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Likewise, there is evidence to suggest that Patton's disconnect with his organizational leaders was the very thing that ultimately led to him being relegated to a mostly administrative capacity, effectively putting him out to pasture as far as authority and responsibility are concerned.
Did I Ever Question the Motives of Patton
Frankly, the motives of Patton are something that I questioned, but upon fully considering the situation, I reached the conclusion that Patton's motives are worthy of questioning, but ultimately, are not completely questionable. Agreed, Patton did tend to be extreme in his methods and thinking from an organizational management perspective, but in fairness, his motives were far from being totally self-centered. Given the fact that Patton was an egomaniac to put it mildly, his ultimate motive, at least in his military career, aside from the obvious self advancement angle, was quite literally to save the world from tyranny, and as such, his motives were far from undesirable as a whole.
Did I Ever Ignore Certain Kinds of Information in a Systematic Fashion?
To say that I never ignored certain kinds of information in a systematic fashion would be highly inaccurate; what would be accurate would be to say that there are certain kinds of information that I ignore in a systematic fashion with alarming regularity. For instance, information that comes from someone who delivers it in an aggressive or threatening fashion is ignored by me universally, which in fact drives to the heart of this paper; from an organizational standpoint, the very kinds of information that I tend to ignore are in fact the kinds of information for which Patton was notorious. Needless to say, under his command, I would not have fared very well.
Was I Ever Critical of What Patton Did?
From a personal standpoint, I was critical of what Patton did in terms of his heavy handed treatment of subordinates, his tendency to be somewhat of a bully, and his organizational management style, which could best be described as leadership by intimidation. While no one can fully comprehend the responsibilities and challenges that Patton faced in his leadership role, there are others who have been in similar situation and led with a more palatable leadership style.
What I Would Have Done Differently?
Given my criticism of Patton's approach to dealing with others, I believe that I would have made the same decisions that Patton did, but I would have done so in a more diplomatic leadership style. To be more specific, I believe I would have delegated tasks to subordinates more frequently, thereby empowering them to make more decisions independently, thereby freeing up a lot of my time to be more productive and use my talents in more areas for increased effectiveness and impact. While it may be wishful thinking, it is likely to be the case that if Patton himself had followed what I envision as my organizational management strategy if I were in his position, it is entirely possible that he would have avoided many of the pitfalls that he faced in his military career, and may have advanced even farther than he did. In retrospect, it appears that his leadership skills and approach certainly helped him in many instances, but likewise they may have hurt him more than necessary as well.
Risking the use of cliche, George Patton was, and remains an enigma, defying conventional definition and of course still being examined and evaluated to this day, some six decades after his death. Organizationally speaking, his leadership skills, while unquestionably effective, were also abrasive, often offensive, and did hold back others who were subordinate to him. Whether through ego or false impressions that no one else was as talented as he, Patton was guilty of not utilizing the talented and highly trained people around him in a more effective fashion. In closing, Patton's example should serve as a dual lesson of what a leader can be and what they should not; hence, the enigmatic nature of his existence and organizational management style.
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Ryan, L. (2004). Leadership -- the Army Way. Business Week online. Retrieved December 5, 2006 from the World Wide Web: http://www.businessweek.com/careers/content/mar2006/ca20060314_273725.htm?chan=search
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