Basic areas of leadership

The method employed in the analysis of the nine stories consists in asking three basic questions: 1. What are the basic challenges/problems faced by the leader? 2. How did the leader went about facing the challenges/solving the problems and the characteristics and wisdom the person exhibited? 3. What made the leadership a defining moment, the key elements that spell success or failure and why or how it could be inspiring or a source of valuable lessons?

The above questions were posed as analytical tool because they, in concert, best identify the leadership elements involved in turning the challenges towards successful resolution and provide leadership data that can serve as model for other leaders or students of leadership strategies. Knowing the basic challenges or problems needing solution posed a demand on the person of the leader that could give a clue to the varied directions or approaches available to the leader or they could put a question mark to the attitudes, principles and other internal characteristics of the leader.

By understanding and identifying the actions and approaches done by the leader in facing the challenge or in solving the problem being faced and how they affect or impact the result, the strength and weakness of the leader is discovered and identified. Making a deeper analysis of the dynamics of the leader’s personal interaction with the challenge or problem can bring about insight as to the wisdom of the leader’ s responses that define the inspirational nature of the leadership moment in its wider or more comprehensive context.

These are only three questions but they can provide a rich array of leadership lessons and insights because each leadership moment as well as each leader is unique; and the confluence can bring light the many facets of leadership challenge and leadership qualities and responses. And this will be apparent in the discussion of the result of the analysis. DISCUSSION Selective survey of the result of analysis confirmed the fact that a definitive identification of leadership quality will be exhibited by an understanding of the nature of the challenge.

The kind of challenge faced by Roy Valegos at Merck, for example, already points to the quality that is being demanded of the leader and which he exhibited with extraordinary power and commitment – that of moral intelligence, moral courage, sterling fidelity to company vision and long range appreciation of the situation; qualities lacking in John Gutfreund at Solomon and which cost him his career and tremendous losses for his company.

Analysis further revealed three basic areas of leadership which served like a tri-sided prism that reveal the uniqueness of each leader notwithstanding their commonality in manifesting leadership in these basic areas. These areas are character and personality, relationship with others, particularly the organization they lead and an over-all grasp or understanding of the whole situation. How the leader manifests himself in these areas of leadership determines the unique quality of his or her leadership.

Eugene Kranz of the Apollo 13 crisis reveals a person with solid faith and confidence in the members of his team and expects the best to minutest detail from each, while Joshua Chamberlain at Gettysburg deals with the mutineers by appealing to their sense of aspiration to noble ideals yet is realistic as to their ambivalent state of mind and deals with them in a carrot and stick fashion.

In the face of challenge for survival Wagner Dodge in Mann Gulch muster an instinctive intelligence honed by years of experience and created an unconventional means to shield himself from towering fires through creating a circle of fire. But he failed in leading his men to his safe haven; revealing a relational and communication weakness in his leadership. The same instinctive intelligence alerted Arlene Blum on Annapurna of the perils of the second attempt at scaling the summit but she failed to assert leadership for life over freedom to choose and lost two of her fellow mountaineers.

Clifton Wharton at TIAA-CREF, Nancy Barry at Women’s World Banking and Alfredo Cristiani in El Salvador distinguished themselves in leadership for the depth and breath of their grasp of the actual situation of the organization and people they lead and their respective responsibility as a leader and catalyzed the change that their respective situation needed. Each leadership moment revealed the kind of leader each of them have become, just as the intensity of fire reveals how strong and powerful a sword has become.

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