Research Paper: Kennedy's Leadership Style

Pages: 5 (1424 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] As previously discussed, Kennedy made some important mistakes during his presidency, including the Bay of Pigs. However, he was able to accept mistakes and to make sure that he took the necessary measures so that these mistakes would not occur again in the future. Accepting mistakes and being able to change are usually more important and have greater impact than the mistakes themselves.

Another important mark of effective leadership that Kennedy employed was charm. This notion should be understood in a greater context, namely as a wide array of instruments that a leader can use in order to support and implement his decisions. Some leaders are bullies, in a way that the decisions they make are simply enforced through sheer force to the people who are subordinated. Kennedy was in no way a bully. Instead, he was a charmer. He charmed his way to have the decisions implemented in a proper manner. He worked with his staff almost in a way that eliminated the relationship of subordination that existed between them and the president. He would thus be able to obtain a degree of loyalty that would prove very useful for any leader.

One should also note that Kennedy was an effective leader in deciding whether to micromanage or not. Sabato (2013) points out that Kennedy would micromanage during crisis such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. This can certainly be nuanced: certainly, these were the perfect conditions to micromanage, since the final decision could literally terminate the planet, but, as previously discussed, this did not necessarily mean that he did not allow the advisers the freedom to propose ideas, to discuss scenarios and outcomes. The fact that he was able to successfully combine these two approaches shows leadership capabilities.

When judging Kennedy's presidency and the effectiveness of his leadership style, it needs to be done in the context of the times. The 1960s are, perhaps, the peak of the Cold Warm, when the threat of the nuclear war between the U.S. And the Soviet Union remains very real, despite the death of Stalin in 1953 and an apparent detente from the Soviet side. This is clear during the Berlin Crisis and during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

As an effective leader of the U.S. side, Kennedy likely had two main objectives that would guide his actions and judging the effectiveness of his presidency should be done against these objectives. One was to avoid a mutually destructive nuclear war with the Soviet Union and the second was to do so in a way that would not affect American leadership in the world.

On both of these levels, Kennedy performed consistently and his effective leadership ensured that this was possible. He avoided the nuclear war by mixing a diplomatic with a harsh, military approach, showing the Soviets that his government was opened to discussion and negotiations on all issues, but that there were some clear red lines that the Soviets should not go over.

In order to maintain or to substantiate American superiority, he proposed visionary undertakings, such as placing a man on the Moon, something that would cool perceptions that the U.S. was losing its leadership and that the Soviets were taking over. Just as importantly, he created a solid basis in the U.S. By working with the civil rights movement in order to ensure that the rights of African-American citizen were adequately protected. The resulting legislation that President Johnson promoted was actually based on the visions and leadership that Kennedy had.

President Kennedy did not only produce the expected outcomes, but he also had the leadership skills that allowed him to be successful. This included a balanced approach to micromanaging, recruiting the right people and placing them in the appropriate positions and blending diplomacy with other instruments in order to combat the Soviets. As previously shown, his leadership needs to be placed against the background of very challenging times, when he succeeded to follow and defend his objectives despite the hardships.

Bibliography

1. Barnes, John A. (2005). John F. Kennedy on Leadership: The Lessons and Legacy of a President. AMACOM

2. Hald-Mortensen, Christian, (2007). John F. Kennedy -- Leadership Qualities That Moved A Nation. Graduate Faculty of Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

3. Sabato, Larry, (2013). Lead like John F.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Kennedy's Leadership Style.  (2014, March 27).  Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/kennedy-leadership-style/7830756

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"Kennedy's Leadership Style."  27 March 2014.  Web.  19 March 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/kennedy-leadership-style/7830756>.

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"Kennedy's Leadership Style."  Essaytown.com.  March 27, 2014.  Accessed March 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/kennedy-leadership-style/7830756.