Leadership is a term that is heavily used in today’s society and is often times overlooked for its true meaning. In our text it is defined as “the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals” (Robbins, 01/2012, p. 368). After serving in the Marine Corps for five years I have seen many different leadership styles; some which were effective, and others that were not. The leader that had the most influence on me while serving was a Marine by the name of Major Marcus Mainz. He served as the Operations Officer for my Battalion while deployed to Iraq.
As an Operations Officer, Major Mainz was tasked with overseeing the entire battlefield for our battalion. My interaction came with him as a watch chief in the Battalions Combat Operations Center. The Combat Operations Center can best be described by comparing it to the war movies where the Commander is in the room looking at maps, radars, or live feeds of the battlefield and barking out instructions to be passed down to the personnel on the ground. My role in this environment was to paint a picture of the battlefield for all commanders to see and then make decisions based off of that information. Major Mainz was in charge of this process and it was his job to make most of the operational decisions at the Battalion level.
Throughout the year or so I worked under Major Mainz, I began to realize that he was definitely someone I wanted to follow and pattern my own leadership style after. There were times when he would be approachable and times where he would not. New officers that were serving under his command were treated with some level of respect but behind closed doors he could tear them down at a moments notice for not taking care of the Marines under their charge. This action showed that he understood the importance of each officer’s image as it pertained to the Marines serving under them because he was not publicly embarrassing them in front of their Marines. I saw this technique as an absolute must to have in my own leadership tool belt.
Major Mainz fostered an environment for everyone to bring their ideas to the table. He held the second highest position in the Battalion yet would stand in front of a room full of his subordinates and call his own self stupid or dumb as a rock. I was throw off by this method at first but soon learned that this put the crowd at ease and opened up the forum for discussion. There was no doubt that Major Mainz was the smartest person in the room when he had these open forums for discussion but he didn’t make anyone feel that way unless he was tested. I believe this was him, utilizing into the Group-Level theory. I believe this method was highly effective for him and the unit as a whole because it allowed the members of his team to be creative and feel like they had input into what was going on.
The Group-Level theory is a method that I feel best suites my personality and would allow me to be an effective leader as well. Bringing a group of people together and allowing them to share their own ideas for reaching common goals and tasks seems like a crucial aspect of leadership that can harness the power of a team. In discussing this with my mentor, it has become more evident that in her own place of work, the concept of team is widely used by leaders within their organization. In my own organization, this is an area that I feel they are lacking in and as a result, has created an environment where morale and the overall feeling of accomplishment is absent. Conclusion
In closing, I believe that Major Mainz will always be someone I look up too and remember for his strong leadership presence. In any situation, he always led by example and treated those around him with respect. I can take these traits and add them to my personnel leadership tool belt. My mentor is in agreement that these are valuable attributes and standards to aspire too and to always continue developing my own personnel leadership style.
Robbins, S. P., Judge, T. A. (01/2012). Organizational Behavior, 15th Edition [VitalSource
Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from http://online.vitalsource.com/books/9781269357869