisted of the union jack which almost symbolized Canada to be just the property of Britain. Although Canada was still under the British hierarchy, Pearson had still felt that Canada was worthy of its own national symbol and he was successful in achieving one. Pearson’s acts to change the Canadian flag have changed the physical image of Canada from being a piece of British property into Canada; a freestanding nation. Pearson Was very enthusiastic about giving Canada's social programs as Prime-Minister because a-like any other great leader, Pearson was very dedicated towards developing Canada as a freestanding nation. For example, Pearson had Created The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). In 1966 Pearson had singed of the Canadian Pension Plan as Prime- Minister. The CPP made it mandatory for all employed Canadians (except those in Quebec) that are 18 years or above to contribute about 4.95% of their earnings to the plan. When a Canadian retired after the age of 65, the CPP would allow the retirees too receive regular pension payments. The CPP was ignited under Pearson’s overall leadership over Canada and as he had the authority to sign off on the Canadian pension plan he decided that in order to enhance a social safety net in Canada, he had signed off a program in order for retirees to live comfortably. Pearson had also used his leadership in order to aid Canadians with loans in order for them to get post secondary education. When Pearson became Prime Minister of Canada, he had created the Canada Student Loan Program of 1964. Financial institutions provided loans to those who wanted to go to post secondary education. If Pearson had never invented the Canada student loan program today, less Canadians would be attending post secondary programs due to financial issues. The Canada student loan program was a change to Canada’s social programs as the Canada student loan program gave people the right to education after secondary school. Therefore, Lester B. Pearson Had Taken many actions in order to show leadership as he made outstanding efforts in order to develop Canada as a progressive and free standing nation.

Leadership Traits

Lead From The back - Let others believe they are in front

As a successful leader, it is your responsibility to guide your people in the right direction and almost act as a role- model so that learn to make good decisions in order for them to become better people. This is a trait that Lester B Pearson possessed as a leader. Pearson promoted diplomacy to Canadians as the best and most effective way to handle external affair which really had an impact on the way the more recent generations of Canadians decide to handle external affairs. Pearson had made many of his fellow Canadians believe that diplomacy and acts of peace are the best methods for resolving world affairs. Due to the diplomatic ideology that Pearson left Canadians with, Canada had become and Icon of peace for the way that it has handled a majority external affairs and negotiations. Thus Pearson has been Central player in forming Canada's peacekeeping identity.


Nothing is black or white

When making decisions, it is not either/ or it is what ever is the most efficient and practical way to resolve the issue. This is trait that Lester B Pearson had which he utilized during his time as the Secretary of State for External affairs, it was his responsibility to make tough decisions upon Canada's external affairs. For example, during Suez Canal Crisis Pearson was put in a decision where he had to chose on behalf of Canada whether or not they would attack Egypt. Although Pearson had decided that diplomacy would be the most effective and practical way to handle the crisis thus he decided to handle the affair in that manner. Therefore, Lester B. Pearson made decisions based off of efficiency and practicality which is a trait in which makes him one the most profound leaders in Canadian history.


Keep your friends close - and your rivals closer

By neutralizing your relationships with your rivals, you are able to prevent any un-necessary attacks or conflicts for yourself and people that you are leading. Through his roles as the secretary for external affairs and as Prime- Minister, it was important for him to get to know Canada's enemies in order to better negotiate with them and prevent any sort of confrontation. As a leader Pearson tried to understand the weaknesses of Canada's enemies as an alibi in case of further confrontation or issues. Pearson also tried to make alliances with other countries through his diplomatic efforts in order to create a group of supporters for Canada that could be relied on to help Canada in case of any major external affairs.

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