Pinchas was a kohen/priest, grandson of Aaron, son of Elazar, both High Priests during the time of the wandering in the desert. Pinchas committed a horrendous act of zealotry for a cause in which he strongly believed. He thought he was absolutely 'right' (and perhaps, may have been)... and he went very far to prove it. He was rewarded with a covenant of peace.
The story is a very difficult one to understand. How can one be rewarded for a heroic act that his descendants are asked never to emulate?
As we learn time after time in the Torah, no leader is perfect. A good leader combines passion and wisdom and makes room for others to step up, grow and share in leadership. Different styles of leadership are required for different times.
Our great Torah commentator, Rashi (1100's, France), taught that a leader must have a clear set of values, but be diligent in listening to alternative viewpoints and even make determinations that are sometimes at odds with following 'the party line.' Joshua was that kind of leader. He was able to unify the Israelites and led them in the successful conquest and settlement in the Land of Israel.
Ideology is important, but it only takes us so far.
Civil discourse, respectful consideration of viewpoints that differ from our own... This is what makes us able to live together in a society that works for the common good. How can we learn if we only listen to those who think as we do? The covenant of peace given to Pinchas may have been aspirational.
What are the qualities of the leaders we need now? It's something to think about in the charged political climate of today, rife with strong ideological pronouncements which, at first, may sound admirable if you follow that line of thinking, but ultimately alienating and threatening to the community when they disallow and exclude and discriminate against those who think differently.