I think my favourite thing about Keith being the leader is that he just accepts it.
He doesn’t run away. He doesn’t try to pawn it off on someone else. He doesn’t try to make excuses.
He’s sad about Shiro disappearing but he puts his grief aside for the greater good. He puts it aside because he knows it’s what Shiro would do. Shiro believed in him enough to be the leader. He trusted that Keith would live up to his fullest abilities.
Keith never wanted to be the leader but now that he is, he’s being the best damn leader he can be. He’s trying to lead like how Shiro would but he’s also doing it his own way.
“You want me to lead Voltron? This is how I lead Voltron”
From this line alone you can see how he feels about being the leader. He doesn’t want to be the leader. He knows that it’s not his thing but he also knows that he doesn’t have a choice in the matter so if he’s going to be the leader, then he’s going to do it the only way he knows how. His way.
And I think this, right here, says a lot about his character.
Keith doesn’t like to be put outside his comfort zone. If he doesn’t like something, he avoids it but if something happens that forces him outside his comfort zone, he doesn’t avoid it. He assesses the situation. He weighs his options. He thinks. He analyses. He strategises. Keith faces all his problems head on, regardless if he wants to or not.
Keith always has a plan. He may not be a genius like Pidge and able to come up with solutions to every problem but you give him enough time and Keith knows what to do. It may not be foolproof. It may have risks but at least he knows what to do. He knows what steps to take to achieve the task at hand.
People say that Keith is impulsive but I believe it’s more complex than just being hot-headed. I see it as Keith isn’t necessarily impulsive but he is quick to trust his own judgement.
Think about it. Keith has been alone for most of his life. The only person to tell him right from wrong was Shiro but for most of it, he only had himself. He didn’t have anyone to tell him that what he was doing was impulsive or that there were other ways.
Keith is smart in his own way. He knows how to assess situations and come up with a solution. Granted it may not be the smartest or complex plan but it’s enough to solve the problem at hand. At least in Keith’s mind.
He trusts his judgement but he also acknowledges when other people have a better plan than him.
For example, in “Return to the Balmera”. Keith had a plan on how to get rid of the sentries and stop the galra ships. It wasn’t that good but at least it was a plan but then Lance proposed an alternate plan. What did Keith do? He acknowledged it was better and followed Lance’s lead. He knows how to take care of himself but he also knows when to follow someone else.
Another example is “The Belly of the Weblum”. Keith knows that Hunk is smarter than him and that Hunk would be the one to know what to do in this situation. Keith could have thought of a plan but he knew that Hunk was more knowledgeable. He knew that Hunk would have a better plan than he would.
Keith is so much more complex than we give him credit for. People were so adamant against him being the leader and distrusting because of Keith’s personality. Yes, Keith never wanted to be the leader but just because someone is uncomfortable with something doesn’t mean they can’t rise to the occasion when there are no other options.
Shiro knew this. He knew Keith didn’t want to be the leader but he trusted in Keith’s abilities. He knew that Keith would face the situation head on. He knew that Keith would realise that this is something he couldn’t avoid and give it his best shot. Shiro knows that Keith is so much more than anyone gives him credit for.
Keith may not want to be the leader but that won’t stop him from being the best leader he can possibly be. A leader Shiro would be proud of.