Academic journal article Military Review

The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow

Academic journal article Military Review

The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow

Article excerpt

THE 21 INDISPENSABLE QUALITIES OF A LEADER: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow, John C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 2000, 156 pages, $14.99.

This short book is one military professionals would do well to read, but only if the reader is willing to conduct the honest introspection essential to the personal application of the qualities listed. Otherwise, the book will be a waste of time because the qualities are presented in only an abbreviated, cursory manner; there is no depth to the definitions of the qualities and only minimum discussion of their application.

The book begins with a discussion of the characteristics of character. Regrettably, definition is sorely lacking. John C. Maxwell uses the words integrity and truth once each, but otherwise he assumes everyone knows what character means. The term has different definitions, and only an accepted definition based on foundational principles can convey Maxwell's meaning.

Maxwell asserts that commitment, charisma, and communication are essential to good leadership, but he fails to acknowledge that these qualities also have inherently negative components. German dictator Adolf Hitler was charismatic and committed, but his actions caused the deaths of millions. Leaders can communicate by extolling and motivating positively those under them, or they can communicate by demanding results through intimidation and fear. …

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