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Leadership in Military Research Paper


For military to be successful in their endeavors, military service needs leaders who are not only agile in their analysis, but also innovative in the development of new solutions to the complex challenges.

As such, military leaders should be academically qualified to lead such significant and racial diverse institution (Richardson 2005, 36). Effective military leadership skills can help the military solve racial inequalities within its departments.

As asserted by the activists, the top US military organizations do not only depict racial disparity, but also gender disparity. The current military programs, in the US, emphasize on the need to improve their efficiency and enhance their leadership skills.

As such, the military program focuses narrowly on ending the rampant racial and gender inequality in its top leadership. Based on its diversity, US military leaders should be able to fight the alleged racism with swift.

Similarly, the current warfare requires military soldiers with innovative and responsive skills to understand and tackle the ever- increasing applications of technology in the warfare by the terrorist and enemies (Richardson 2005, 34).

This paper seeks to identify the characteristics of great military leaders, chooses a specific leader, and assesses the persona of a specific leader.

Characteristics of a good military leader

Based on the current military standards, most of the great military leaders in the history of the US military would be considered as racists. Despite their military success and outstanding leadership skills, some of these military leaders owned and abused slaves.

In spite of owning slaves, Gorge Washington became one of the greatest military leaders in the history of the US military. In the 1940s, activists called for more prewar efforts in the US military. The activists accused the US military for their selective services.

Until the mid 1950s, the activists accused the US military for the rampant racism in their departments. Since then more efforts have been put in place to enable recruitment of all persons regardless of their race, color, and gender in the military.

To lead an institution confronted with enormous challenges such as racism, a military leader has to rise above traditional tactics and demonstrate control and stability. Similarly, current military leadership entails more than just organizing followers, but also motivating them to confront reality.

Through this, efficient military leaders should change values, habits, practices, and priorities in their juniors to be in line with the current racial diversified military services (Serry 2001, 3). To achieve this, military leaders should create a vision, and motivate individuals through appropriate approaches.

Through education and experience, an individual develops and learns leadership skills. This implies that learning and applying leadership skills takes some time. For an individual to be an effective military leader, he or she is required to put in conscious and consistent attention of aspiring and proven leaders.

Effective military leaders have made deliberate choices to improve their leadership skills throughout their careers. Great military leaders such as George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, and George Marshall worked persistently to cultivate their abilities and skills through their efforts and commitments.

One common attribute about these leaders is that they chose the difficult path of improving their military leadership skills from their first day as junior officers. Similarly, these leaders knew from their early careers that for them to be effective military leaders, they had to enhance their skills through diverse means.


In the military, a leader must be independent, selfless, incorruptible, dedicated, honest, and be sound and morally upright. Through integrity, an individual attains these attributes over time. Military leaders must be perceived as responsible and trustworthy in every setting and situation, whether social, financial, or political.

Notably, a military leader should a person of integrity to head a racial diverse institution (Laver 2008, 23). The value of integrity in the great U.S military leaders cannot be overstated. In the history of the U.S military, racism, harsh and brutal punishments were common.

This implies that great U.S military leaders had to be intelligent to rise above such challenges, which have persisted to date (Laver 2008, 25). Regarding this, Military leaders should earn trust from their juniors regardless of their race and ethnicity. Similarly, leaders of integrity should work under clear principles.

In the history of the US military, George Washington became one of the greatest military leaders due to his integrity. Through his acts of integrity, he led the American soldiers through numerous challenges in the 18th century. He consistently demonstrated his commitment to the patriotic cause.

Unlike other past military leaders before him, Washington built a strong trusting relationship with his officers. He always reminded his soldiers about the common interests of defeating the British soldiers.

Equally, Washington consistently reminded his soldiers of their own obligation to act with integrity. Through his military services, Washington optimized the cultural ideals in military and courteous honor, of which integrity was the central quality.

Other great military leaders known for their integrity included George C. Marshall and Lewis B. Chesty Puller. Through their integrity, the U.S military succeeded in several war fields the two leaders commanded. Lewis B. Chesty Puller became very renowned for his intelligence and charisma.


All U.S. military leaders had strong will and determination. Similarly, modern military leaders should be determined in their endeavors to ensure that racisms and other related injustice in the military are put to an end.

It is believed that with determined leaders, numerous challenges such as racism, gender inequality in the military can be reduced significantly.

Even though, the past great military leaders in the US military showed little interest in ending racism in the military, their determination and goodwill in the success of the military is considered prudent. Notably, Ulysses Grant was one of the military leaders who had an outstanding determination and a strategic vision.

Several literatures have focused on his strategic thinking with the aim of determining the proficiency of his leadership skills (Grant 2011, 54). Due to his exceptional quality leadership skills, Grant is among the most celebrated historical leaders in the history of the U.S military.

Carl Von, a writer, described him as a man with great force of will. Like Grant, Gorge Washington George C. Marshall and colonel Powel were always prepared to adapt to new situations. Through this, these leaders never allowed tactical challenges to distract them from achieving their strategic objectives.

During their time in power, critics underestimated most of these leaders’ skills and expected them to fail terribly. On the contrary, these leaders endured failures and despondency and slowly worked their way to the top of their professions, earning a reputation as the best military commanders in the U.S. history (Laver 2008, 56).

Cross-cultural leadership

Several US military leaders became famous during the World War I and the World War II for their cross–cultural leadership styles. Through cross-cultural leaders, the US military rose beyond social barriers during the World War II and worked with other nations regardless of their race.

It is believed that the American success in the interwar was due to their participation with their allies. Several literatures have praised these great American leaders as men who accepted responsibility, and made ardors decisions.

Notably, Eisenhower was a great military leader who had exceptional cross-cultural leadership qualities. From his junior army officer career, under Brigadier General Fox, to his appointment has a five star general; Eisenhower’s cross-cultural leadership style was eminent.

His leadership philosophy asserted that Americans could win the Second World War only with the help of their allies. He strongly believed on motivating a strong unified allied command. To achieve support from the allies, Eisenhower showed humility, patience, and flexibility to American allies.

Like Eisenhower, Ulysses Grant and George C. Marshall became famous and successful for their cross-cultural leadership styles (Laver 2008, 80). By exercising cross-cultural leadership styles, these great military leaders gained confidence from their coalition members.

Cross-cultural leadership style, allowed them to treat other nations as equal in terms of basic human dignity. Through this principle, cross-cultural leadership style became so effective in the history of the U.S military.

Moreover, these leaders’ personal traits such as honesty, fairness, courage, and geniality greatly boosted their leadership style.


All leaders across all disciplines accept the fact that great leadership styles develop through practical experience. This implies that potential, effective military leaders must not only reflect their personal experience, but also others experience and learn from both.

Through this, they must reinforce their learning through practice. Similarly, studying through experience approach may necessitate an individual to study the past events or individuals. Political philosophers have asserted that great military leaders should always use history as a guide to military action.

By doing so, those aspiring to be effective military leaders must study the path taken by great military leaders in history and emulate their success, while learning from their mistakes.

If American military leaders had analyzed the history of the Vietnam War, before proceeding with the war in Iraq in 2003, most of the current challenges faced by our military soldiers in the Middle East could be insignificant.

Past military seniors mentored most great military leaders in the US. As such, their leadership styles were acquired from these senior leaders. In this regard, a few of them possessed inborn leadership styles. For instance, Ulysses Grant did not begin his career with an unshaken determination.

His determination developed out of experienced in wars, learning, and studying his previous mentors. Grant applied lessons from the Mexicans campaign during the early engagements of the civil war, and demonstrated a confident determination during the Vicksburg campaign.

As an army officer, Grant was fortunate to serve with high-ranking men in the military history such as Zachary Taylor and Charles F. Smith. Grant always requested help from general smith as a cadet. Smith taught Grant that leaders must always be prepared to fight.

Through these teachings, Grant succeeded and served as a role model in the military leadership. Most literatures assert that Grant learned his greatest lessons from firsthand experience. With every decision Grant made, he gained experience and confidence, which helped him develop into a determined commander.

It is worth noting that Grants persistence was not mere stubbornness. Stubborn leaders fail to recognize strategic and tactical skills needed for effective leadership.

Similarly, Eisenhower’s seniors mentored his leadership skills. In the year 1922, Eisenhower went to Panama to work alongside Brigadier General Conner. Conner had an unusual quality of mentoring his junior officers. During their stay in Panama, Conner revived Eisenhower’s interest in American history.

It was through their relationship that Conner taught Eisenhower the key principles of leadership. Conner thought his young scholar the importance of unity in command. He taught him that large campaign must have a commander over all its forces.

Similarly, Conner taught Eisenhower the value of preparation and study. By the end of their relationships, Eisenhower had articulated his leadership principles.

Charismatic leadership

Charisma in the great American military leaders cannot be overstated. Historians assert that the great American military leaders had ability to motivate men to act towards a common course. Their marines were always ready for their command. They were always ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the country.

Lewis B Chesty Puller was one of these leaders. He became a great role model among the greatest military leaders in the history of the US military. Few leaders will manage a similar career and retain their common touch like him.

Similarly, Ulysses Grant and Colonel Powel were among the other few charismatic leaders in the history of the U.S. Because of their great contribution to the country, the leaders enjoyed massive support from the public and their subordinates.

Their self-confidence enabled them to conquer numerous military challenges experienced at their times. These leaders were not only confidence but also courageous; they had strong beliefs over their decisions and moves. They were never afraid to make vital military decisions, which shaped the history of this country.

Through their innovation, these leaders maximized the skills of their battalions. During the Mexican American war, Ulysses Grant was responsible for the regiment logistics. The complexity of the challenges faced during the war needed a charismatic leader to provide appropriate solutions.

On arrival, at the War field, Grant negotiated with the local suppliers, bent a few military regulations, and eventually secured sufficient mules to organize a caravan for the war. These innovative acts, depicts Grants ingenuity.

George C. Marshall

George C. Marshall was born on 31st, December 1880. He was one of the greatest military leaders in the history of America. Marshall served as chief military adviser under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As a young boy, Marshall was educated in several private schools (Laver 2008, 95).

However, after the 1891 economic collapse, Marshall transferred to a public school. His father noted that during his early years he demonstrated little academic excellence, except in historical subjects. Marshall developed a lot of interest in history throughout his entire life.

Through this, historical studies assert that Marshall solved most of his challenges using solutions from his past.

Marshall later enrolled in the Virginia Military School in the year 1897.Upon his enrollment, Marshall became enthusiastic about the regimen and quickly grasped the skills to being a successful military leader. He persevered through adversity to achieve his intended goals at the military school.

While at the military school, Marshall was very hard working and ambitious. Because of his ambitiousness, Marshall received numerous promotions and held a prestigious office at a lower.

Though his class grades were average, Marshall committed his time to extra studies, which made him learn self-control, discipline, and problem management skills. All through his career, Marshall became very popular for his extraordinary commitment in the military.

He was hardworking, energetic, assertive, and always expected his staff to demonstrate extraordinary commitment. As a leader, he was always fair, empathetic, and conscious. He always provided his juniors with opportunities to relax and energize.

Although, Marshall was acutely sensitive to misconceptions of the army, he always remained a model of discipline in full control of his emotions. In spite of working under regular stress and pressure, he still enjoyed every time he worked as a military leader.

As an institutional leader, Marshall understood the importance of effective communication in leadership. He communicated with his subordinates effectively building organizational morale and developed strong relationships with his subordinates.

Like Ulysses Grant, Marshall acquired his leadership skills through experience and studying historical military occurrence. He greatly benefitted from his understanding of American history in the army and social influence. He learned from personal experience and his mentors.

Through this, he developed an administrative philosophy that emphasized on simplicity, efficiency, and decentralization.

Unlike any other military leaders in the history of the US military, Marshall understood the underlying domestic issues of race and gender inequalities in the US military.

Although he never implemented any policy to end such inequalities, he asserted that anyone could engage in military acts regardless of their race and gender.

Notably, he mentored women in the regular army and supported the minority military organizations, including the African American Tuskegee aviators and the Japanese American Nisei Battalion (Adams 1993, 1).

In general, Marshall’s personal character, organizational skills, and reform-minded policies made him an outstanding institutional leader (Dodd 1962, 67).


From this analysis, it is clear that great American military leaders achieved their goals due to their effective leadership styles. These men achieved high ranks and positions in the military because of their competency, loyalty, and passion for their career.

Similarly, these leaders had exceptional leadership qualities in that they were able to impart their skills and knowledge in their subordinates (Cawthorne 2004, 55).

In this regard, current military leaders, corporate leaders and those aspiring to be leaders in every discipline will greatly benefit from the historical analysis of these leaders.

Through this, they have to study the models of these great leaders and learn from their examples. In addition, current leaders can analyze these great leaders’ attributes to establish reasons for their stability in leadership.

Although these leaders showed little or no interest in ending racism in the military, it would be unfair for us to judge them using the current leadership standards. Instead, we must advocate for equality in our military services.

Through this, we should analyze the past military leaderships, while noting on their failures to end racial and gender inequalities in the military. Through this, we are to come up with appropriate policies aimed at ending social inequalities in our military system.

Reference List

Adams, Peter. 1993. Chappie James, Jr. New York: National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Cawthorne, Nigel. 2004. Military commanders: the 100 greatest throughout history. New York: Enchanted Lion Books.

Dodd, Mead.1962. Famous American military leaders of World War II. New York:, U.S. Army War College.

Grant, R. G. 2011. Commanders. London: Dorling Kindersley.

Laver, Harry. 2008. The art of command military leadership; from George Washington, to Colin Powell. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky.

Richardson, John. 2005. Real Leadership and The U.S. Army: Overcoming A Failure Of Imagination To Conduct Adaptive Work. New York: W. W. Norton.

Serry, Mordu. 2001. The Trials and Tribulations of General Colin L. Powell. New York: Random House.

This Research Paper on Leadership in Military was written and submitted by user Uriah R. to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Uriah R. studied at Lehigh University, USA, with average GPA 3.11 out of 4.0.

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R., Uriah. "Leadership in Military." IvyPanda, 26 June 2019,

1. Uriah R. "Leadership in Military." IvyPanda (blog), June 26, 2019.


R., Uriah. "Leadership in Military." IvyPanda (blog), June 26, 2019.


R., Uriah. 2019. "Leadership in Military." IvyPanda (blog), June 26, 2019.


R., U. (2019) 'Leadership in Military'. IvyPanda, 26 June.

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