The movie “Patton” was an exceptional portrayal of a highly successful, yet controversial World War II general. We will explore Patton’s leadership through the lenses of several leadership models.
Seven Transformations of Leadership
Under the “action logic” model described in the article “Seven Transformations of Leadership”, Patton clearly falls under the action logic type of Opportunist. Patton was highly egotistical, focused on personal wins, and largely unconcerned with the viewpoints of others. In some instances he seemed to regard the war as a personal game, such as win he repeatedly focused on the goal of beating British General Montgomery to key military victories. The model suggests that Opportunists are good in emergencies, and since wartime largely consists of emergency situations, it is not surprising that Patton excelled at meeting his objectives in this environment.
Patton does, however, contradict some aspects of the Opportunist as described in the article. For example, although Patton’s men feared him, in real life they also respected him and were fiercely loyal. He was able to achieve remarkable results in war partially due to his ability to get high performance from his men.
Under Blake and Mouton’s Leadership Grid, Patton clearly exhibited a very high focus on concern for production. He was always focused on results, often pushing his men to reach difficult goals and overcome obstacles. This was demonstrated by situations such as when he went to the front of the line to personally kill two mules that were in the middle of the road and stalling the army’s progress. This strong emphasis on concern for production places him largely in the Authority-Compliance quadrant of the Leadership Grid.
However, Patton was not as low on concern for people as the Grid would suggest for the Authority-Compliance style. Patton clearly showed a concern for people, particularly the injured soldiers, demonstrated when he visited the infirmary...