In order to be able to understand what makes an effective leader, it is first essential to understand what leadership is. There are many varying perceptions about the concept of leadership. Different types of leadership focus on different principles that range from the character traits of the leader to the change the leader brings. However, at its core all types of leadership consist of the following components: a process between the leader and followers, influence, and a common goal (Northouse 5). With that definition in mind, it can be reasoned that an effective leader would be an individual that works well with his followers, has a lasting influence, and ultimately achieves the goal that he is working towards.
In analyzing the life and achievements of Washington, it is obvious that he was an effective leader who excelled in all of the components of leadership. On the subject of Washington’s relationship with his followers, Seymour Lipset stated that he “inspired incredible trust” and “never gave his soldiers any reason to lose faith in him” (26-29). In fact, his followers had such great respect...
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...r over and yet he still valued their worth as individuals. At his own cost he put time and effort into educating his slaves and ultimately setting them free. “Washington exceeded Jefferson and almost all his fellow southern Founders in the generosity with which he dealt with his slaves” (Lipset 33-34). Indeed, this example from his life aptly shows how Washington never used his power as an excuse to disregard his values.
In conclusion, George Washington was a great leader who exemplified the values he stood for. He achieved his goals in “facilitating—as no one else alive at the time probably could have—the formation of the culture and institutions needed for a stable, legitimate, and effective democratic system” (Lipset 28). George Washington’s life and achievements are evidence that a leader can leave a strong legacy and not lose sight of their personal integrity.
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