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General George Mashall

In: Historical Events

Submitted By dcasey1955
Words 800
Pages 4
General George C. Marshall

I selected General George C. Marshall for my leadership and management paper. Born George Catlett Marshall, December 31, 1880 in Pennsylvania, he was both a military leader and a diplomat. Regarded as one of the principal architects of America’s defeat of both Germany and Japan during World War II; I will define the ways in which he was a leader and manager. The leadership roles he had and their similarities. The obstacles he had to overcome and whether or not he was effective.

How He Was a Leader and Manager

General Marshall was one of a rare breed of people who are successful in all they do. While we all know people who are successful in one thing or another, seldom do we see someone who consistently are effective in such a broad range of jobs. If you look at General Marshall’s career, regardless of the challenge given him, his leadership and management was guided consistently by a set of never-changing principles. “His traits of honesty and candor gained the trust of millions of Americans and the respect of world leaders during his 50 years of selfless service” ("About George Marshall", 2009). He managed people, programs, and materials during both a time when the world was at war or during peace time. He strove to do the right thing in everything he did and quickly became a master of any situation. He earned the undying loyalty of those who either served him or served with him.

Leadership Role Similarities and Differences

He approached every leadership role with nine basic principles. They were integrity, taking action, selflessness, candor, preparation, learning/teaching, fairness, vision, and caring. Based on these principles while his leadership roles changed drastically from General of the Army, Secretary of both the Defense and State, and President of the Red Cross, he always followed the same nine principles. General Marshall was credited with developing the Marshall Plan and ensuring the right senior leaders were in place to lead the military during World War II. He was an important part of selecting Generals like Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, and Omar Bradley to lead troops in decisive battles. These same battles shaped the outcome of the war and ensured democracy was preserved. He did the same in every position he had. While each of his positions was different, the same basic leadership traits were practiced. There was one thing General Marshall always did; he focused on others. He knew “people” were the lifeline of any organization.

Leadership Obstacles Encountered

In his position as chief of staff, General Marshall urged military readiness prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Few people listened and later they regretted it. Ultimately he was responsible for building, supplying, and, in part, deploying over eight million soldiers. In 1941 he was a member of the policy committee that supervised the atomic studies engaged in by American and British scientists. Again, a topic that very few felt the need to confront and he was leading the way. In war time, leading people into battle has always had differences of opinion with those civilian leaders and the men who must command them. General Marshall handled these differences with ease by surrounding himself with confident and loyal people.

Was General Marshall an Effective Leader?

Without a doubt General Marshall was an effective leader. What made him effective was he was a visionary. He saw situations and knew what the second and third order effects of any decision would be. He was a master strategist. His ability to recognize the potential of any given issue was apparent when he saw the potential of the “Jeep” and the huge advantage it would give the allies in mobility. He was also responsible for seeing the need to defeat Germany first. Even when the rest of the country and its civilian leaders had Pearl Harbor fresh on their minds and the desire to get back at Japan was strong. He saw the potential of Germany to dominate Europe and Russia and with access to all those resources, how impossible it would have been to defeat them. I cannot forget the fact that everything he did, he did with integrity. He focused on what was right not what was popular.

In conclusion, people are not born leaders. They grow into the role if they have basic principles they do not bend to fit the situation. General Marshall was one of these leaders. He treated others like he expected to be treated. He managed resources and programs to get the best results with the least amount of waste. He mentored younger officers and staff to be better by example in every position he had.


About George Marshall. (2009). Retrieved from

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