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Leadership at War Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jun 9th, 2021

Leadership is vital in both business ventures and when working with people in politics or other matters. A leader is capable of setting direction and encouraging the followers to work towards a specific aim, which is essential for achieving success. The examples of Demirtas, St. Crispin, Sassoon, and Machiavelli help understand the necessary qualities that help engage people and guide them towards a specific aim.

The conflict between two nationalities and the importance of leadership in achieving success can be seen in the events and challenges that Kurdish people face in Turkey. According to Yeginsu, the “coolness and rhetorical skill” of the Kurdish politician Demirtas helped him become the primary opposition against the current leader of the country – President Erdogan. The fundamental issue highlighted in Yeginsu’s article is the choice between violence and negotiation that one can take. Unarguably, the second approach requires an efficient leader and time before the emergence of significant results.

St. Crispin’s speech is another representation of effective leadership at times of war or conflict. The primary aim of St. Crispin was to ensure the proper morale of the military forces that were tired due to prolonged battles.

Shakespeare described the speech, which highlights aspects of motivator other than financial wellness. For instance, Shakespeare wrote, “By Jove, I am not covetous for gold” (60). This applies to modern day leadership as well because executives and politicians should understand the interests of their followers, which do not always include monetary benefits. The words of St. Crispin provide an understanding of the fact that leaders should take responsibility and talk to their people during difficult times, as well as the importance of values that individuals have.

Another example of military leadership that highlights the critical aspect of leading people is the poem The General by Siegfried Sassoon. In it, the author uses satire to depict an incompetent general who is responsible for the deaths of his soldiers. This is reflected in the line, “but he did for them both by his plan of attack” that implies that the strategy chosen by this leader resulted in failure (20). Thus, while being a leader has many benefits, one should understand the responsibilities as well.

Machiavelli’s book The Prince emphasizes the specific qualities that a leader must have. Although the work is political, these characteristics apply to any other field as well. The issue of whether one should be “loved rather than feared” is the central idea of this work (50).

From the author’s perspective, a politician should prioritize the well-being of the majority, even if he or she would be considered cruel for specific actions. One, however, should avoid being hated by followers, as this would not result in the desired outcome. In conclusion, a proper leader should maintain an appropriate balance between being admired and perceived as a competent expert. In this way, one can have enough authority and respect, which is necessary for leading followers towards a goal.

Overall, leadership is a complicated matter that consists of a variety of skills and knowledge that one has to obtain. The example of the Kurdish leader is the representation of choice that one has either violence or negotiations. St. Crispin’s speech provides an understanding of values that matter to followers. The General highlights the consequences of leadership incompetence resulting in deaths. Finally, Machiavelli raises the question of love and hatred towards leaders and the choice one has to make in regards to these qualities.

Works Cited

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Hackett Publishing, 1995.

Sassoon, Siegfried. Counter-Attack, and Other Poems. William Heinemann, 1918.

Shakespeare, William. King Henry V. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Yeginsu, Ceylan. “New York Times, 2015. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Leadership at War." June 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/leadership-at-war/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Leadership at War'. 9 June.

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