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FDR, Leadership and the Depression Era

Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to power during the Depression era in 1933 in the United States. It was a bad time for banks, and for people to put their money in the banks. People literally hid their money under the mattresses. Business was bad, money was bad, and the people’s faith in the banking system and in the government was bad. Such was the scenario when FDR became President. He recognized the difficulty, however, and through his intelligence and great leadership abilities, he managed to inspire the American people and bring them out of the rut of the Depression.

He made extensive use of the radio through his program, Fireside Chat. He clearly outlined the issues and problems besetting the American society during that time. He did not embellish nor did he use euphemisms to describe the situation. Rather, he aspired to talk to the proverbial man on the street and explained how he will solve the problem. His clear voice and his assertive explanation of the situation appealed to the millions of Americans. His radio program was launched in such a way that he seemed like talking with American families over the radio (Alter, 2006).

The truthfulness and simplicity of the

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explanations provided by FDR over the radio made sense to millions of Americans. By asserting that he wanted to make reforms; and that even if Congress would not support hi reforms, he would still use his executive power to do it. His pronouncements about the need to banish fear, and by publicly pointing out the embarrassing act of hiding assets under the mattresses, he cut through to the heart of the matter. By the time that the worst was over and the banks reopened, he inspired confidence in the people to deposit their money back into the banks.

This way, the Depression era in the US ended (Alter, 2006) Truth Dimension and Awareness of Oneself It was Socrates who said that the unexamined life is not worth living. As such, in the personal and social dealings of humans, they would be aware of the attitudes of their fellow, as well as the attitude that they themselves have. This kind of awareness help them plan for and device modes of behavior and conduct. This awareness is also important in the practice of leadership in an organizational setting.

Similar to FDR’s awareness of the true situation that the American society is in, a leader should be aware of what is going on within the organization and in the immediate surroundings in which it is situated. By doing so, he can correctly appraise the situation and device a way to respond and implement the necessary changes. However, the leaders should also be authentic and aware of his own personal dynamics. He should be aware of his motivations, his values and his views and how these correspond or differ with the followers.

This way, he would have a mental note of where he stands in relation to the whole organization (Sparrowe, 2005). The awareness of a leader at times, however, is not easily accomplished. In addition to that, such awareness cannot exist in a vacuum. Hence, it would be necessary for the leader to situate himself in the broader framework of the dynamics and the narrative process of the organization. This is because the other people involved in the organization also play an important part in the development of the leader’s perceptions, opinions and views (Sparrowe, 2005).

Being aware of oneself, therefore is a continuing process and is influenced also by the people with whom the leader interacts with. By working on this awareness, the leader is moving closer to the truth dimension in which he can accurately and objectively look at the organization and do what is necessary. Leadership Qualities and Strategies Every leader needs to exhibit excellence in what he does. Otherwise, the confidence of the followers will be compromised and the attainment of the objectives will not materialize. The excellence of the leader, however, is not the only thing that matters.

It is also important to seek advisers, and other people who are willing to work for and become allies in the attainment of the stated goals and objectives of the organization. This network will then become a solid foundation for the implementation of strategies (Leonard & Leonard, 1999). Lastly, the character and the integrity of the leader cannot be overemphasized. There are times in which even if the first two qualities are lacking, if this third quality is there, people would still flock to and follow the leader for this purpose (Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999).

These three qualities will enable the leader to practice the six dimensions of leadership. For one, through his character and his integrity, he can gain the trust and the confidence of the people he claims to lead. By using his talents, skills and leadership abilities, his competencies, in short, he will be able to assess the situations in which the organization is in. By consulting others, he can arrive at a more complete picture of where he is at, thereby, improving the situations in which the organization can implement strategies that will attain the goals and objectives of the organization.

It is not enough, however, to simply attain the goals of the organization. It is also important for the leader to take a look at the interests of the people he is leading and assess their situations. That way, he can secure their loyalty further and will help him gain additional resources and people willing to contribute to the organization. Even if they encounter roadblocks, such a leader can successfully surmount them.

Reference Alter, J. (2006). Voice of Courage: During Troubled Times, FDR Found a New Way to Talk to a Nation. Reader’s Digest, May 2006.

Retrieved 23 Sept 2007 from http://www. rd. com/content/voice-of-courage—fdr-and-the-fireside-chats/. Bass, B. M. & Steidlmeier, P. (1999). Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership behavior – A systematic analysis of issues, alternatives, and approaches. The Leadership Quarterly, 10 (2), 181-217. Leonard, L. J. & Leonard, P. E. (1999). Reculturing for Collaboration and Leadership. The Journal of Educational Research, 92 (4), 237-242. Sparrowe, R. T. (2005). Authentic Leadership and the Narrative Self. The Leadership Quarterly, 16 (3), 419-439.

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