A Comparison of the Leadership

Topics: Leadership, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson Pages: 8 (2240 words) Published: December 1, 2014


A Comparison of the Leadership Traits of
George Washington
and
George Mason

Gabriel Eberhardt
&
Sasha Loftin

MET AD 715
Boston University

Great leaders throughout history are generally known for their greatness in a particular area. One might say they are the leaders within that field or discipline. George Patton was a great military leader. Steve Jobs was a great business leader, and Abraham Lincoln was a great political leader. George Washington was one of the few individuals in the history of the world, and certainly the history of this country who was able to use his leadership traits and abilities to span several different disciplines. While he may not have been the absolute best in each category, it is common knowledge that he was one of the best military leaders, political leaders and business leaders of his time. Washington appears to have been one of those rare individuals in world history who fit the needs of his time. What made Washington a great leader was his understanding of what had to be done. As a general, he knew that winning the Battle of Saratoga was essential in creating an alliance to secure much needed aid from France. As a businessman, Washington continually worked his expansive estate to be not only self reliant, but also a micro economic revenue generating establishment. As a politician, his countless decisions all helped mold many aspects of a then new nation. (Constitutional Rights Foundation, 1984) Washington’s interest in becoming a gentleman and a leader started at a around the age of sixteen when he copied out by hand, the now famous “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” They are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. Presumably they were copied out as part of an exercise in penmanship assigned by young Washington's schoolmaster. The first English translation of the French rules appeared in 1640, and are ascribed to Francis Hawkins the twelve-year-old son of a doctor. As a young man, Washington, who admired the rules, wanted to be a gentleman. That is, he wanted to be a leader of men. So, he needed to know how a gentleman behaves, and then to play--to become-- the part. And so he strove to follow these Rules of Civility--there were 110 of them--and in this we see the earliest glimmer of the type of leader Washington was to become. (Smarties, 2011) After a great deal is review and distillation, George Washington’s leadership style can be effectively separated into three component parts. First and foremost, Washington was diligent. He was very conscious of his own shortcomings. He acknowledged and maybe even was self-conscious of his lack of formal education, especially when compared to men like Thomas Jefferson or James Madison. He only read and spoke English. Yet for Washington this was a strength, because from it he learned the wisdom of delegating power. He was very willing to delegate power and to seek advice and opinions. However, in the end, he also had no qualms about making decisions and sticking with them, as he did when issuing his Proclamation of Neutrality in 1793 against much advice and against the will of Congress and the American people. This leads us to the second component of his leadership style. George Washington was deliberating but decisive. Once he made a decision, he was single-minded. For example, in the Revolutionary War he never deviated from the simple strategy of keeping his army intact and alive until, with French help, he could deal a death blow to the British. While he lost more battles than he won, Washington kept the Continental Army alive long enough to win at Yorktown in 1781 with the help of France. When president, he would face a very different France but not a very different problem: how to keep the young country alive. Jefferson and Hamilton advised him very differently on this question, which brings up the third character trait. Washington was an...

Bibliography: Charisma Magazine (2011, Feb. 18). 10 Leadership Lessons From George Washington. Retrieved Mar. 26, 2013, from http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/16834-10-leadership-lessons-from-george-washington
Jimmy Larche
The Underground Democratic. (2011, May 23) Comparing George Washington. Retrieved Mar. 25, 2013, from http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=241x1088
The Sydny Daily Herald
Proffessor Pinheiro. 2011, Dec. 27). George Washington 's Leadership Style, Briefly Considered. Retrieved Mar. 12, 2013 from http://www.historyforsmarties.net/2011/08/george-washingtons-leadership-style.html
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