Since the beginning of time until now, there has been an abundance of leaders with many different traits, characteristics, backgrounds, and styles. Leaders have the unique ability to get others to do things willingly. Throughout history, there have been many different types of leaders that emerge from different situations. You have political leaders, military leaders, environmental leaders, organizational leaders, and the list goes on. Leaders tend to have many admirers and people that emulate them. Using leadership theories, I will analyze my selected leader to identify characteristics and provide specific examples of leadership qualities I think contributed to his success. I will also explain my leadership style and my ideas and plans for improving my effectiveness as a leader. Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Chris Hardy to me is what a leader should be or strive to be. He was my Battalion CSM for a couple of years.
He was the youngest person ever to make CSM in the history of the United States Army. He completed all military schools that are required for leadership development and military schools for advanced tactics, weapons, and survival training. He was someone I looked up to and strived to be; I am sure I was not the only solider that felt this way. The traits he possessed that made him a successful leader and a great leader are Loyalty, Selflessness, Bearing, Confidence, Decisiveness, Tact, Initiative, Assertiveness, Humility, Sense of Humor, Compassion, Respect, Honor, Integrity, and Charisma. The values that came with these traits are Courage, Candor, Competence, Discipline, Duty, Family and Commitment. CSM Hardy set the example of a true leader. He was tactically and technically proficient. He was always seeking self-improvement. He looked out for the welfare of all soldiers under his command and of those that were not under his command. He made sure that all of his soldiers were informed of what to do and what was going on at all times.
He ensured that when tasks were handed out, it was understood, supervised, and accomplished to the standards that were set. He made sure that all teams, squads, platoons, and company’s had comradery and a sense of pride for each other. All of his decisions were sound and timely. He also empowered his leadership and required that they empowered their soldiers. This was especially critical and crucial; because if anything happened to leadership, the next guy in line needed to know and be able to carry out those duties and perform them just as good if not better. CSM Hardy’s leadership actions and abilities helped pave the way for us in the initial push of the invasion of Iraq. Due to his leadership skills we as a Battalion did not lose many lives in combat during 2003-2004 while under his supervision. Given his position and characteristics/traits, I would say CSM Hardy fell under a few leadership theories.
These theories are Situational leadership theory, Path-Goal theory, Charismatic leadership, Transformational leadership, and Servant leadership. Situational leadership – According to Robbins and Judge (2013), situational leadership focuses on the followers. Successful leadership depends on selecting the right leadership style contingent on the followers’ readiness, which is the extent to which they are willing and able to accomplish a specific task (p. 376). CSM Hardy needed to modify his leadership style depending on the readiness of his leaders and their followers (soldiers), that way he can put the right people in the right places and give out directions as needed. Path Goal – According to Robbins and Judge (2013), it is the leader’s job to provide followers with the information, support, or other resources necessary to achieve their goals (p. 376). CSM Hardy had to provide information, support, and resources to leaders and followers (soldiers) in order to reduce roadblocks and accomplish goals, so the mission could be completed effectively and efficiently.
Charismatic leadership – According to Robbins and Judge (2013), charismatic leaders have a vision, are willing to take personal risks to achieve that vision, they are sensitive to follower needs, and they exhibit extraordinary behaviors. Charismatic leaders are likely to be extraverted, self-confident, and achievement oriented (p.380). CSM Hardy made sure everyone bought into his vision and made sure everyone was on the same page. He also made sure everyone was achievement oriented, because in order to be successful you need to achieve and accomplish goals. Transformational leadership – According to Robbins and Judge (2013), transformational leaders inspire followers to transcend their self-interests for the good of the organization (p. 382). CSM Hardy inspired not only me, but many of others to apply for military schools. Not only for self-interests and personal gain but so the battalion can be a more effective fighting machine. Servant leadership – According to Robbins and Judge (2013), servant leaders go beyond their self-interest and focus on opportunities to help followers grow and develop (p. 387).
To piggy-back off of transformational leadership; by making sure our battalion had plenty of slots for military schools, CSM Hardy helped followers grow and develop into better soldiers and leaders. Which made the Army more of an effective fighting machine. By looking over CSM Hardy’s leadership style, characteristics/traits, and talking with my mentor; I was able to evaluate my leadership style and identify my leadership characteristics/traits. I have a good sense of humor, I take the initiative, I am loyal, honest, courageous, compassionate, charismatic, selfless, and I have a sense of duty, and integrity. I value courage, candor, competence, discipline, duty, respect, family and Commitment. My leadership styles are charismatic leadership, situational leadership, and path-goal leadership.
My leadership is charismatic because I like to preach the bigger picture to get followers to buy in. By doing so, work seems more meaningful, which increases production. My leadership style is situational because I base my approach depending on followers’ readiness. My leadership style is path-goal orientated because I lead depending on the situation. I like to make sure my followers have everything they need to reduce road blocks and accomplish their goals as effective and efficient as possible. In conclusion, as stated before I admire and try to emulate myself after CSM Hardy.
Taking a look mine and CSM Hardy’s characteristics/traits and what we value; I would say we value the same things and are characteristics/traits are almost the same. In order to improve my effectiveness as a leader, I need to understand my limitations and know my strengths and weaknesses. Understanding and knowing these will help me delegate responsibility accordingly, hire people who complement me, and know what areas I need to work on to become a better and more effective leader. The way I can work on my weaknesses are to be constantly be aware of them, limit the effect of them, and work on them extensively to develop them into a strength.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2013). Organizational Behavior (15th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.