Broken or not from a scientific and/ or pragmatic management context, we often hear or read a few lines about “leadership”. To clarify the concept of “leadership”, it is best to start with the notion of leader. If we refer to the management functions, it is ideal for all managers to be leaders, as a result of the correct exercise of the training function.
By its nature, the army promotes a directive authoritarian leadership, in which the commander has not only the right but also the duty to take decisions, without the obligation of the consent of subordinates.
Leadership and Management have always been highly debated topics due to the impact they have had on today’s society. In theory, Leadership is the ability to influence the other’s behaviour that is bringing them on the path to the goal. For this, it uses cognitive models of motivation: each individual makes efforts according to his abilities and his perceptions. Management is the process of Leadership, control and coordination of activities in an organization/institution.  Just by having the right persons, this could happen.
Judging by our occupation, there is no surprise that we are interested in Management and Leadership, especially Military Leadership. As we know, a good leader had always been the key to success. The military tends to optimise its activity, because its resources offered by society are limited and conditioned. For that purpose, it uses modern leading, structures, methods and techniques, as Management and Leadership.
It is recommended that the manager must have first of all a series of native qualities to exercise this profession: intelligence, initiative, patience, persuasion, empathy and last but not least, talent. Talent is directly reflected in the manager’s ability to perform management functions and achieve results for the organization he leads. Then, it is advisable for the manager to have solid knowledge in the field he leads so that he can make relevant decisions. Without a serious training in the led field, a manager cannot notice the specifics of solving problems, cannot prioritize them in terms of their importance for the organization and can be misinformed by subordinates.
Last but not least, it is good for the manager to have experience in the field and within the organization, so as to know the specifics of the activities carried out by subordinates, the long-term evolution of an economic sector.
Henry Mintzberg considered that the activities carried out by a manager can be grouped into ten roles divided into three broad categories : informational (‘leadership through information’); interpersonal (“leadership through people”) and decisional (“leadership through action”).
Although some people seem born to be leaders, with special features, with a special charisma, it is not foreign to others to develop certain skills in this direction. Leaders know the value of each person in the organization and how each acts to accomplish their goals. A structured model of the personal traits of military leaders is presented in the United States Land Corps Operations Manual. It refers to three categories of generic qualities that a commander must meet, each being composed of a series of specific qualities.
All these qualities make up an ideal picture, which would be the guarantee of a commander’s success. Following this path, we could reach the model of the charismatic leader. In the light of this model, leadership efficiency stems from a combination of traits that determine a certain level of ‘fascination’ on the part of subordinates. It is generally considered that the main dimensions of charisma can be grouped into three broad categories: visionary ability, empathy and the ability to enliven others.
Leadership toxicity can manifest itself in two ways: in relation to the objectives of the organization and in relation to the expectations of subordinates.
The leader’s behavior affects the efficiency and prestige of the organization in the following ways: the leader seeks to satisfy his own interests, to the detriment of the organization. He ‘Corrupts’ subordinates by offering illegal advantages or by exempting them from the requirements imposed by regulations.
The leader and subordinates become accomplices against the interests of the organization. The situation is difficult to highlight, because most of the subordinates may be dissatisfied. There may be subordinates who do not accept the situation, but are afraid to reveal it or, if they do, are subjected to pressure (blackmail, threats, punishment) from the leader and even colleagues. The leader’s behavior affects the morale and efficiency of subordinates in the following ways: it affects the well-being and interests of subordinates. The situation can be highlighted by the increased frequency of complaints from subordinates, by the general reduction of the state of satisfaction and morale, by the increase of requests to move elsewhere.
We notice that we often meet the so-called leader’s trap. Social psychology has proposed an explanation for the rise and fall of a leader based on the model of social identity. A leader’s success contains a potentially destructive danger to him. This danger has been called the ‘leader’s trap’ and refers to those leaders who have succeeded and are beginning to be praised and considered heroes by those who have followed, supported and believed in him. These leaders feel encouraged to believe that their success is entirely due to them and that they are above the group, that they know more than the group, and that they have the authority to dictate to the group what to do. Leaders thus fall prey to the myth of the hero and come to believe more and more strongly in him, which takes them away from ordinary members. As this distance deepens, leaders are increasingly losing the representativeness and attributes that have ensured their path to this social status.
A non-toxic leader scrupulously promotes the organization’s interests, which achieves its goals. Most often, leaders of this kind are very well appreciated by the upper echelons.
We will now analyze two extremely well-known leaders, considered at opposite ends of the way of governing and / or leading. Although both played an extremely important role in the Cold War, leading a real struggle of ideologies – one the banner of American liberalism, the other a follower of communism.
Multiple factors contributed to John F. Kennedy becoming an excellent leader. The primary and most considerable ones was his Charisma. From his very first day as President, John Kennedy inspired America and mentioned America as “the defender of freedom”. In his inaugural address he stated that “ Only a few nations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger”. In his 1962 speech at Rice University he said “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard.” He said “…that goal will prove to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills”. With these words Kennedy inspired America. Another factor that contributed to Kennedy’s greatness was his courage. He spoke out publicly against segregation during some of the last days of his presidency. He considered himself full responsibile for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion which was an operation that was devised in Eisenhower’s administration. Other than his courage and charisma, another factor that contributed to his greatness was the prophetic aspect of his presidency. John Kennedy did not know for sure if we would actually go to space in the 1960’s yet, he made the prophecy that we would. He even said in his speech that “This [goal] is -in some measure – an act of faith”. The “prophecy” was eventually fulfilled in 1969 with the moon landing.
Stalin ruled by terror and millions of his own citizens died during his brutal reign. Once in power, he collectivized farming and had potential enemies executed or sent to forced labor camps. He was a really distrustful person and everybody around him eventually was either murdered and sent off to forced labor camps. He single handily forced Russia from an agricultural base to that of becoming a modern superpower, and many people starved to death in the process.
Stalin was a master at politics and out maneuvered everyone to become the leader of Russia much of that maneuvering was due to murder and forced labor camps. From a historical point of view he was both murderer and intellectual.
Was Stalin a great leader? Depends on who you ask! After all he was the cause of death for millions of Russians. No doubt many in Russia do see him as a great leader, but when viewed from western countries he was not.
I honestly believe that Stalin wasn’t a good leader or a successful leader. There was no public support for Stalin or his management style. He was oppressive, ruthless and a cruel leader of Russia. He was keeping his management thanks to being cruel and ruthless. He was pretty powerful about policy, because he was killing them who against him. Stalin was the most authorized person in his country and there was no opposition. He was killing people without a reason, he was doing that just for the power.
In contrast to Joseph’s Stalin leadership style, there is John F. Kennedy’s leader typology. Out of all the leadership styles, Kennedy’s leadership style proved to be the most effective and influenced one. He followed the authoritative and charismatic leadership style. Authoritative leaders are to be known as the experts in whatever they get into. They are able to provide you with a clear vision and a perfect path through which it can be achieved and be a success. In Kennedy’s leadership this quality can be seen very clearly because he had the capability to mobilize the people towards the vision and make use of what they were best in.
By his authoritative leadership style, he was able to engage different generations of this nation by communicating his philosophy of hope and change through traditional sources. In his own words, he is ‘audacious’ enough to propose that Americans can and should transform the nation into something that is better. His political and leadership messages have focused consistently on transformation.
John F. Kennedy as a charismatic leader time and again fluent the hallucination by means of descriptions and tales in behavior that each human being can be aware of his mental picture or image. The persons who support him usually saw him as individual that have power over and capability to create in individuals mind the prospect with transparency.
This also helped him become a role model for his workplace.
By his charismatic leadership style, Kennedy was able to engage the nation, to inspire and to motivate the people by communicating a clear vision of the future. Kennedy has utilized many media to begin his process of leadership. His inspirational motivation behavior has been seen in the speeches he gave during the campaign which served to engage and energize both his supporters and those on the fence.
President Kennedy transcended the times by leading ordinary citizens to dream of what was once unimaginable and to achieve what was once thought impossible from civil rights to space exploration and other significant issues. He restored pride in America at home and exerted global leadership aboard
John F. Kennedy had the ability to inspire people to act. Kids grew up wanting to serve the people with government service, the peace corps, and fight for civil rights. He moved the nation to want to be better. He helped us see the humanity of all of us.
Being a leader is not an easy task because things don’t always go as we anticipate, so that’s where the courage comes in because it motivates you to keep going when you want to give up due to obstacles.
A leader knows the way, follows it and guides his subordinates. So, if we want to be good leaders, we must always keep our minds clear, our vision clear, our hearts open and empathetic to the difficulties of our subordinates, and, last but not least, our feet on the ground. Only a weak leader believes that he must be the centre of the universe and that he must impose himself through an attitude of superiority. A good leader will guide and inspire others.
- Dr. Petre Duțu, ‘LEADERSHIP SI MANAGEMENT IN ARMATA’ , Editura Universităţii Naţionale de Apărare „Carol I” Bucureşti, 2008, p.7, p.25
- Henry Mintzberg, Managing, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, pp. 44 – 45
- US Army Field Manual 6-22, 2006