For many B.C. voters, the final decision at the ballot box will be based not on policy, track record or party affiliation, but on the question of leadership and how that leadership is showcased on the campaign trail.
Leadership is an intangible quality that not everyone can describe, but we know it when we see it.
Alyn Edwards, a partner at Peak Communicators in Vancouver, knows a thing or two about leadership. His company teaches people how to lead more effectively and how to form messages so that they win in a public forum.
"There are some people who are just naturals at being able to formulate messaging... they are excellent strategists on the fly," Edwards said. "They inspire people... people want to be led by them".
According to Edwards, a lot of the leadership question boils down to qualities like integrity and charisma.
Good leaders "inspire people. People want to be led by them," he said. "Overall, integrity means an awful lot. They need to be looked up to."
Edwards said all the attributes of a leader in the limelight have to be "real." Good leaders aren't one thing in their public lives, and something else in their private lives.
"You have to really be a person people can relate to, no matter what your role is in business or politics. You have to speak to people on an individual basis."
Leadership styles: Clark vs. Dix
B.C. has had many successful leaders with very different styles. From the dam and highway projects of W.A.C. Bennett, to the charming personality of Bill Vander Zalm, to the "consensus" style that was Mike Harcourt.
According to Edwards, Christy Clark and Adrian Dix bring two very different styles of their own to the leadership table. Edwards said Clark likes to be cheery and upbeat.
"Even when she is dealing with a very difficult issue, she is smiling, so she is really trying to reach out to people, to inspire them."
Edwards said the B.C. NDP leader's style is very different.
"Dix is very guarded, very scripted. He's sometimes a little awkward, but really disciplined to speak only to the issue and not go beyond it."
Different as their leaderships styles may be, both Clark and Dix have been able to resonate with some voters.
Kavi Bell is a B.C. Liberal party intern and the Campus Club president at UBC. He is firmly planted in the Christy Clark camp.
"A good leader, in my mind, has to be resilient. Christy Clark knows how to take the heat," Bell said. "She has great charisma... she is approachable and easy to connect to. "
On the other side, tech education teacher Todd Ablett thinks Adrian Dix has what it takes to effectively lead the province.
"It's fine to have good words but you need good action too."
Ablett remembers six years ago when his robotics team at Gladstone Secondary School was short on funds to travel to the World Championships of Robotics. Dix stepped in.
"He found out about the problem and the next thing you know, he got us together with people who helped us out," Ablett said.
Clark's and Dix's leadership skills will be scrutinized at every stop in this B.C. election campaign.
Charisma, integrity, honesty and so many other leadership qualities will be put to the test as they try to convince British Columbians who can be the best premier for this province.
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