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To deal with all these conflicts, and to become a good leader, George Washington had to implement good communication. Communication is one of the most important concepts of leadership, and is an essential component to any success. Often when we communicate, at least some of the meaning is lost in the transmission of a message from the sender to the receiver. This commonly occurs in cross culture situations where languages are an issue. Effective communication is an integral part of leadership; effective leaders are also effective communicators. To become an effective communicator, Washington used excellent communication styles in his speeches and writing. He informed his people what his goals and strategies were, and he communicated with them at their level. His speeches were short and to the point, he didn’t feel there was need for any extra fluff in a speech.
In 1782, when the Congress failed to fulfill a promise concerning the officer’s pay, some of the officers from the army threatened to go to Philadelphia and use force to obtain satisfaction. Washington “persuaded the officers to respect Congress and pledged to seek a peaceful settlement” by communicating with them peacefully. He listened to their problems, he analyzed the situation and promised them that he would settle this and they would get their pay. Congress responded to Washington’s appeal and granted the officers five years of full pay. Because of his outstanding communication style, George Washington is known as one of the best presidents in America. He showed a way of making our country magnificent by giving others friendship and bringing peace throughout the land.
Charisma is a Greek word that means “divine favor” or “gift.” It has been called “a fire that ignites follower’s energy and commitment producing results above and beyond the call of duty.” A Charismatic person can single handedly visualize a mission or a course of action that is not only appealing to potential followers, but compels them to act because of the faith and trust they have in the leader. A Charismatic person is often seen as having almost “supernatural” abilities in the way that people are drawn to them.
Washington certainly had a charismatic charm to him. Ever since the days of convincing Dinwiddie that he could be trusted on important missions despite his age, Washington had the innate ability to get people to follow, listen, and respect him. Washington was always improving himself and his presence. He knew he could not allow the authority he had to tempt him into becoming a ruler or a king. He had values and knew others would help him accomplish his goals. An example of his charisma happened during a battle in New Jersey. His men were all about to leave to go back to their homes and farms, but when they saw him and felt his presence, they stopped and listened. They were willing to fight for him, even though they may have felt that all was lost and they would be better off protecting their own homes. They stayed in New Jersey and they were able to take Monmouth, New Jersey from the English.
George Washington possessed many, if not all of the character traits that a good leader should have. He was a very influential man, setting the standard for the Presidential office. From a young man working as a surveyor in Virginia, to serving 14 years in the House of Burgess, to becoming Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and eventually becoming the First President of the New Government, Washington never stopped working hard for himself or for the people he was in charge of.
In addition to being a great leader, George Washington was also an entrepreneur and a visionary. After working as a surveyor for a few years he saved enough money to buy up 1,500 acres, it is unknown if this land was part of Mount Vernon. He also started his own surveying business. This established his reputation for thoroughness and honesty. When Washington inherited Mount Vernon in 1752 from his brother who died of tuberculosis, it was a wheat producing plantation, but Washington transformed it into a whiskey distillery. It was the largest whiskey distiller at the time.
As a leader and figurehead, he had a sense of dignity, and honesty. As a young boy he copied the “Rules of Civility” by Hawkins, and he lived his life by those rules. As a leader he expected honesty at the command level in the army, in the Federal Government, and in all persons. He believed that if a person was to be dishonest, or tell even the smallest lie, he could not be trusted. He was also very sensitive of what the people thought of him. Washington thought that the ultimate power rested with the people and he understood that if the nation was to be accepted in the world; it would depend on creating a positive and honorable image. Washington, during his Presidency, made a point to visit every state to “show the face of the New Government”. He would travel by coach to all the towns, but once outside the limits of the town he would mount his horse and ride the rest of the way in, because that is the image the people saw of him.
Continue to Part 4.
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