Crucible Events and Their Impact on Leadership

Topics: Harman Kardon, Leadership, United States Marine Corps Pages: 8 (2381 words) Published: April 13, 2013
Crucible Events 1

Crucible Events and Their Impact on Leadership
Antonio Oliva
Management 430
Professor M. Nunnelly
October 23, 2012

Crucible Events 2
Crucible Events and Their Impact on Leadership
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

The timid soul who has never ventured out for fear of defeat or the individual who has by all accounts, has the right stuff to be a natural leader and knows the feeling of victory will he or she always perform in this natural manner? Or can a crucible event change all that? Why can a crucible experience influence leadership style, beliefs, philosophy, or behavior? To explain this probably best to first define a crucible experience. According to the article Crucibles of Leadership, Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas define a crucible as: A trial or a test, a point of deep self – reflection that forced a person to question who they were and what mattered to them. It required them to examine their values, question their assumptions, and hone their judgment. In variably, they emerged from the crucible stronger and surer of themselves and their purpose – changed in some fundamental way.

Warren Bennie is one of today’s foremost authorities on leadership he is the Founding Chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University Of Southern California and author of 27 books and more than 2,000 articles on leadership. In his book, On Leadership, Dr. Bennie states that, after many years of observing and interviewing leaders, they differ from other people in very distinct and identifiable ways. First of all, they have a constant appetite for knowledge and experience as their worlds widen and become more complex, Crucible Events 3 so too do their means of understanding. Further, he discovered that leadership usually emerged after some rite of passage, often a - stressful one. He calls this experience, this rite of passage that produces leaders, a crucible.

A crucible is a vessel used in laboratories and specialized manufacturing environments for melting materials or heating them to extremely high temperatures. The word crucible is also used, as Dr. Bennis does, to describe a severe test or trial of patience, belief or capability, for instance. Some enter it willingly, while others are thrust into by circumstances without notice. For those who survive immersion in the crucible, Dr. Bennis feels that something magical happens that transforms an individual.

Crucibles of Leadership the Marine Corps Way
Marine Corps officer training has always been as tough as – some enlisted men say tougher than boot camp for the rank and file. This is, as it should be, since the officer must lead by example, set the pace, not simply keep up with his Marines. “For years Officer Candidate School (OCS) was capped by an especially difficult final two – and –a – half – day ordeal, in which the prospective officers endured sleep and food deprivation while going through seemingly endless number of obstacles and a field exercises.” (Carrison & Walsh, 1999) General Charles Krulak, upon taking command as the commandant of the Marine Corps took this concept of a final, defining ordeal and applied it to basic training for all Marines.

As of 1996, every Marine recruit must complete not only the legendary rigors of boot camp but the even more demanding fifty – four- hour test of character called The Crucible, as well. “A recruit is given 2.5 MREs (= Meal Ready-to-Eat, a...
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