A leadership role model: Uncle George
by Luis De La Cruz
Leadership is a human quality made up of inborn and acquired attributes that can influence and transform the behavior of other human beings. This essay identifies leadership attributes and behavior of one individual and will attempt to explain how his influence on the people touched by his leadership style and behavior shaped my personal leadership style I will use a process of analysis that will integrate prevalent leadership theories to support reasonable conclusions. However, the judgments, assertions and conclusions are limited to a personal but objective observation of the actions and behavior of one individual over a segment of his lifetime. My most important leadership role model: Uncle George
A common perception in the leadership-follower relationship is of a person directing another to do something (leader) and the other obeying (follower) a perceived superior to inferior roles (Kelley, 2008). This recognized script evolved, the new scripts (Behavioral, Contingency, Transactional and Transformational) introduced, reflected behaviors engaging leaders and followers in a symbiotic relationship or somewhere in between. Meanwhile, leadership studies where battling each other with updates and innovations some people were unknowingly practicing spontaneous leadership styles not yet rated by scholars. These unrecognized practitioners were influencing family members, coworkers and church parishioners with a consistent behavior pattern that today I can associate with prevalent leadership theories and analyze it to define under a multidimensional (Bass & Avolio, 1989) perspective a personal leadership style. Prevalent leadership theories include for the purpose of our analysis Trait, Behavioral, Theories X and Y, Contingency, Transactional and Transformational approaches. I will borrow from aforementioned approaches, attributes identifiable in the behavior pattern found in our chosen subject of leadership to discriminate among leadership theories, to arrive at a leadership style conclusively. Among the people who were unknowingly practicing varying degrees of leadership styles when exhibiting a consistent behavior pattern in their community of practice, was my uncle George. A man born during the first quarter of the twentieth century right in the middle of the great depression, who learned from childhood the economic commitments of adulthood survival and the values of intangibles such as honor, respect, love for country and family unity. Self-taught and curious advanced the movie of life by taking shortcuts to opportunities immigrating to countries economically strong like the United States. Before marriage and after his mother death uncle George, the oldest son assumed a leadership position in his family looking after his sisters and a brother, a financial burden that continued after marriage. It was during that period of his life that I met him and perceived from him a strong commanding persona, tall, blond, with blue eyes the look of someone bound to be somebody (Allport, 1961). Today, I associate this portrait with Type and Trait theories (Allport, 1966) and certainly enough the community of my uncle's peers confirmed these theories by adding collectively some superiority to his looks and demeanor (Allport, 1966) making uncle George informal heir to some degree of charismatic power within their social group (House, 1977). My uncle was competitive but kind, friendly but respectful, gregarious beyond the limits of his kind, conservative but expressive, a self-appointed guardian of social justice but accommodating to self-interests. At this stage of his life, his leadership style was consistent in the community and at home featuring a democratic, participative, transactional leadership style with followers influenced by attributing charisma to perceived personality and physical traits (Burns, 1978; Allport, 1966; House, 1977). As...
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