Leadership- Reagan Essay

Submitted By kbwell15
Words: 1560
Pages: 7

Introduction and Description Throughout Ronald Reagan’s life he was a lifeguard, a radio announcer, an actor, a spokesman, a governor, and President of the United States. Many people claim to know the type of man he was, but in truth very few people knew the person he was off screen and even those close to him remained puzzled by him. Reagan has been referred to as an incomprehensible figure, enigmatic, impenetrable and described, even by those close to him, as having a wall around him. Critics of Reagan, and there are many, say that he wasn’t an intellectual and any successes he may have accomplished during his term can be attributed to “incredible luck” (D’Souza, 1997). Everyone else loved him; the American people saw him as a regular guy and one they could relate to. In reading the book Ronald Regan How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader, I have come to think of President Reagan as a closed off but intelligent man. A man that held on to his beliefs and convictions, chose his battles wisely and maybe most important a man who didn’t believe he owed anyone an explanation for his choices and decisions. Ronald Regan held many positions of leadership throughout his years, but the focus of this paper is on his years as President of the United States.

Leadership Theory/Styles and President Reagan I would like to write about two leadership theories and talk about weather President Reagan fit into these theories or styles. The first theory I’ll go into is Charismatic Leadership. Our text book defines this theory by four key characteristic traits, the first is that the leader has vision and articulation, the second is that they are willing to take personal risk, the third is sensitivity to follower needs, and the fourth is that they display unconventional behavior. The qualities the makeup charismatic leaders are qualities that they are both born with and qualities that they learn. The theory shows evidence of a four step process on how charismatic leaders influence their followers. The first step is ‘articulating an appealing vision’. This vision states a goal and aims at linking the present to a better future. The second step is a vision statement which is a formal articulation of the goal. The leader in this step sets high standards and bolsters high self-esteem by encouraging the followers that they can obtain the goal. In the third step the leader sets new values as well as setting an example for their followers which is done through words and actions. The final step is where the leader may display unconditional behavior to express conviction and courage about the goal in order to get an emotional response from their followers. The downside to charismatic leaders is that these leaders don’t always have the best interest of their followers at heart and if they don’t have a goal that benefits all the result could be disastrous. I believe that President Ronald Reagan was a charismatic leader. Forget for a moment the characteristic traits and the four step process and let focus on his speaking abilities. President Reagan knew how to address a crowd and he knew how to captivate his audience. According to D’Souza (1997) Reagan ‘was a perfectionist who constantly reworked his material and rehearsed his speeches until his delivery and timing were perfect’. He learned to read his audience and took every opportunity he could to study them before he spoke. President Reagan also earned the title of Great Communicator. These skills made the American people feel that he wasn’t just reading some prepared speech, but that he cared for them and even made them feel like they knew him. Now returning back to the characteristic traits that define charismatic leaders; President Reagan definitely had a vision of what he wanted to accomplish in the White House and what he wanted to change about government. He formally articulated it to the people in speeches and Presidential addresses. As for being