Positive Leadership – SGM Brendon O’connor

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Photo Credit: United States Army Publaction

Today’s concept of leadership has changed drastically over the years. With constraints of budgets, stricter deadlines, doing more with fewer assets just to name a few.While time changes everything around us, so does the concept of leadership and how one is designed to lead. Many people have the drive and desire to become a leader, but the others stray away from the idea. This article will facilitate an understanding on how SGM Brendon O’Connor is analyzed as a leader and the various leadership theories that he demonstrates.

While at Millersville University from 2009 to 2012 SGM O’Connor instructed cadets for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program that afforded him the opportunity to influence and develop future officers (Alexandria, 2014). This was towards the end of his career. However, this being true his qualities of leadership were passed on in many different ways.

Leading by example is commonly mentioned in passing conversation. However, is it typically followed through with? Most would say no. But this is not true with SGM O’Connor leadership style. He is a walking example of excellence and leadership. You would never hear him say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” He would just say “do as I do and you will be fine.” And this is absolutely true. Leadership advice from a man who has served 28 years in the military is typically good. Specifically, form someone who spent a majority of that time in Special Forces unit.

This drive to be a leader is very relevant when talking to him. Various amounts of research have been done on this type of leadership and the quality of people that represent it. Stogdill (1948) and Kirkpatrick and Locke’s (1991) describe this type of leadership stay as the “Great Man” theory and differentiate leaders and non-leaders. This concept talks about how an individual has the internal desire to lead and to complete mission completeness. This is a strong representation on how SGM O’Connor sees and acts as a leader.

This type of leadership is influencing and easy to pick up or when you are around SGM Brendon O’Connor. SGM O’Connor’s skill encompasses the “ability of an individual or organization to “lead” or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations (Webster).” Being able to teach and guide jr. soldiers to become great leaders is not only a great skill; but also shows just how passionate he is about leadership and the importance it is to pass on the positive aspects to others.




Alexandra, L. (2014, November 10). “We were a team”: Brendan O’Connor tells of saving

wounded buddies in Afghanistan. Retrieved February 3, 2017

Kirkpatrick, S. A. & Locke, E. A. (1991). Leadership: Do traits matter? The Executive, 5, 48-60.

Stogdill, R. M. (1948). Personal factors associated with leadership: A review of the literature. Journal of Psychology, 25, 35-71.

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