|Categories:||Leadership analysis American Civil War Abraham Lincoln American history|
The Battle of Shiloh took place in 1862. Ulysses Grant was the union commander of the fight who led the army of Tennessee. The army had faced challenges during the fight when Confederate commanders planned a surprise attack on Grants army which caused fierce fighting at first. There was reinforcement by Grant, Buell and General Don Carlos that took place overnight which defeated the Confederate Army forcing it back to Mississippi the next day. Grant was supported by President Lincoln however he faced a lot of criticism from the Congress members and he was even demoted at some point. He was later reinstated when there was a war department investigation. The whole battle illustrated various leadership traits of Grant that can be used as lessons in senior level leadership. Grants roles in the Battle of Shiloh helped him to adapt quickly to challenges, was able to empower and control his subordinates, had good communication skills and managed to make sound decisions even with unclear information.Leaders should be able to adapt quickly to challenging issues and make decisions that will change and condition an organization to respond to the issue with swiftness. Grant was not prepared about the attack by the Confederate commanders. He was actually surprised by the plan they had on his armies. His team managed to adapt quickly to the attack they had and became prepared to face the Confederates the following day without any worry. He made a quick decision and reinforced his army with the assistance of Buell and general Don Carlos which enabled his army defeat the attackers and send them away by the following day.
A senior leader needs to monitor the organizations ability and sustenance of its climate and desired culture of performance. Every leader has to ensure that the employees have the capability to perform given tasks and as a result make the organization have a competitive advantage over others. The leader also needs to ensure the image the employees portray in their work reflect how the organization is. For instance, Grant understood that he had to lead his army and reinforce it to win the next days battle. He had monitored his team and realized that if they fought alone they would not manage to defeat the Confederates but with reinforcement, they won.
A senior leader has the mandate to effectively delegate and empower his or her subordinates. Employees need to have a person they look up to and one who controls their duties. It brings harmony in the work to be done and in the end the output is higher than when a leader is reluctant to empower the subordinates. In the battle of Shiloh, Grant had delegated various duties to various people within his army. Some were to direct others while others were the fighters. Delegation of duties ensured that the planned attack on the Confederate Army was implemented properly because every person did his or her duty. It would be fair to empower employees or ones juniors because they feel their roles are important in the organization and their input is appreciated which is a motivator in their performance.
Leaders need to support the command of decision making through the use of effective communication and astuteness. Employees react to the information the higher authorities pass on to them. The information has its repercussions depending on the line of thought of the leader hence it would be important to critically come up with favorable decisions depending on the situation. Grant was cautious with his decisions and ensured he communicated them to all his army members before embarking on any plan. He was able to plan the attack on the Confederates by ensuring he decisively involved his team members and communicated his well-laid out plan before starting the battle which was one of the factors that made the battle to succeed.
It is important for every leader to create and maintain strong mission awareness and focus of alignment with various parts of an organization. An organization has its mission that aligns with the functions of the organization. For an organization to be successful, it needs to adhere to the goals it has set to attain its mission. It is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that the employees in the various departments work towards the organizations mission in order to succeed. Grants army had a mission to force the Confederates out of Tennessee to Mississippi. It was the teams mission and Grant as a leader needed to monitor the army to maintain its mission and keep reminding them that they had to win the battle.
Any senior leader has the role of making sound decisions with unclear and incomplete information. It is clear that Grant did not have any information about the first attack and it was a surprise. He however had to make a reasonable decision on how to defeat the attackers and guide the army into the steps they would take. An organization can face sudden challenges and a senior leader should be keen and be prepared to lead the others in saving the organization before it faces any collapse or losses.
In conclusion, Grants leadership in the battle of Shiloh is a good case study for senior leaders in an organization. They learn on being prepared during unplanned situations, communicating effectively, monitoring an organizations capability and adapting quickly to changes. It is a leaders role to ensure he or she leads people and ensure that he or she meet the organizations goal just as Grant managed to lead his army and successfully fought the Confederates.
Laver, Harry S. A General Who Will Fight: The Leadership of Ulysses S. Grant. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2013. <http://site.ebrary.com/id/10632227>.
Miller, Randall M. Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political, and Religious Decision Making. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012.
Wilson, Richard L. American Political Leaders. New York: Facts on File, 2002. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=229446>.
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