One of the biggest problems in government throughout history is the tendency to put our leaders on thrones, to let them live in grandiose palaces and mansions (i.e. Buckingham Palace, the White House) compared to their citizens.
A leader is an important role within a society, don’t get me wrong. It comes with a great deal of pressure in addition to the power it brings, and it takes remarkable qualities to be an effective and well loved leader. But everyone in an ideal society has a job to do, a role to play. Everyone pitches in, and a leader works the same as everyone else - just in a different way.
Physical labor vs. directing others is an apples vs. oranges argument, but both parties do work. Both parties have to push themselves, both parties have people counting on them to do their task, and both parties earn some sort of reward, whether payment, housing, food, etc. The leader doesn’t have to always strain themselves physically, one perk of a job, but they do have to work mentally.
But the leader, despite commanding everyone else, is still just another worker in society. The leader does their part, helps society go round, and at the end of the day, goes home like other workers do. So why are they set on top, given a throne, made to seem like a god?
Last I checked, you don’t need diamonds and gold to make decisions. You don’t need vast hallways and lavish luxury to run the numbers and go with your gut. You don’t need a vast house with bowling alleys and movie theaters built in to sign forms. We’ve deluded ourselves into thinking that a leader deserves a greater reward than everyone else for the work they do.
Let praise be the reward of a leader. Let the leader live among the common folk, the workers, the other pieces of the puzzle that is society, so the leader knows what it is like to live in said society. Thrones and mansions distance a leader from the concerns and struggles of their society, and not only creates an aristocracy and a motivation of greed, but makes a leader less effective.