Billy Mitchell Leadership Analysis

2107 WordsJan 27, 20139 Pages
Billy Mitchell: A Critical Analysis of His Leadership Billy Mitchell was a visionary airpower pioneer who demonstrated very effective leadership in field operations, but his inability to develop a guiding coalition limited his effectiveness in leading the major organizational change he so desperately desired. General Mitchell was a famous, some would say infamous, airpower thinker who some regard as the father of the United States Air Force.1 Born into a wealthy family and the son of a Wisconsin Senator, Mitchell could have chosen a life of luxury. But Billy sought great adventure and chose the military life instead. He joined the Army at the age of eighteen, six years before the Wright brothers made their first historic flight…show more content…
Mitchell’s personality was well suited for leadership in a field environment. He was able to effectively utilize the coercive, authoritative, and pacesetting leadership styles that, according to leadership research, were well suited for executing his vision in stressful environments with highly motivated men.8 He engendered high levels of trust from those who worked under him and gained the respect of those who worked by his side, including the British, French, and Italian allied leadership.9 Relevance, the apex of the RTL model, is a direct result of a leader’s influence and occurs at the organizational, environmental, and personal levels.10 Mitchell showed relevance in all of these areas. First, from an environmental perspective, he brought together multiple organizations, air forces from Britain, Italy, and the United States, and integrated their personnel and equipment into a viable fighting force, which culminated in “the greatest concentration of air power that had ever taken place.”11 He had high organizational relevance, changing the persona of his combined force from one solely focused on

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