Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire is a well known Canadian humanitarian, Senator and author of two books along with being a retired General. The Lieutenant-General worked during 1993 till 1994 as the Force Commander in UNAMIR, the peace keeping force organized by United Nations in Rwanda against the known extremists of Hutu against the moderate people of Tutsis and Hutu (Romeo Dallaire a, 2014). Romeo Dallaire has founded The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative along with being a Senior Member at the Montreal Institute’s Department of Genocide and Human Rights Studies. His achievements also include that he is also the Co-Director of the Project by the name of Will to Intervene where he created a policy against mass atrocities through effective leadership (Romeo Dallaire a, 2014).
The aim of this report is to provide a critical analysis of Romeo Dallaire’s leadership and to discuss whether the leader was able to exhibit traits of effective leadership or not.
- Critical Analysis of Romeo Dallaire’s Leadership
Leadership is one of the concepts that have been discussed widely in the literature and over time leadership has been evolved due to different beliefs, thinking and cultures (Daft, 2008). A leader has a number of roles and functions to perform of which the most important according to Marquis & Houston (2009) is that a leader is the one who coordinates people through different visions and purposes to encourage them to work towards achieving a common goal. Definitions of leadership in the literature are greatly similar, and the most common description of the term is that it is a process where person defines goals for his subordinates and these subordinates are encouraged to attain these goals (Stimpson, 2002). Leaders need to take upon certain leadership styles according to the situation they are facing. A number of leadership styles have been discussed in the literature which include transformational, transactional, directive, democratic and paternalistic to name a few (Stimpson, 200; Daft, 2008).
Romeo Dallaire’s leadership can be understood through the time when he was deployed as the head of UN Peacekeeping Force sent to Rwanda. The Lieutenant-General exhibited fearlessness and great leadership qualities there. The first example can be witnessed by the fact when Romeo Dallaire used his visionary leadership skills and sensed that the situation at Rwanda was worsening specifically. This was when he came to know about weapons entering Rwanda and increasing tension due to his ability to keep a check on the external environment and to try recognize if any changes are taking place. The Lieutenant-General immediately called the headquarters of United Nations in New York demanding reinforcements and weapons since he felt that a terrible event will take place (USHMM, 2002). This ability to sense a change in the environment and a gap in the ability of the peacekeeping force to retain peace in the country has been outlined by Kotler (2009) as one of the most important abilities that a leader can have. Hence, in this case, Romeo Dallaire not only showcased abilities of a visionary leader but also of a leader which can sense change in the environment.
Situation in Rwanda worsened over night as explained by Romeo Dallaire. He comments that there a massacre took place where the extremists killed over 85,000 people in Rwanda (USHMM, 2002). The leader was faced with a number of issues in Rwanda. These ranged from UN not listening to his demands of supplying him with a battalion of 800 soldiers or weapons of any kind and leading a peacekeeping force which have lack of supplies and only small weapons against deadly arms of the extremists in the country (USHMM, 2002). At that time, Romeo could had easily left the peacemaking force and retired instead of watching a horrifying massacre and dealing with an ill-equipped army. However, he did not do so. He felt that it was his responsibility to lead the peacemaking force and to help the people of Rwanda as much as he can (USHMM, 2002; Romeo Dallaire b, 2014). Hence, Romeo Dallaire proved that he possessed the qualities of an ethical leader as well the quality of keeping his peacekeeping force motivated at times when they were faced with problems of lack of food and lack of utensils to cook food (USHMM, 2002). Romeo Dallaire can also be termed to be a director under the framework provided by Darling & Leffel (2010). This is because, a director is a leadership style under which a leader achieves targets, makes decisions when required and communicates openly with both internal and external parties (DeCenzo & Robbins, 2005). Romeo Dallaire was able to portray this particular style since he made decisions when his seniors were not responding and he communicated openly with his seniors regarding the fact that he needed more supplies and battalion to fight (USHMM, 2002; Romeo Dallaire b, 2014).
When leadership is discussed, one of the most important tasks for leaders is to be effective duringleading his/her subordinates (Fairholm, 2004). Characteristics of an effective leader include the ability to bring people together, manage change and influencing employees for the betterment of them as well as the company (Goleman, 2000). Romeo Dallaire can be termed as an effective leader since he was the one who lead a peacekeeping force when his seniors were not providing him with even basic utilities for the force, he was the one who was able to keep employees motivated even at the time like this, and he was the one who correctly observe that problems in Rwanda will intensify (USHMM, 2002; Romeo Dallaire b, 2014). It has been stated by Wharton University (2014) for Romeo that he was a leader who proved that even at dire times as the ones faced in Rwanda; a leader can be ethical since he tried to fulfill the core responsibilities of the organization despite lack of support from his seniors. It was also stated that Romeo was a leader who listened to his subordinates and empowered them by involving the employees in the decision making processes. This was because, Romeo like all effective leaders felt that employees who are in the field possess greater knowledge about current scenario than the leaders and therefore, this knowledge should be utilized by the leader (Wharton University, 2014).
Romeo Dallaire showed that he was a situational leader since he took up a number of leadership styles depending on the changes that were taking place in the external environment and to achieve better results by switching the leadership style whenever required. Even though the retired Lieutenant-General possessed a number of characteristics of an effective and ethical leader, he was not able to attain the goals that he desired due to lack of support from his seniors. Nevertheless, Romeo Dallaire did exhibit traits of being a fearless leader who was ready to take risks. He did not leave the peacekeeping force when there was lack from support from his seniors and when he suffered from mental and physical tortures experienced on hand of the massacre that followed in Rwanda (USHMM, 2002; Romeo Dallaire b, 2014). Leaders like Romeo Dallaire are much needed in the world since they have a drive towards attaining their goals and respecting and motivating their subordinates along the way. The retired Lieutenant-General’s leadership style, however, was skewed more towards being an ethical and visionary leader since he anticipated the massacre correctly and still feels sad about not being able to prevent the death of 85,000 in Rwanda.
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