Admiral Smith's Honor During Operation Deliberate Force

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“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.” 1 With this statement, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf emphasizes the importance of character in leadership. According to Army Colonel Eric Kail, integrity is the most important aspect of an individual’s character. 2 Integrity guides an individual down a strict moral path, helping an individual to stay true to their convictions. A leader with integrity will gain the trust and respect of his or her followers, whereas a leader of poor character will foster an environment of passive, alienated, and pragmatic followers. A leader with integrity will also lead by example, influencing followers to construct and follow specific moral…show more content…
Honor is a compelling inner drive to do the right thing at precisely the right time. 1 An honorable leader gains credibility and respect from his or her subordinates, which increases the effectiveness of his or her leadership. Admiral Smith displayed his honor during Operation Deliberate Force. In this conflict, Admiral Smith was in charge of destroying targets, using weapons such as Tomahawk land attack missiles. Because of the effectiveness of these missiles, several politicians pressured Smith to continue attacking old targets. Believing that this was not the right thing to do, Admiral Smith stuck to his convictions and refused to hit a target more than once. As a result, he gained a distinct form of referent power over his men. He gained respect, trust, and admiration for staying true to his convictions. 3,…show more content…
Smith displayed courage, both morally and physically, throughout his naval career in Vietnam, in the political realm, and during Operation Deliberate Force. However, it also takes courage to face authority when one is not performing up to the expected standards. This is exactly the situation that Admiral Smith confronted while at the Naval Academy. During his plebe year, Admiral Smith’s was performing poorly in academics, and was required to go see the commandant of midshipmen. Smith bravely walked into the office, and learned valuable lessons in discipline, teamwork, and leadership. He quickly realized that he had to discipline himself to work harder than ever before to improve his grades and remain in the Academy. As a result, he quickly learned to work with others by asking both teachers and other midshipmen for help when he was struggling. Through his meeting with the commandant of midshipmen, he learned the importance of reaching down into an organization to the lowest of the low (i.e., a plebe) and to give second chances. Admiral Smith embodied the concepts of discipline, working with others, and leadership because of his courage to face authority while underperforming.

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