George Washington: An Effective and Intelligent Leader

The service and combat activity of military people requires a complex of certain qualities. They, forming the professional structure of their personality, are, at the same time, the basis of leadership in a team. The most important of them include high intelligence, determination, psychoanalysis and reflection, stress resistance, and emotional balance. This list also includes the ability to manage oneself, empathy, organizational insight, exactingness, professionalism, communication skills, and other qualities. All of them allow leaders not to lose their composure in stressful situations and be worthy managers of the military collective. It should be noted that leadership is formed and developed during the work process. This makes it possible to build the readiness of soldiers for leadership activities. The result of this process is the development of the psychological organization of the personality. It manifests itself in the personal organizational and communicative readiness for external control of subordinates’ communication and activities.

During hostilities, people especially need a worthy leader. A prime example of such events is the Battle of Valley Forge in the 18th century. This part of the Continental Army functioned under the leadership of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. The soldiers’ situation was difficult, and the military events lasted long enough (“Overview of history,” 2019). People were tired and demoralized, which reduced their ability to continue the war and make full physical and psychological efforts. Consequently, the usual methods of maintaining their morale were not enough. They needed a real quality leader who would help them change their attitude to the situation and believe in themselves. Fortunately, George Washington was such a person and was able to manage the actions of the army correctly.

On the one hand, at that moment, the participants in the hostilities felt the approach of the denouement. They planned to defeat the British forces soon and finally become victors. On the other hand, these events took place almost in the middle of the war, after three years of its beginning. In addition, it was winter, so the soldiers were cold, and there was not enough food. Thus, they had to spend all their strength not on a vigorous struggle with an opponent but also on maintaining their strength.

Thus, the military people faced a variety of problems that contributed to demoralization. It is worth noting, for example, that there was not enough food and water. The number of people in the winter camp was quite large, so it was not easy to provide for each of them for a long time. Another problem was the lack of clothing: the armed forces were not ready for the low temperatures, but there was no way to get outside help. Hence, people had to invent different ways to keep warm, so as not to die of the cold. Undoubtedly, these factors became vital concerning the fighting spirit of the soldiers, who were finding it harder to survive every day.

Another problem was the weather and the associated search for adequate shelter. As mentioned earlier, the action took place in winter, so people began to freeze. They needed to create places where they could warm up and save the strength they needed to fight. They built shelters and tried to wait out the harsh weather conditions there. As difficult as it was, it probably also contributed to the moralization and rapprochement of people. They were in close contact, cooperating, and helping others. Thanks to this, they learned to understand each other better, empathize, and support.

However, without a competent leader, it would not have been possible to survive this winter and the Battle of Valley Forge. In this situation, the soldiers were fortunate to be under the leadership of George Washington. One of his most important strategic decisions was to invite a Prussian officer to the military camp. The purpose of the invitation was to restore the fighting spirit to the soldiers and their moralization. This decision was successful since a new person, in any case, could contribute to a renewal of the situation and a shift in the focus of the soldiers’ attention. They began to think about their problems and tasks and what this officer would bring to their daily lives. In addition, the outside professional must-have skills and qualities are not familiar to American soldiers (“Washington at Valley Forge”). Consequently, he had the opportunity to significantly influence the military and make their psychological state calmer and more confident. Indeed, finding an outstanding specialist in those conditions was a difficult task. However, judging by the result, Washington managed to bring in the right person to help his army.

The most important action that the Prussian officer carried out was training the soldiers in a close order drill. This requires a lot of concentration and work on oneself. Thus, the military people were able to distract from problems and concentrate on self-improvement. In addition, the close order drill implies a high level of physical contact and interpersonal interaction. Hence, the soldiers were able to get closer to each other and work on something together. Therefore, the Prussian officer was able to restore the soldiers’ confidence in their strengths and readiness for further struggle (“Friedrich von Steuben,” 2009). They learned to understand each other better, becoming a more harmonious mechanism.

Close order drill does not lose its relevance over time, is often used in the 21st century. Even now, this is an excellent opportunity to build a cohesive and motivated military team. Thanks to this, people work out their actions, learning accuracy and discipline. This is necessary for any military action; therefore, it is also relevant for a modern army. In addition, by practicing close order drills, soldiers learn to understand and listen to the leader better. This is how they become one well-coordinated system that can be easily controlled and directed in the right way. This helps to make the army high-quality and productive, ready to defend the country.

Any team must have an effective and intelligent leader. This person should contribute to the development of subordinates and do everything to keep them calm and ready for action. George Washington is one of the clearest historical examples of such a leader. He could take measures in time to restore the fighting spirit of the soldiers to achieve a common goal. By inviting outside specialists to train soldiers, he showed that he only wanted the best and needed them to receive quality training. This kind of leadership is what any team needs to achieve great results. In particular, this is important for the military, since their well-coordinated functioning is essential for the nation. Consequently, this historical experience can be useful for the development and stability of the modern army.


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