Thomas might be the real leader of the Gladers, but Minho is the real real leader.
Huh, you ask? Let us explain. See, Thomas has something special about him that's a mystery to both us and him for all the novel, so maybe when he figures it all out he can finally lead the Gladers through this whole WICKED experiment. And even though he's gained some leadership qualities, Minho is the one who actually takes charge of Group A.
Minho, on the other hand, has got all the signs of a leader. Not only does he somehow get "The Leader" tattooed to his neck back in the dormitories; he even looks like one: "Despite the boy's olive complexion, it looked to Thomas as if Minho's skin shone like white fire (17.2)." That's right, folks: leadership qualities simply emanate from Minho's skin, as this "white fire" is just an small example of his fiery personality when he takes charge. He's gritty, brave, and authoritative:
"Would everyone just shut their holes and slim it? No more questions. Unless you have an idea that doesn't involve absolute certain death, then quit your pipin' and let's take the only chance we got. Get it?" (18.43)
Basically, Minho may not be the smartest of the group, but he's the one who gets to order people around—because he's actually legit good at it. Time after time, he even manages to shut Thomas up, squashing our hero's Debbie-Downer remarks so that morale stays high.
Minho truly becomes one of the protagonists in The Scorch Trials. In some ways, we care more about his safety than Thomas's, since Minho's the one who more often shows some true bravery. Plus, every leader knows what's best for his people. Even when Minho sees the signs that say Thomas is the real leader, he doesn't get discouraged and enraged. Instead, he says: "Hey, if you wanna be the leader, no skin off my back. I am happy to see you alive" (42.33).
Real leaders are willing to step down. Minho's just as much of a leader as Thomas, but he's just not our protagonist, and he doesn't seem to have worked with WICKED in the past.
Not only is Minho our kickin'-butt leader; he's also hilarious. Now, sometimes he takes his jokes a teensy bit too far—you know, like making fun of a dude like Jorge who seriously wants to kill everyone—but still, Minho is the character who really provides some comedic relief when things look bleak.
Here's just one example of our man Minho's sarcasm: "Really genius?" Minho said... "No wonder you were named after Isaac Newton—such an amazing ability to think" (3.22). Minho will pick on any Glader, even Newt. Though he might be a little mean with his comments at times, we can't help but laugh every time Minho takes some jabs at his friends.
Another thing that Minho likes to do in order to lighten the mood is to make something super dark and frightening seem almost laughable. Thomas reacts to one of the most disturbing scenes in the novel—when bodies of the rebel group who saved the kids are found hanging from the ceiling—with confusion and panic. But Minho comes just in time to let us know everything's going to be okay. Sort of, anyway: "Hello? Calling Thomas? Not a good time to daydream. Lots of dead bodies, smells like Frypan's pits. Wake up" (4.19).
Oh, Minho, you crack us up.