Power and Responsibilities Essay

Total Length: 1270 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 3

Page 1 of 4

Leadership -- Power and Responsibilities / Integrity

When it comes to the concept of "leadership" there are numerous definitions that can be applied. Every leader uses his or her own approach to leading, and while there are similar aspects to the behaviors of most leaders, how leaders approach their strengths is played out differently. In literature (like the blind man in Cathedral) and in real life (like the way Abraham Lincoln conducted himself in a political situation) leaders provide robust examples of how to get things done and how to influence the actions of others.

This paper uses the leadership styles and behaviors of several individuals to demonstrate their qualities (or, in the case of Jimmy Cross, lack of leadership qualities) as they lead -- and the paper points to the integrity the individuals showed in the process of their leadership.

Leadership and Integrity

Abraham Lincoln -- the subject today of a very highly rated film that is nominated for "Best Picture" at the Oscars -- was a great leader who clearly knew how to learn on the job. He also knew how to share the credit with others when things are going right and, as Business & Legal Resources editor Catherine Moreton -- who paraphrases material from author Kearns Goodwin (author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln) -- explains, Lincoln "…treated those he worked with well" (Moreton, 2008). Lincoln was very adept at keeping his cool; if he lost his temper, "…he would follow up with a kind gesture or letter to let the individual know he was not holding a grudge" (Moreton, p. 2). One of the strong aspects of integrity is that a leader in incorruptible when it came to his moral character. Lincoln cared more about bringing the country together after the Civil War than extolling his own accomplishments, and this is a good example of one who has power and integrity but is always aware that his responsibility is to the people, not to the powerful few.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Cross in Tim O'Brien's story The Things They Carried, did not show exemplary skills in leading his troops.
Author O'Brien paints a picture of Cross as a man who is insecure and who makes believe that there is a girl back home who loves him. Cross is obsessed with hoping that she loved him, hoping that she was still a virgin and this distracts Cross from the solemn duty he was sworn to provide -- leadership for his men in a very violent and unpredictable situation. Cross "knew she had boyfriends" and though Cross also believed "she was a virgin" O'Brien qualifies that by saying "he was almost sure" she was a virgin (p. 3). And at the end of the chapter first lieutenant Cross is crying at the bottom of his foxhole and not paying attention to the war. The result was tragic as one of his men died while Cross felt sorry for himself believing "…she belonged to another world, and because she was & #8230;a poet and a virgin and uninvolved" (17).

Not only was Cross a love-sick man living in a fantasy world of his own, he was a pathetic example of a leader in a military context. Still, while O'Brien creates a character (Cross) that is the near opposite of what a leader should be, there is some integrity in Cross because he appears to know he is flaky and living a lie. The letters from Martha were signed "love," but Cross "…understood that Love was only a way of signing and did not mean what he sometimes pretended it meant" (2).

Robert, the blind man in Raymond Carter's story Cathedral, shows integrity because when he is traveling across the country to visit his late wife's family, he is treated rudely by….....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?