Adolf Hitler is considered to be one of the most prominent although infamous leaders in history. His leadership style allowed him to influence an entire country into committing the most horrendous acts of genocide in human history. However, Hitler was still able to influence the German people enough to follow him despite his corrupt morality. Hitler’s ability to make his vision someone else’s vision is considered to be a pseudo-transformational leadership style and like many other leadership styles can be dangerous when wielded by someone with an unethical and immoral stance.
Whither in history, everyday life or in the US Air Force there are many leadership styles that will be encountered and can be utilized across a various range of missions on diverse groups of people. Often when a leadership style is used correctly it results in a positive outcome regardless of meeting the intended objective. However, when leadership styles are used incorrectly either because of the situation or the team that is involved that results in the group failing to meet their objective. The Full Range Leadership Model (FRLM) outlines the large variety of leadership styles that are present and can be utilized dependent on the diverse team and objective that needs to be accomplished.
The main types are Transactional vs Transformational. Transactional leadership styles are commonly defined as the exchange of following the leader and being contingent rewarded as positive reinforcement or disobeying the leader which is punished as a negative reinforcement through Management by Exception model. Transformational leadership models are categorized into four types Intellectual Stimulating, Individualized Consideration, Inspirational Motivation and Idealized Influence, each of which can achieve a level of trust, respect and or admiration from their followers.
The former prime minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill is considered to be one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He would eventually rise to lead a nation through its darkest hour and prevail against the Nazi Germany war machine that was surmounting the largest Army, Navy, and Air Force in the world to overthrow all of Western Europe during the Second World War. However, what is not commonly known is Churchill did not begin as a reputable leader and was described as an untrustworthy and immature military leader in his earlier years during the First World War. His military records and often-called blunders, such as the Gallipoli campaign considered a failure that lost several thousand British forces in an unadvised counter attack. Eventually Churchill’s reputation in parliament by the turn of the Second World War was considered to be unreliable for decision-making and he was therefore an unpopular choice for prime minister by parliament and King George VI. British Parliament wanted to begin negotiating peace talks with Adolf Hitler in hopes that he would be merciful to spare their troops at Dunkirk and their nations independence.
By late May of 1940 the seemingly inevitable threat for the invasion of Great Britain was imminent with the entire British army encircled at Dunkirk by the Nazi army and the looming threat of Luftwaffe strafing the beaches and any landing craft left little hope for an evacuation attempt. Nevertheless, Churchill did not allow this to weaken his resolve, which only strengthened his aspiration and willing to fight. Churchill’s vision was clear that the United Kingdom would not surrender to Nazi Germany and he inspired his people through his speeches, which motivated their spirits so that they could accomplish something they did not they believe they could do. He lit the flame in the nation to find the strength within themselves that could only be ignited by his inspirational motivational leadership. The nation responded to his words of courage and over 850 civilian vessels sailed to Dunkirk and rescued over 300,000 British troops as well as French troops in what is now known as Operation Dynamo. Even with impossible odds, Churchill rallied his people to overcome their fear of Nazi Germany and brought their soldiers home. His actions are a clear characterization of the Inspirational Motivation leadership style. His famous “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech continued to inspire the nation while also inspiring parliament and King George VI into following him into five more years of war against the Nazi regime until the Allies victory was declared on 8 May 1945.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” –Winston Churchill
Leadership is often having a clear vision that you believe in and you can make others believe in your vision as well. Idealized Influence leadership can influence followers by being a positive role model with a strong moral compass that should be emulated. Churchill knew that he could not gain followers to believe in his vision by an Idealized Influence leadership style because his reputation to parliament and King George VI were in poor standing. He was not trusted, unreliable, had little humility and was not regarded as a role model. Idealized Influence leadership model require the leader to be considered a role model who is trustworthy, honest, accountable and humble. The traits of this leadership style are firmly ingrained within the US Air Force core values. These are key leadership traits and personal characteristics that are necessary to provoke an Idealized Influence in followers, which Winston Churchill did not possess. Churchill deliberately worked threw countless nights for hours on end to perfect his motivational speeches because he knew that his strength lied with in the words he delivered, which would drive the inspiration of the nation to follow him. If Churchill had used a more Idealized Influence approach to gain the admiration of the UK, parliament, the British War committee and King George VI, then his reputation would not have influenced the support of very many followers and history would be very different. Peace talks between Britain, the allies, Italy and Nazi Germany
would have taken place and this could have lead to the surrender of Western Europe and its complete control by the Nazi regime.