Naval Academy: A Leadership Analysis

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The United States Naval Academy touts itself as being one of the nation’s premier “leadership laboratories”. The most basic, fundamental purpose of the Naval Academy, explicitly stated in the mission statement, is “to graduate leaders” to serve our nation. From a public relations and recruitment point-of-view, this statement carries a considerable amount of value; it is precisely this ardent dedication to building leaders of character that separates us from other fine institutions of higher education, such as Harvard and MIT. Unfortunately, I feel that an overemphasis on the Naval Academy’s ability to produce leaders has the potential to bring about complacency and a lack of initiative within the Brigade of Midshipmen. After all, there is…show more content…
With respect to confidence, I usually feel very comfortable when speaking to subordinates and peers alike. This semester, I have had an opportunity to take charge of three Plebes, three Youngsters, and three other Second-Class Midshipmen as a squad leader within my company. Whether conducting individual counseling sessions or speaking to the group as a whole, I speak with an energetic voice and maintain eye contact. Demonstrating self-discipline has allowed me to become a leader-by-example within my company. I constantly strive to keep my uniform clean and to honor all of my commitments. However, I believe that the dark sides of these positive traits are my biggest weaknesses: lack of empathy and image-consciousness. I often have trouble empathizing with others situations did not turn out the way that they had hoped. For example, when one of my Plebes fails a Professional Knowledge quiz, my first reaction is to criticize them for displaying a lack of effort and not studying. In doing so, I am unable to find the root of their problems; perhaps they are struggling in an academic class, having emotional difficulties, or do not even know how to study properly. My other leadership weakness, image-consciousness, comes about when I fail to do what is right because I am worried that others will dislike me for it.…show more content…
In other words, I want to see my subordinates consistently put forth their best effort and receive measurable recognition for doing so. If I can create difficult goals for my subordinates and they can accomplish them, I believe that they will reap the greatest amount of internal satisfaction as well as external benefits through awards and promotions. In effect, this approach makes use of the two-factor theory motivators, which is a key to increasing followers’ satisfaction at work, according to Herzberg. My approach also exploits the benefits of the Pygmalion effect; that is, setting high expectations for my followers should lead to higher-performing individuals and teams. In order to successfully execute as an achievement-oriented leader, drawing on my expert and reward bases of power will be most beneficial. The expert base of power is essential in order to maintain credibility among my followers that I am a competent leader, while the reward base of power is necessary to recognize their achievements. Even though my primary goal is to motivate my followers to perform, I want to minimize my use of legitimizing or pressure tactics, as I feel they can bring about division and cynicism within a command. I hope to be perceived as a leader who is demanding, yet

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