Review “Case 4.1: A Drill Sergeant at First” located in Chapter 4 of the textbook Leadership: Theory and Practice., Post a 250–300-word response to the questions located at the end of case. In your response be sure to address the strengths and weaknesses of the behavioral approach to leadership in this situation.
In the case of “A Drill Sergeant at First,” Sergeant Robert Cross is a military drill instructor who is described as a taskmaster, with a reputation for being tough on new recruits. The case highlights how Cross’s leadership style creates a tense and sometimes abusive environment that is demotivating for his subordinates. It also highlights how Cross’s behavior seems to be impacting the overall performance of his unit.
The behavioral approach to leadership emphasizes the importance of leaders’ actions, behaviors, and responses in shaping the behaviors of their followers. In the case of Sergeant Cross, the behavioral approach shows both strengths and weaknesses.
One strength of the behavioral approach in this case is its emphasis on leader behavior. Cross’s behavior is critical in creating an environment that is both physically and psychologically challenging for his subordinates. However, his behavior creates a negative environment that is ultimately counterproductive for his unit. This highlights the importance of the behavioral approach in emphasizing the need for leaders to take a proactive approach in shaping the behaviors of their followers.
One weakness of the behavioral approach in this case is the limited scope of the theory. The approach assumes that all leaders should be assertive, task-oriented, and directive. This does not account for the fact that different situations may require different leadership styles. In the case of Sergeant Cross, the behavioral approach may be too limited, as it does not account for the need for different leadership styles in different situations.
In conclusion, the behavioral approach provides a useful framework for understanding the impact of leader behavior on followers. However, it is important to recognize its limitations and the need for leaders to be adaptable and flexible in different situations. In the case of Sergeant Cross, a more situational approach that takes into account the unique needs of his subordinates may be more effective.