The 65th United States Secretary of State, United States Army (Ret.), Powell became the highest ranking African American government official in the history of the United States and the icon of Leadership capabilities. Born on April 5, 1937 Powell joined the ROTC…
The first challenge he faced was the investigation of the My Lai Massacre. Later, Powell's assessment was alledged to be a whitewash. But this is one of the many instances where Powell's image has been exploited to serve the irresponsible behaviours of the Administation. Powell mentioned in his autobiography that he is haunted by the nightmare of the Vietnam War (Powell, 1995). From 1987 to 1989, Powell was Ronald Reagan's last National Security Advisor while retaining his Army commission. In 1989, he joined Eisenhower and Alexander Haig. During that time he faced 28 political and military crises, like the invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and earned the nickname, "the reluctant warrior".
Militant about defending the "hardwon civil rights legislation of 1960's, General Colin Powell made famous the so-called Powell Doctrine, as part of the attitude to be considered while considering the 1990-1991 Gulf War. The Doctrine asserts that when a nation is engaging in war, all resources should be brought into action to affect an overwhelming force against the enemy. The questions that Powell Doctrine centers on are the issues of national security based on a clear and attainable objective fully analyzing the risks and costs, the full utilization of all non-violent policies, a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement, the consequences of American government action, support received from the American people on any particular action, and the presence of international support.
Leadership is the art of accomplishing more that the science of management says it possible. (Harari, 2002)
Leadership connotes an interrelationship of power - the power to give vision to others, and not just be a frontrunner. In the Leadership Character ModelSM developed by Robert Turknett and Carolyn Turknett in 2005 in their Decent People, Decent Company: How to Lead with Character in Work and in Life, they prescribe Accountibility, Responsibility and Integrity as some of the characters of a leader. Powell too, practiced people-based leadership that gave him an edge. A leader, as Powell believed and practiced himself, must challenge the status quo of all traditions. (Harari, 2002). Effective Leadership is a true test of character, and Colin Powell's life has been a testimony to this.
In the study of his 35 years of military experience, we find a galore of instances where Powell used the basic human emotions of trust and belief in order to get over tricky situations. Powell rarely proposed military intervention as the first solution to any dispute, and instead advocated compromise. In the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election, Powell served as the key foreign policy advisor to the Bush campaign. After September 11, this public icon played a crucial role in taking up a single-handed leadership to enhance America's relationship with international countries. In an interview by O'Rourke of the Atlantic Unbound, Powell says:
I'm considered the multilateralist-multilateralism means finding areas of compromise. Our nation also rests on a non-zero-sum concept. It was intended that Congress work by finding compromise, and from compromise you achieve consensus. Without compromise, you never get to ...
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