George C. Marshall was the famous and outstanding American military leader and statesman best remembered for his leadership in the Allied victory in World War II and for his work establishing the post-war reconstruction effort for Europe, which became known as the Marshall Plan. George C. Marshall was the only United States Army general to receive the Nobel Peace Prize whereas Martin Luther King Jr. was an American prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement who was one of the most visible advocates of nonviolence and direct action as methods of social change.
Regarding to the question, “Based on the description of the two leaders as persons and their leadership, what have I learned myself that I would like to bring with me in my following career as a potential leader?” I will begin with George C. Marshall’s story which including his leadership style, then Martin Luther King Jr.’s story and his leadership style. My personal remarks will be added as well as what have I learned myself, what I would like to bring with me in my following career as potential leader including what type of leader I aspire to be in the future.
George C. Marshall, starting at a very young age he showed the attributes of leader. Marshall grows up in Uniontown, Pennsylvania under the strict rule of his father. He was a reserved and shy. George C. Marshall was an average, even poor, student, except in the area of history. His tutored education was not strong. When he was a teenager his family experienced great financial losses, and as a result he had to attend public school, where he did somewhat better as a student. His motivation to seek advanced education at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) came in part from the objection of his brother. At VMI, George C. Marshall was from the very beginning the top cadet at the institution in military and disciplinary matters, although an average student in classroom subjects other than history. He craved leadership roles and stoically put up with hazing, poor conditions, and a subpar education. Each year and at graduation, he was honored as the highest-rated cadet. In the years before World War I, he discovered that he was a natural teacher. By the end of World War I, he had made a reputation as a brilliant staff officer capable of great prodigies of training and logistics.
According to his leadership, a direct leadership stands out in George Marshall as he embodies his leadership by his words and actions (Gardner, 1995). Courage is the one of George C. Marshall’s personal character which makes him well known while serving the troop as a chief of operations of the 1st Army Division in France in World War I. George C. Marshall defends his divisional commander against what he thought was unfair criticism by General Pershing. Colleagues thought that George C. Marshall committed his suicide by saying that, but Pershing appreciated Marshall’s honest and courage. Another sample showed his courage was he disagree an idea of President Roosevelt about concentrating aid to Britain and France in form of airplanes. George C. Marshall was known as a composed man, but he is outspoken and defends for right things. Integrity is also important element in a leader, especially George C. Marshall. It can be said that telling the truth is important for George C. Marshall, and he refused to receive any kind of self-promotion or self-pity, he also avoid favors for himself, for his family or for those who associate with him. In addition, George C. Marshall had been perceived as a non-partisan as he did not voted for political issue, and still spoke out what he disagreed with a governmental policy even though there were not widely supported. But Marshall told the truth even when it hurt his cause. Besides integrity and courage, personal traits which are directness and simplicity, acceptance for change, respect for friendship, compassion, calmness and accessibility, helped George C. Marshall to win the loyalty of his staff. According to followers and tasked-center, George C. Marshall believed that, having the effective military troops, welfare and moral of the citizen soldier is critical issue for soldiers. His policy was young men have to receive military training at least 6
months to keep them ready for during wartime, and deadwood (which means old men) have to be remove. During his visit to military bases, George C. Marshall gave the highest priority to chatting with officer of low rank, inquiring as to their needs, and informing their based commanders to provide what they needed. It is crucially important for leader to find the quality persons to place them in position that they are well suited. Marshall’s ability is to recognize talents was in part of based on his many years as a teacher in military training school. George C. Marshall observed men both in training and combat situation, and rated them on their knowledge and performance. He also taught many talents whom thereafter became the heart of army leader’s corps in World War I. Three qualities of command officer that George C. Marshall looked for are integrity, competence and offensive-mindedness. The last attribute of George C. Marshall leadership is putting the public interest before self or organization. As being a nonpartisan, he did not vote for election as he did not want to feel a greater commitment to one party than to other.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta. King's roots were in the African-American Baptist church. After attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, King went on to study in Pennsylvania and Boston University, where he deepened his understanding of theological scholarship and explored Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent strategy for social change. After civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to comply with Montgomery's segregation policy on buses, black residents launched a bus boycott and elected King president of the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association. The boycott continued throughout 1956 and King gained national prominence for his role in the campaign. In December 1956 the United States Supreme Court declared Alabama's segregation laws unconstitutional and Montgomery buses were desegregated. Then King toured India and further developed his understanding of Gandhian nonviolent strategies. In 1960, black college students initiated a protest that led to the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Martin Luther King Jr. supported the student movement and expressed an interest in creating a youth arm of the SCLC. Student activists admired King, but they were critical of his top-down leadership style and were determined to maintain their autonomy. In 1963, King and SCLC lead mass demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, where local white police officials were known for their violent opposition to integration. President Kennedy responded to the Birmingham protests by submitting broad civil rights legislation to Congress, which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Subsequent mass demonstrations culminated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on 28 August 1963, in which more than 250,000 protesters gathered in Washington, D. C. It was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that King delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech. Martin Luther King, Jr. became Time magazine's Man of the Year in 1963 and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
What I have learned from both leaders. I would say that both George C. Marshall and Martin Luther King, Jr. have positive and negative in leadership aspect. The first leader, George C. Marshall. As a military leader in positive aspect, he was a great military leader, his frankness of expression directly related to trust and sincerity. But in the negative aspect George C. Marshall was being too much of a military martinet. He too concerned with spit and polish, too unforgiving if rules were not strictly followed. He expected perfection from subordinate officers, and if an officer met Marshall’s challenges he would support him, if not, Marshall would permanently cut all ties. As a strategic leader, George C. Marshall was a strategic leader who formulated, coordinated and applied the ends, ways and means to develop and execute the Allied Grand Strategy, and the strategic leader competencies were keystones in the foundation of his leadership. As an ethical leader, George C. Marshall found talented people and supported them. He was able to look ahead, establishing a series of goals. Marshall had a long-term plan for the end of the WWII. Hel approached his challenges with a sense of public service, not personal glory. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in rebuilding Europe. But in negative aspect, a discussion of Marshall and ethics should not avoid considering what he thought of war and his role in the decision to use the atomic bomb in Japan to shorten the war. Moreover, George C. Marshall also lack of charismatic leadership. Because he spoke bluntly and he was a very reserved man, and struck some as aloof. However, George C. Marshall was known for not making close friendships. Marshall also believed that leaders should speak their minds with their superiors in a frank yet respectful manner. He learned this leadership skill; it benefited him throughout his career. In fact, Marshall believed in speaking bluntly and avoided those that could not be direct and concise in conversation. For example, in his first encounter with Pershing, he spoke frankly and provided him unsolicited comments and this could have ended his career. In addition, in his first meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt, he publicly disagreed with a comment the president made during a meeting. Marshall’s comments were blunt and his response should have ended his career, but it did not. In fact, in both instances Marshall’s career was advanced.
The second leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., I have learned that he made a famous speech that is known as the "I have a dream" speech. That speech was an inspiration to millions of African-American people. Martin Luther King Jr. was a very powerful speaker. He knew how to lead protests, and how to get people involved with his great rhetoric. According to the course lecture, Martin Luther King, Jr. was an innovative leader, leader who brings new attention or new twist to an existing story. In this case, Martin Luther King, Jr., was an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world by using nonviolent methods.
What I would like to bring with me in my following career as potential leader based on the description of two leaders and their leadership, I would like to bring frankness of George C. Marshall because I believe that trustworthiness is one of the most desirable leadership traits. Integrity is the most important characteristic of trust as it relates to the way a person behaves in any and all situations. I also believe that the successful leaders have to be predictable and reliable. Moreover, the rhetoric of Martin Luther King, Jr is the one that I would like to bring with me in my following career because I would like to have ability to communicate effectively and persuasively.
In order to answer the question what type of leader that you want to be in the future, I would like to be a rhetoric leader like Martin Luther King, Jr. I would like to have talent in speaking and have the ability to communicate to others. No matter what direct or indirect leader, if I know how to communicate to followers, there is no problem what type of leader I can be. In the word of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”