Leadership of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy has been best remembered for his famous quote stated in the closing of his inaugural speech when being sworn in as the 35th president of the United States sharing with the crowd “Ask not what your country can do for you… Ask what you can do for your country.” One would argue that each of us have participated in a leadership role at some pivotal point in our lives whether it was in our close knit families, workplace environments or civic and community involvement. And while leadership comes in many facets it is noteworthy to mention that in the study of psychological leadership it has proven that leadership qualities separate good leaders from bad leaders. This article will identify proposed leadership theories that were utilized by America’s thirty-fifth president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy resulting in him being touted as one of the most prominent and popular presidential leader ever elected in the history of the United States. A review of current literature suggest that leaders have their own leadership styles and effective leaders actually perfect their leadership skills through their childhood experiences, their conscious self-development, their education, and formal training (Riggio, 2019). The analysis of multiple leadership styles for this article revealed that the use of the Five Factor Model of Personality Dark Side Personality and the Psychodynamics Approach were contributing factors to the perceived effective leadership and success of former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. An insightful examination of the Five Factor Model of Personality resulted in identifying significant dimensions that could be traced back to former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy leadership style including but not limited to his family political influence and formal education as well as his driven desire to succeed in the political arena as well as his commitment to “all citizens’ of America (Barrick, 1999). President John Fitzgerald Kennedy effective leadership can also be contributed to the utilization of the psychodynamic approach. The psychodynamic approach argues that leaders are more effective when they are knowledgeable of their own psychological makeup and also understand the psychological makeup of their subordinates. (Jung, C. G. (1934–1954). There were two instances where President John Fitzgerald Kennedy utilized the psychodynamic approach in his leadership namely when he escalated the United States involvement in the Vietnam War and his hesitancy in committing to the Civil Right Movement. Growing up in a rich influential family setting accompanied by attending and the receiving the best education available President John Fitzgerald Kennedy did not see addressing the Civil Rights Movement as immediate action item in his tenure whereas he expressed dismay in executing an order to our involvement in the Vietnam War. Perhaps because he consciously felt guilty that his older brother Joseph who had been slated to become the president was killed in the war and/or his own experience in the military where he was badly injures and left him in poor health (History, 2018).
There was also a dark side of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy known as the Dark Side Personality, According to research there are six dark-side personality traits that can be construed as irritating or counterproductive behavioral tendencies that can interfere with a leader’s ability to form cohesive teams and cause followers to exert less effort toward goal accomplishment. The dark trait that was prominent and revealed after President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s death was interpersonal insensitivity. Leaders who display interpersonal insensitivity are described as aloof and not unaware of how they come across to others. They also have difficulty putting themselves in other people’s shoes. conducted by (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2002), There were several incidents of interpersonal insensitivity that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy demonstrated that were not disclosed to the public; (1) his affiliation with organized crime members and (2) multiple marital infidelities (History, 2018). Nevertheless John Fitzgerald Kennedy fondly referred to as JFK will always be known as the youngest beloved president in American history who served his country well while the words of his famous inaugural address “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country,” will resonate in America forever.


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