Army commanders exemplify effective leadership. During a battle, they must make decisions that affect both their own lives and the lives of their soldiers. As a result, they must be outstanding team players who are focused on achieving team goals. Lt. Col. Moore is an example of a remonstrant leader in this film, justice, and dedication. He led his troops by example during the battle. He put into motion the things he wanted his powers to do. He was the first to take to the field of war. He also assured his soldiers that he would look after them. By promising to treat every member as an equal partner, he built a family among them, forging a bond that would prove helpful. He was willing to put all he got into the war so long as he won. As a supervisor, he was under intense pressure to make quick decisions regarding attack techniques. Although he may have acted irrationally, the results justify his means.
Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore
He demonstrates excellent leadership skills as the commander of the 7th Cavalry Regiment. His strength as a leader is apparent when he commanded this unit despite its initial predicament when it was entirely wiped out during the reign of General George A. Custer. The general and his men were all killed during the Battle of the Little Bighorn. However, Lieutenant Moore is relentless in making his unit a success during the Vietnam War. More interesting is the fact that his troops have never been involved in any war. The commanders faith in his team is evidence of a significant supervisor/leader; he is a natural leader (Wallace, 2002).
Leadership by Example
Colonel Moore demonstrates this useful technique even before going to battle. As a leader, he acts in a way that his troops have to emulate (Benjamin, 2011). He leads by doing what he tells his troops, so that they respect him more and build loyalty. In the party he hosted for the soldiers before leaving for the battlefield, he led by example through declaring that he would be the first of the soldiers to start the fight. Thus, he promised to reduce the loss of life by putting his troop’s welfare first. By fighting relentlessly alongside his battalion, the commander led by example. The lesson to his soldiers was never to give up no matter what. He also fulfilled his end of the bargain after the war by ensuring that all his soldiers were well maintained. Even when things got thick in the fight, he did not give up and ultimately led his troops to victory. In effect, he earned their respect and admiration. Furthermore, he acted as a motivational leader of his forces through his worthy example. Soldiers would be ready to give their all when they knew their leader would do the same for them. The effect of confidence and loyalty is insurmountable in war. Arguably, this technique is likely to have contributed in large to the victorious ending of the war.
Respect for all
Lieutenant Moore treated all his soldiers with respect as evident in his final address during the pre-war party. He considered every member of the battalion as an essential part no matter their origin or race. The speech is a vital initiative since it quelled the fears of discrimination among his troops. By promising equality and equity, he inculcated in his forces the spirit of oneness. The war and the battalion served to bring unity. After all, who would want to discriminate a fellow soldier who has gone through hell in the battlefield? Additionally, by preaching equality among his troops, the commander ensured that they all got each other’s backs on the battlefield. There is no better way to motivate a soldier; promise them of unity and dependability (Benjamin, 2011). The mere promise of equality devoid of discrimination is evidenced enough by Col. Moore’s respect and love for his troops. Equality results in the sense of family among soldiers. Tellingly, the family is the strongest bond one could have, and it is through this technique that the battalion won the war.
Lt. Col. Moore was fully committed to winning the war. By personally leading his troops into the mountains to face the enemy, he is depicted as focused on the goal of ultimate victory albeit in a crazy way. To him, all that mattered was quashing the Vietnamese army. The high risks he took were actions of a man hell-bent on winning the war. He ignored warnings against entering the mountains where they could have got lost and went ahead to fight the enemy. Although this could have turned disastrous for him, the Lt. Col. Moore won the war with the help of reinforcements from the second Battalion, 7th Cavalry. The move to attack in the mountains could be viewed as rash and inconsiderate, but it is also characteristic of a leader committed to success and willing to sacrifice everything it took to win. He could have at least considered the large numbers of enemy troops. The risks were just too high.
From the movie, it is clear that not all the three supervisory methods were effective. Leadership by example and equality of all soldiers were highly successful. Through leading by example Lt. Col. Moore motivated his troops and made them aware of the fact that he would do anything for them. He led by being the first one to step on the battleground as promised. That is what a competent leader would do. Through putting himself in danger first, his soldiers saw firsthand how sacrificial their commander was. They became ready to endanger themselves by fighting along their leader as they could trust him to care for them.
Lt. Col. Moores promise of equality instilled in the soldiers the essence of togetherness. Thus, the soldiers fought knowing they had their colleagues support. Fighting as a team is effective in achieving a win no matter the cost. These two techniques were highly effective as they built loyalty and love for each other, both key ingredients in army success.
However, the third method was not efficient. Although the Lt. Col. Moore showed commitment, the decision to attack in the mountains was poorly made. Failure to consider the likelihood of getting lost in the mountains and being overpowered by a large number of the enemy, troops were perhaps fools hardy of him. Arguably, only luck saved them; were it not for the reinforcements, they could have been conquered just like their predecessors. He lost many good soldiers and ignored a life principle of living to fight another day. He let his soldiers down by putting them in harms way.
In the scene where Lt. Col. Moore was warned about the high number of enemy troops and the negative consequences of getting lost in the mountain; if it were me, I would have retreated and waited for reinforcement before attacking. Through this, I would have saved many soldiers lives. Rather than acting irrationally like the commander, I would have considered our chances of winning before acting. The quality of leadership is attacking only when you have the most advantage of winning.
A high-stress environment affects decision making (Londoño, Jarvis, Lopoukhine, & Mapesa, 2015). Here, the leader must make quick decisions in a moments thought; because of life and safety dependents on these decisions. The results of such decisions are likely to be highly confident, eliciting quick reactions and adrenaline effect. People act fast in response to the conclusions. However, the decisions may have the negative consequence of a slight oversight of the supervisor. In contrast, low-stress environments seldom have adverse effects because supervisors have adequate time to consider every angle of a challenge. However, the rate of reaction is also given at the relaxed moments.
I relate to the technique of leading by example. As a captain in school, I drove in the campaign against bullying. Through various platforms, I urged fellow senior students against bullying the young ones. As an example, I did not intimidate others. As a result, other students emulated me and bullying was reduced. In this position, I demonstrated significant influence over my peers who respected me; I am proud of this ability.
Most supervisors fail in their duties by using textbooks because the contexts in the books are representative of the perfect world where things are constant, and a supervisor’s responsibilities are simple. The situations in the real world are so different from classroom world. Textbooks do not offer a guideline on how to deal with every situation. Perhaps, if Lt. Col. Moore had applied textbook knowledge and not gone the extra mile of attacking, despite the poor circumstances, the war would have been lost.
Benjamin, S. (2011). Simple Leadership Techniques: Rubrics, Checklists, and Structured Collaboration. The Phi Delta Kappan, 92. 8, 25-31.
Londoño, J. M., Jarvis, J., Lopoukhine, N., & Mapesa, M. W. (2015). LEADERSHIP AND EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT. In W. G, L. M, K. A, F. S, & P. I, Protected Area Governance and Management (pp. 353-380). ANU Press.
Wallace, R. (Director). (2002). We Were Soldiers [Motion Picture]. United State: Paramount