Jefferson vs. Roosevelt Leadership Styles

The role of leadership in the world is hard to underestimate as the Unites States would not have been in the advantageous position they are today without it. Nevertheless, despite the fact that it might be rather challenging and full of goals that are impossible to accomplish, leadership takes courage and ability to motivate other people. Leadership and its style have close ties with collaboration and motivation of the followers’ team. The key thing that determines a leadership style is relational. At the same time, the group members’ diversity adds additional values and enhances the chance of new possible solutions and ideas generation (Kezar et al., 2006). The history of American society has ‘given a birth’ to many leaders who have had enough courage to change the things around them and to lead others to a victory over inequality and unfair treatment. Therefore, the objective of the following paper is to compare and contrast the leadership styles of Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt who have contributed much towards civil rights movements.

Thomas Jefferson is one of the most influential politicians and a spokesperson for democracy. During his reign, Washington has established the model of executive unity and added the party leader’s authority. Jefferson’s followers respected him admiring his speeches related to national ideas vision and republican principles. He had very strong leadership skills, which belong to the democratic style of leadership, as he had some hidden power over others who were happy to follow him and were motivated and encouraged by his views. They have been also very loyal to him, even though his leadership style had many controversies and dissensions. Being able to produce a consensus over the issues that seemed to be very urgent and had no ways out, as well as never turning to autocratic leadership style, Jefferson was one of those leaders who managed to dominate other without actual ruling. Also, since the country was facing serious controversies because Federalists were trying to destabilize the Republicans due to the threat of leaving the government forever, Jefferson has used his power and influence far beyond Congress. He managed to avoid certain power separation within political parties and has turned Congress into one powerful instrument, which had shared the similar vision, mission, and objectives regarding the country’s prosperity (“Thomas Jefferson — Jefferson’s presidential leadership”, n.d.).


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It is important to mention that Thomas Jefferson was one of those leaders who were not afraid to take the challenge and put on stake everything. He has not demonstrated leadership within the authorities he did not possess. However, he has shown a strong will and capacity to do it. This person was the one who has facilitated the pass of the Religious Freedom Statute. Leadership has ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ dimensions. Nevertheless, Jefferson has turned to the concept of indirect leadership. The proof of that was the fact that Jefferson has never told people what to do if he did not believe that it was a right way. He motivated people without using his position as President. He used to lead people through his own ideas as well as inspired others with them. Jefferson’s views were very engaging for his followers. Hence, he demonstrated leadership through his behavior and the way he solved many problems. During the time when Jefferson was a president of America, Congress did not resolve multiple issues every day and did not have many arguments within its official members. Nevertheless, since he relied on his team to solve all other misunderstandings, only very complicated situations were reviewed by him. Also, Jefferson liked to spend time in the Library of Congress enjoying solitude and making multiple scientific observations. The obtained knowledge helped him to make his speeches more effective and inspiring as well as made him ‘a father of America’. He has used the power of his ideas to affect others, and it was done successfully. Even though Congress was a place of many debates and even scandals, Jefferson mainly remained silent and did not have any problem with that. Once he was speaking, everyone was listening to him. Jefferson was very strong using his indirect leadership. He managed to inspire James Madison to wrote his book that was discussing how America has turned out to be the country with religious freedom. It is also important to mention that many researchers had been studying Jefferson and concluded that he had much strength within his leadership style. However, his public speaking skills required improvement. Jefferson has possessed such skills as persistence, achievement, initiative, insight, cooperativeness, responsibility, self-confidence, influence, tolerance, and sociability. Also, one of the Jefferson’s strongest traits was his intelligence, and he has enforced it to his scholarly lifestyle and excellent education (Buck et al., n.d.).

Unlike Jefferson, Roosevelt used the transformational style of leadership. Moreover, he was the one who emphasized that leadership is not only important for running the country. It is also the essential part of everyday life. Therefore, he had many ideas that he shared with other. Roosevelt liked to share his ideas with followers who were inspired and motivated by that. He used to express his vision with the help of words and provided indelible examples. It looks like public speaking was Roosevelt’s strength while Jefferson needed to be more courageous for that. However, in fact, both leaders shared those leadership traits.

Roosevelt was a very brave leader as he had participated in the Spanish-American War, which was short but caused many deaths. Unlike Jefferson, Roosevelt was leading the troops during the war, and he was never on the backstage. Therefore, it means that he had a direct leadership style. He risked and led others encouraging them to follow him.

Due to the mentioned courage and ability to lead people, Roosevelt was a subtle and skilled manager. He may be an example when researchers and scholars try to show the difference between leaders and managers. Unfortunately, the latter ones do not always have the necessary skills to motivate and lead people without the power position they actually hold. Roosevelt belongs to the real leaders who operate at the emotional level and use spiritual resources to unite people under one mission, vision, and targets for everyone’s good. A manager uses physical resources that can show excellent results. However, only true leaders can motivate and ensure achievements showing a real work of every individual. Thus, it is worth noting that Roosevelt was different from Jefferson as he had more managerial skills and exercised his power when needed. He was a pragmatic leader who was always very aware of what he could achieve and do. At the same time, he was the one whose presence was felt. Unlike Jefferson, Roosevelt demonstrated his high-speed activities once he was appointed to the position of the U.S. Civil Service Commission commander. He immediately started to control the New York City Police Board and took active and fast steps to become the president of America. Successfully combined both leadership and management, he took all necessary actions and had an active position. Theodore Roosevelt was not afraid to take the initiative, which was not frequently observed in the leadership behavior of Thomas Jefferson. The investigation of Roosevelt’s leadership quality, as well as his military strategies, has revealed that taking the lead and making first steps during the conflicts and battles was a very smart strategic move leading to success. The other uncommon feature is that Roosevelt was more frequently communicating with his followers regarding every step. As was mentioned above, since Jefferson tended to indirect leadership, he did not have regular meetings with his people, and this approach was effective for him as well. Theodore Roosevelt was keen to express his vision constantly, and he filled them with agendas and actions plans. He used to present his idea of leading the government with many small details during his speech in 1903. Therefore, it was remarkable and inspirational for those individuals who heard that. It is also important to mention that both Jefferson and Roosevelt were conscious of their team’s welfare. However, it was more obvious during the presidency of the last mentioned leader as he used to work for the military where he has led many battles during civil rights movements. Also, both leaders had been intensively looking for new talents and appreciated every member of their teams who brought value (Strock, 2015).

In conclusion, it is important to mention that comparing the leadership style of Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, it is relevant to state that those two leaders had more differences than similarities. However, both of them became one of the most respected men in the American history. Based on the conducted research, it can be stated that Thomas Jefferson promoted permissiveness giving the less possible guidance to his followers. He believed people could handle difficulties themselves, and this fact inspired them to do it. On the contrary, Theodore Roosevelt promoted the transformational leadership style using both leadership and management qualities to run the country. By his nature, Roosevelt was an autocratic leader who tended to be stronger. Nevertheless, he always supported and led his team by putting it and its interests first. Thomas Jefferson used the indirect style of leadership motivating people through his ideas and speeches. At the same time, he did not seem to be very keen to get the top positions within Congress and found himself happy reading and studying different sciences. Thus, is it possible to make a conclusion that every style of leadership can be effective once used properly.

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