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Being a Good Leader

Updated November 22, 2021
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Being a Good Leader essay

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What is a leader? If you google this question the internet will tell you that a leader is the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. I think it’s safe to say that if that were all that was required of someone to be a leader then anyone could be a leader. That being said, maybe I should ask a different question; what is a good leader is? Everyone has a generalized idea of what they think a leader is, whether that be the standard definition of the term leader or their own personal conception of it. I know I always have. In my eyes a good leader is someone who goes the extra mile when they don’t have to for their soldiers. They are compassionate, intelligent, and fierce.

One of my favorite quotes is “Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death”-Sun Tzu. As my military career has progressed I have learned that you take something from every “leader” you have an encounter with, whether it be something you want to do as a leader yourself or something you never want to do. The Army tries to help us out by giving us a guideline on how to be an effective leader. This paper will discuss the 3 leader attributes Listed below are 3, of what society has considered to be some of the greatest leaders and how they have adequately displayed the 3 leader attributes: character, presence, and intellect.

Character is the ability to exercise discipline while displaying compassion as a leader to all subordinates despite the level of management they require (ADP 6-22, 2012). Empathy, which is a subcategory to the character attribute, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Colin Powell once said, “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

For those of you who do not know who Colin Powell is allow me to enlighten you. Colin Powell served as the United States Secretary of the State from 2001-2005. Powell retired from the United States Army as a four star general. In his early military career he served two tours in Vietnam between the years of 1963-1969. During this time he received a total of 11 military decorations to include: the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, Soldiers Medal, and the Legion of Merit. Powell attended National War College in 1975.

In 1976 Powell was promoted to Brigadier General, where he then commanded the 2nd Brigade of 101st Airborne Division. In 1989 Powell was appointed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Empathy, discipline, warrior ethos, service ethos, and the army values are all the traits that go into the character attribute of being a leader. Colin Powell has demonstrated all of these traits at a superior level and put into perspective what it means to be a leader.

Presence is having the confidence and resilience to complete the task at hand in the most professional manner possible (ADP 6-22). Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. General George S. Patton best emphasized the importance of resilience when he said, “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom”. Patton is considered to be one of the most successful combat generals in history. General Patton is a highly decorated individual some of his awards are to include: Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, and the Legion of Merit.

Intellect is the ability as a leader to operate in sound judgment with innovative decision making ability while operating with interpersonal tact. (ADP 6-22) Interpersonal Tact is the confidentiality of soldier Issues, respect toward soldiers, possess, character. Interpersonal Tact combines these skills, along with recognizing diversity and displaying self-control, balance and stability in situations. (ADP 6-22) John Quincy Adams, the 6th president of the United States, said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. Mental agility, judgment, innovation, interpersonal tact, and expertise are all subcategories of the intellect leadership attribute.

John Quincy served as U.S. Ambassador to several nations. Some of which include: the Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain. Adams was one of the leading American negotiators when the Treaty of Ghent was signed that ended the war of 1812. He is also considered to be one of the greatest U.S. Secretaries of State. Adams went on to write the Monroe Doctrine which was implemented in 1823. John Quincy Adams is probably best known however, for his role as the 6th president of the United States of America. Interpersonal Tact was undisputedly shown through Adams accomplishments and actions.

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