Changing the Military with Servant Leadership

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There are a number of significant difficulties for today’s military - the Global War on Terrorism or what has recently been termed the “Long War;” weapon system acquisitions and personnel draw downs. The focus of this paper is on one strategic component of the military quest—Leadership. More specifically, it will center on servant leadership and its impact on the military’s vision.

This paper first explores the significance of the leadership change, followed by an examination of three notable characteristics of servant leadership and their historical influence through the eyes of a famous leader. Whether one studies Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”, Martin Luther King Jr.’s extraordinary passion for equality, or even Vince Lombardi’s coaching genius, one can easily find models for inspirational leadership and strategies for success. Inspirational leadership conveyed through motivational speakers boosts the passion of its audience because it taps into emotions. So what is it that draws people to a leader? Is it charisma, passion, kindness, or fairness? Is it the ability to cast a vision that the entire organization can understand and support?

Next, this paper will look at servant leadership and its comparison to the terms leadership and management. Members of the military all swear an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Whether they knew it or not, by swearing that oath, they accepted the responsibility to lead our subordinates. Speaking from experience, I worked for many highly qualified managers over the 24 years I spent in the Navy, but only a few life-changing, organization-transforming leaders. Running from meeting to meeting and desperately trying to stay ahe...

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