The Leadership of Colin Powell

Pages: 8 (2343 words) Published: December 21, 2014

Leadership Assessment Paper
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
14 March 2014

This assessment paper aims to enhance the knowledge of effective leadership within our Armed Forces and across our nation. First, I will provide information on General Colin Powell’s (Ret.) life and style of leadership that he has presented through our nation. Second, I will present a personnel leadership self-assessment of how I view myself. In conclusion, the paper will show a comparison and contrast between the leadership style of General Colin Powell’s (Ret.) and myself. Keywords: General Colin Powell, leadership style, leadership assessment, self-assessment, transformational leadership, situational leadership, and comparison and contrast.

As we all know leaders can be effective or ineffective at times within an organization. Leadership is a process of influence between leaders and subordinates where a leader attempts to influence the behavior of his or her subordinates to achieve the organizational goals. An organization’s success in achieving its goals and objectives depends on the leaders of the organization and their leadership style. If a leader adopts the appropriate leadership style he or she can affect the employee’s satisfaction, commitment, and productivity to their job. General Colin Powell Leadership Style

General Colin Luther Powell, born on April 5, 1937 in Harlem, New York. He has had an extraordinary career as one of the most influential leaders of our country. As a child of working class Jamaican immigrants, during the depression era, he embodies the strength of values, hard work ethic, steadfast discipline, and exceptional standards of a true leader. Powell has served as an American statesman and a solider of the United States Army, which he later retired as the four-star general. He was the first African American to serve in the White House as the Secretary of State, while under U.S. President George W. Bush administration from 2001 to 2005. During his time in the as military, Powell “the reluctant warrior,” also served as National Security Advisor, the Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which he was also the first and only African American to hold the high position the Department of Defense. Powell often argues that ideas matter. They can either buildup or bring down an empire. He believed that leaders must consciously work to stay in touch with the best ideas of the people they lead and always be on the lookout for great ideas. As we all know within an organization there is always a communication issue where one department has no idea what their skilled counterparts in another department is doing. In short he promotes a clash of ideas. Powell was known as “the reluctant warrior” during his military career because he rarely advocated military intervention as the first solution to an international crisis. He usually proposed diplomacy and containment to minimized military involvement. He made no room for his leadership to be compromised by friend or foe when making decisions. “Leadership can’t be a popularity contest. Trying not to offend anyone, or trying to get everyone to like you, will set you on the road to mediocrity. Why? Because leaders who are afraid to make people angry are likely to waver and procrastinate when it comes time to make tough choices. “Leaders who are more about being liked than about being effective are unlikely to confront the people who need confronting. They are unlikely to offer differential rewards based on performance. They won’t challenge the status quo. And inevitably, by not challenging tradition, they hurt both their own credibility and their organization’s performance” (Harari, 2002 p.18). “Powell’s leadership style is considered to be aligned with The Hersey – Blanchard Situational Leadership Model. Throughout his career, Powell has...
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