What makes a truly great leader?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by ERAUMattmom, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. ERAUMattmom

    ERAUMattmom Member

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    OK 7 more days until we find out whether we or out DS’s or DD’s get an EA.

    To help make the time go by how about joining in on a friendly debate of whether true leaders are born or made? And what makes a truly great leader?
    The following lists came from some different web sites on leaders…but what do YOU think?

    Is it-
    Ambition, drive and tenacity, self-confidence, psychological openness, realism and an insatiable appetite for learning?

    Or is it-
    Bearing, courage, decisiveness, dependability, endurance, enthusiasm, initiative, integrity, judgment, sense of justice, knowledge, loyalty, tact, unselfish?

    Or how about-
    • Quiet resolution
    • The hardihood to take risks.
    • The readiness to share in rewards with subordinates.
    • An equal readiness to take the blame when things go adversely.
    • The nerve to survive storm and disappointment and to face each new day with the score sheet wiped clean; neither dwelling on one’s successes, nor accepting discouragement from one’s failures.

    Could it be –
    Integrity, knowledge, courage, decisiveness, dependability, initiative, tact, justice enthusiasm, bearing, endurance, unselfishness, loyalty, judgment?
     
  2. SecretRusski

    SecretRusski Member

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  3. Mandyj34

    Mandyj34 Member

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    I think honor, trust, determination, loyalty, courage, and integrity
     
  4. ERAUMattmom

    ERAUMattmom Member

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    +1 SecretRusski
     
  5. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Strength and Honor, perhaps? :thumb:
     
  6. ERAUMattmom

    ERAUMattmom Member

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    All good traits....Are these traits that we are born with or learn from the environment/people that we grew up with?
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    We can hope! :smile:
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Leadership can definitely be learned. It's easier to pick up the skills though with some of the proper DNA.
     
  9. Capt. Ahab

    Capt. Ahab Member

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    1+ Kinnem.
     
  10. MSFaygo

    MSFaygo Member

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    Many of the traits listed are not absolutes - they are relative - in the eye of the beholder.

    A good leader is someone who gets the targeted group to follow. The required traits will be what the targeted group values.

    Therefore, I agree, it is something that can be learned. However, a leader needs to start with a core strength, skill set that gives them the desire to want to lead. It's a combination of both
     
  11. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Physical strength + emotional strength + purpose
     
  12. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    I'm gonna go a little off the map here and give you my perspective, tell me what you think:

    Today, a leader has to have a certain level of "coolness" and good looks to succeed. If I were to show a group of my peers (high schoolers and college kids) someone who is smart, determined, honorable, etc; they wouldn't follow him! He would also have to be fairly handsome and considered cool by the main body of students to be considered a leader.

    This is kind of saddening to me, because I see kids all the time with all the tools to be great leaders, but just because they aren't popular, never really have the opportunity to lead, and thus might never realize how great of leaders they really can be. Thoughts? I realize high school vs. the real world is going to be greatly different.
     
  13. ERAUMattmom

    ERAUMattmom Member

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    My DS Matt has been the catcher on all of his baseball teams from the time he was about 8 years old. I don't know if it was the leadership skills that he was born with that attracted him to the position of catcher....or if playing the position of catcher helped develop his leadership skills.

    I do know that is was shortly after Matt had the honor of sparking the come from behind victory over Chinese Taipei while representing Long Beach as well as the United States as the catcher on the 2008 Pony World Series Championship Team was when I first realized that he had a gift. He was 14 at the time. It took me a little longer to realize how he intended to use it, but I was not surprised.

    Can anybody else remember the exact moment or event when they first realized that they or their DS/DD had that desire or aspiration to make a difference?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  14. MSFaygo

    MSFaygo Member

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    I think this supports my point - eye of the beholder. Also - we are influenced by the media - which is a form of peer pressure - as to what traits we're supposed to value/look to for leadership.

    Even if someone with inate leadership skills doesn't get the opportunity to lead early in life, there are many opportunities to grow into that role later on. The cream always finds a way to rise to the top.
     
  15. HorseHolder

    HorseHolder Member

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    Strength and Honor, with all due respect, I think your perspective on leadership is very "high school". You are confusing leadership with popularity, and those two things are not the same although they may share some overlapping traits. Isn't it possible that a not too attractive, uncool boy who wouldn't have a prayer of being elected class officer or to a student government position could be a real leader in his Boy Scout troop or church youth group?

    The kids I see at my local high school who have a plethora of what would be considered "leadership" positions to put on their college applications are mostly popular kids who self-select for the postions or who are nominated by peers in the same "leadership" clique. In the case where the positions are elected, they win the elections because they are popular and not because they are inherently good leaders. I see very few high school "leaders" who are good at getting anyone outside their own immediate group to follow, and in many cases, these kids are more exclusive than inclusive.

    I think many great leaders often have a certain personal charisma that enhances their abilities, and that is something that they are born with. Worked for a corporate VP one time who had that charisma and could get almost anyone to do almost anything for him although he was not otherwise outstanding in terms of managerial skills.

    I have spent a lot of time working as an adult volunteer in multiple organizations whose main purpose is youth development. These organizations are in theory "youth led". In over 15 years of active volunteering, I think I can count on one hand the number of youth that I would consider true leaders regardless of positions held or other achievements. What made these kids leaders?
    - Ability to influence others (both youth and adults) in the organization
    - Willingness to take on real responsibility and follow through
    - Self-directed
    - Goal-oriented
    - Has a vision or a mission for the group being led

    Don't forget that leadership skills, qualities, and traits can be used for evil as well as good.
     
  16. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    But I think my man point was.... As humans who are undoubtedly influenced by peer pressure, aren't we more likely to follow someone who is good looking and popular opposed to someone who isn't?
     
  17. ERAUMattmom

    ERAUMattmom Member

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    VERY important point... IMPO.

    I would like to believe that those on this forum and related to those on the forum do not fall into the above category!
     
  18. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I think at your age that is probably true. I think later in life we follow folks who are effective and dispense recognition appropriately... to the extent we have a choice anyway.
     
  19. Ligustinus

    Ligustinus Ligustinus

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    I took a CE leadership management principles class this past school year. In that class leadership was defined as: the ability to influence others to a desired goal (paraphrasing). However the traits needed to influence others depends upon the situation. This theory is called situational leadership. This leadership style, so to speak, is characteristic of shifting the traits or natural talents you have as a leader to the situation at hand to deal with it accordingly.
    So in high school those traits, are "popularity" (which I personally don't believe), self-confidence, and yes, good looks. However, who would my peers on the cross country team want to lead them? Someone who knows running, who can inspire you to believe in yourself, and who can give you a goal to emulate. A person who can do that may not be a good fit for a class office or might be depends on the traits they can use.
    Seeing as how this is an ROTC thread, I think the real question is and the one I've look for an answer to is:

    What makes a great officer?

    I personally believe that depends on branch of the military and the job at hand. An Infantry officer will need to be able to have the tactical know how of how to conduct a patrol and firefight in order to inspire his men to follow him, and must also have the integrity and courage to hold order amongst chaos (Platoon Leader, really opens your eyes to this). But then behind the lines must be able to fill out the forms necessary to get the supplies needed for his unit, so he must then be able to manage time, and push papers. Then turn around and organize his men for PT and manage them during downtime.
    After looking at these varied situations that a young Infantry officer needs to face and be able to handle as a leader, I'm even more convinced that what makes a leader a great leader is the ability to transition into a variety of situations and adapt their own strengths and weaknesses into the most effective leadership style that will complete the mission.
     
  20. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Yup!
     

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