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Custom Leadership in The Good Shepherd Essay

Forester’s novel is an exciting book telling the story of a rather ordinary man being in the extraordinary situation. The lives of others depend on each of his decision and action. The book describes the events that were happening for a period of three days. From the first page, the novel fascinates from the synchronized movement of the convoy led by the single man bearing the enormous responsibility. The second Commander, George Krause, the captain of the destroyer Keeling, faces dozens of hard decisions to guard those that are being under his protection. His task is to escort the convoy of the supply ships piloted by civilian crews across the Atlantic Ocean eliminating all the threats on their ways. 

It is the captain’s courage and endurance which make the mission possible. Having twenty years of naval but the little combat experience, Krause is still doing his best to bring 37 allied ship convoys to safety through Nazi submarine wolf packs during the early stage of the World War II (Forester, 1955). Not every second person may be seen both in the moment of victory and defeat. Solving the eternal military problems Krause is absorbed in thoughts. The commander keeps the whole situation in mind constantly being under pressure of his responsibility. At the same time, the Captain of the destroyer appears to be the ordinary man with his insecurities and doubts, which he instantly overcomes for his duty to be done. Not being distinguished and outstanding, he still represents the best qualities each military man must possess: the discipline, focus, and loyalty. Otherwise, it would not be for him to be at the head of such special mission.

The General Omar Bradley once said that, “The greatest leader in the world could never win a campaign unless he understood the men he had to lead” (“DA Pamphlet”, 1986). As a true leader, the Captain Krause takes care of his people, secures them from being at their battle stations even when there is no need for that. From his experience, the Commander realizes that such condition cannot be maintained for long, since all the men eventually will grow fatigue and hungry, not being able to perform their jobs by the ship. Meanwhile, Krause is being really harsh to himself by sacrificing his own sleep and food in order to stay concentrated and command as efficiently as possible. The way others treat the person in charge can say a lot about his or her qualities not only as a leader but also as a human being. The Lieutenant Commander Cole shows his concern and care for the Captain reminding him to eat or take a rest and helping whenever he can. Shamir (2007) states that the leader’s behavior affects the behavior of his follower, and, therefore, he suggests that the leadership effectiveness is just as much a product of good followers as it is of good leaders.

A very important factor of maintaining“espirit de corps”on boardwas trying to establish warm relationships with those people that Krause had been interacting with. The Destroyer Commander is a shepherd of the convoy; for that reason, he has to make hard decisions relying on both his instincts and knowledge. Sometimes it may result into losses but thinking clearly and unemotionally is the key to concentration being his first priority. The main and significant goal is guarding the convoy to safety. Krause understands that his actions have set an example; therefore, he overcomes the hardships of tiredness and the physical pain and stands still and self-disciplined giving the lead. The reward is the satisfaction with the job well done.

It is hard to say whether anything could have been done in a different way. Not everyone is up to bear such an enormous responsibility when each decision is a matter of life and death. Losses are inevitable when it comes to dealing with a crisis situation in the war time. However, still there could have been more of deaths. Relying upon the crew might have facilitated the Commander’s duty but, on the other hand, depending upon others is not appropriate for the person holding the thread of life in his hands. All doubts have to be definitely brushed away. To consider somebody’s opinion does not mean to distrust your own intuition. It is easy to analyze the actions aside but as a wise proverb states that, “Judge not that ye be not judged”.

The Good Shepherd is a unique study of military leadership during the wartime. It gives the example of a true leader. However, in order for him to face the modern threats, he or she must be adaptive and creative. With the new problems arising on a constant basis it requires to find some innovative solutions and to develop effective strategies. Dean Williams (2005) highlights that the mode of operating that has led to the past success may not be the same in another situation. Therefore, leadership should be considered as the art as it requires the creativity and imagination rather than a singular set of well-honed practices. Although it should not be forgotten that only a conscious self-development may result into a real perfection. Successful leaders, operating at any level of responsibility, are not simply endowed with all these qualities from their birth including the great leadership ability (Laver & Matthews, 2008). Instead, this ability develops over the course of the individual’s life. In order to keep things under control the one being in charge must be self-assured, imperturbable and ready to take any necessary measures. Taylor, Rosenbach, & Rosenbach (2009) state that leadership is not hierarchical, top-down, or based on the positional power and authority. A true leader has to set the example, but at the same time must have an attentive ear to those following him. Dave Fielder (2011) considers that the amount of efforts required from each of the three factors, command, leadership, and management,  will vary depending on the problems encountered and the type of solution applied. Critical problems require the authority of the Commander (Grint, 2004). Such situations imply the necessity of finding the solution at once without spending time on discussions and result to be most common when it comes to the military leadership.

One of the most important lessons to be taught to young sailors in leadership is that they should never give up and doubt in their competence. There is no sense for being afraid to seem too cautious or rash to others. The only thing that matters is being self-disciplined and accurate. Also, a good leader should realize the burden of responsibility resting on his shoulders and keep in mind all factors of the enormous importance to familiarize beforehand with the conditions surrounding any possible emergency. Not only relying upon the lessons learned from the book but adding up-to-date researches allows to march with the times taking the advantage over it.

Custom Leadership in The Good Shepherd Essay

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