World Leaders And Their Leadership Styles History Essay

Adolf Hitler is recognized worldwide for his leadership in the Nazi Party and also as the chancellor of Germany during the early period of 1930s. His leade

I. Summary

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman intends to warn the environment for governments, businesses and individuals that they must stay informed and learn to become ahead of the trends in order to compete in the ever evolving world. From descriptions along with interviews, and statistics he provides throughout the text, Friedman’s point is obvious that we need to be well-prepared and be educated about this matter, because this trend is undeniable and unstoppable. In much of straight forward manner, he gives us an image of our world evolving faster than most believe. Friedman as a tour guide and the readers as tourists, we explore places of ever-evolving economic world. As we go along, he exhibits the problems which we are facing, which we are about to face, and also possible answers and preemptive actions. Friedman takes the readers on tour in both historical and geographical manners, with real stories from 1500s when Columbus found the American Continent thinking it was India, to modern days; from an outsourced Indian call-center to home office in the United States.

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His notion of world becoming flat emerges from the convergence of two ideas; the global is becoming an entirely new playing field; and the complexness of 21st century globalization. In explaining what is causing the world to become flat, Friedman introduces 10 influencing factors that led to globalization and flattening of the world. He points at internet as the most influential source: broadened audiences for the internet which enabled communication and the search engines such as Google and Yahoo are claimed to have given a major boost on sharing information as well as personal digital services such as mobile phones, PDAs, and instant messengers. Other accompanying factors include outsourcing, off-shoring, workflow software, and etc. Friedman insists that theses 10 forces could not have functioned to flatten the world on their own, explaining that as each one of the factors converged together, they had to extend and create the situation rich for flattening.

The World Is Flat is a window to Friedman’s account of the new world coming toward us-a world that is growing at a speed of an express train. This change has started only recently but is claimed to be in the pace never seen before in the history. This newly anticipated, flatter world is being formed under the convergence of technology and collaboration of economies. Friedman believes it to change all of the existing economic theories, politics, societies, and jobs as well. As Friedman narrates the entire text with forthrightness, he enlightens the readers that we must learn how to adapt and change faster, if we are to compete in a global economy platform and to succeed in the ever-flattening world. Surviving in this new world will increase competition and will require more innovative, ingenious, and independent attitude.

II. Concept I: Globalization

Throughout the text, Friedman’s theory of world being flat is explained by the concept of globalization. Stiglitz, an economist contend that globalization is basically the closer assimilation of the countries and people in the globe which has been brought about by the enormous reduction of costs on transportation and communication and the demolishing barriers to the flows of capital, goods, services, knowledge, and people across borders. (Stiglitz 2003) Thus globalization is a collection of these factors each acting individually yet in many cases interactively. Friedman takes the readers into various journeys where he experienced the globalization by skin in many parts of the world. In the first chapter While I Was Sleeping, he takes us to Bangalore, India, where he unexpectedly realizes that he was surrounded by advertisements of all-American firms such as Pizza Hut and HP while playing golf. Traveling around with a group of people from the Discovery Times channel, he meets Indian workers and businessmen currently working for American firms, speaking fluently and even calling themselves in American names in their own country. The workers tell him they are even trained to speak with British, American, or Canadian accents. In India, he feels more certain that the world is flatter than ever before and that India is a promising key to the future global economy. Friedman also shows the ever-increasing speed of globalization with the people he came across such as Jerry Rao, an outsourced Indian businessman. In this situation, Jerry is employed as a replacement of an American worker due to inexpensive salary with similar level of ability. Friedman learns the process of online information exchange and its positive effect such as performing business activities from remote locations. Friedman introduces these cases to open the eyes of the readers how other parts of the world are being Americanized; furthermore explains the world is getting flat. Friedman expresses the “world” as a commerce field, and his explanation prove his assertion that the globalization is making every player possible to have equal opportunity in this world.

III. Concept II: Supply-Chaining

In Chapter 2, Friedman proves his theory of world being flat by introducing 10 factors that contributed to his finding. Throughout his explanation, he connects the supply chaining as a motivation for firms to outsource their manpower, therefore creating a business globally. This also continues with the globalization mentioned in the above section. Among the 10 factors Friedman presents supply-chaining, a system of working together horizontally among retailers, suppliers, and customers to create value. Important human resources in creating a product such as manufacturers, marketers, and designers used to work at a single facility; but under supply chining, they spread all around the world in institutes with different languages, cultures and business goal. In recent years, many manufacturing and retail firms have been relocating their sourcing strategies to the East. The reason in the globalization of supply chain is undoubtedly to lower the cost of resources and labor, and also to benefit from favorable exchange rates. According to the researchers of InfoSys, empirical evidence suggests that supply chains are forming to help deliver to the flattening forces. Multiple supply chain structures such as loosely-coupled global supply chains and increased use of counter trade in cross country businesses are emerging to effectively address changes caused by flattening forces. As we can see, the supply chain once a factor of flatter world, is now changing to meet the needs of the flat world. While Friedman dissects the benefits and detriments of supply chaining, he continues to prove the world is flat–from Shanghai to Silicon Valley, from al Qaeda to Wal-Mart.

IV. Criticism

Just a few decades ago, the world was wired and connected through internet. China, India, and the Russia (former Soviet Union) embraced capitalism and eventually had 3 billion people competing for jobs in the global economy as dirt-cheap factory workers and highly-skilled knowledge workers paid rock-bottom salary. As firms travel around the globe in search of cheapest labor, globalization is the greatest reformation of the world since the Industrial Revolution. Desire and desperation for knowledge about that most powerful source changing our lives, many of people tuned into Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, to gain an understanding of what globalization actually is. Unfortunately, it felt like they are served up stories from Friedman’s friends, elite CEOs, and other personal contacts. I couldn’t help but feel Friedman’s image of a flat world is an outlook of the world from a plane in business class. He only uses the word “flat” to refer to the transnational search of companies for cheaper labor. This image disregards the occurrence of global inequality and the reality that many of the developing nations remain stuck in poverty. Globalization generates winners and losers. It is those losers whom should be concerned but are ignored in the book. While at some point the world really is being flattened by globalization and westernization, more suitable expression would be a carpet covering muddled floor. Indeed there are flat parts but also there are lumps and bumps of different magnitude. In addition he is telling the Americans to give up their old age pensions plans, health care, public education, and all the things we used to call “advancement” because Indian workers are willing to work 40 hour a day when we are trying to protect 40 hours a week of work. Throughout the book, he makes the same familiar messages over and over again. That is, the world is getting smaller and flatter, this seems inevitable, and so many things are changing, so we should be prepared for this. What I felt reading his warnings, China on the supply side and the US on the demand side are two major engines of the world economy. But in the flat world as Friedman keeps stating, these two engines would be working together in an almost perfect harmony. I doubt this will happen in the future.

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V. Recommendation

Friedman’s own analysis on globalization throughout the book is true in corporate respect but disregards the matter of life and death for millions. It fails to take the importance of the world’s geo-political hierarchy which secures the provision of property rights, stability and other international public goods. Globalization in the 21st century is more about inequality and discrimination between nations than the integration of a flat world. In my personal thoughts, I would not recommend this book to the management students. Friedman’s assertions and examples are sourced from his personal contacts and it may deceive students learning management to only realize globalization at the corporate side.


Stiglitz, Joseph (2003). Globalization and its Discontents. W.W. Norton and Company New York


rship style was autocratic leadership as he believed in acting like a dictator and focused on making decisions on his own. He never trusted his generals and felt no need of having two-way communication as he wanted to have complete legitimate power in everything. Hitler believed that the ultimate authority resides with him and it should never be extended downward. He made decisions that were supportive in enhancing his legitimate power. Any mistake made by the followers was unacceptable and punishments were given for wrong doings (Megargee, 14).

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Since Hitler was reluctant to take advice from anyone and made all decisions on his own, his followers did not like this attitude and started developing ill-feelings towards him. From the analysis of Adolf Hitler’s leadership style, the leaders of the today’s world have realized that they cannot be a dictator and cannot get the work done by forcing their followers (Popper, 64). The modern leaders and managers in organizations have ensured that they implement collaborative methods so that the followers and subordinates are part of the team and the joint efforts will ultimately produce positive results. The leaders who have adopted this style of leadership have faced strong resistance from their followers and even received less support from them in accomplishing the ideal objectives.

Mahatma Gandhi is among the favorite personality of most of the leaders worldwide and majority of them want to follow the leadership style followed by such an inspirational man (Barnabas and Paul, 135). Mahatma Gandhi had a servant style of leadership which is described as the style in which a leader takes care of his followers even before they start taking care of themselves on their own. This inspirational leader emphasized that the struggle should be done in non-violent manners without using any harmful weapons; the leader had to face severe problems such as beating by the British police and getting locked up in the prison when he started fighting with British for independence of India.

Gandhi had a clear vision about the independence of Hindus and was able to communicate this vision effectively to dispersed people by using simple and inspiring language. One aspect that was stressed by the leader was never to accept defeat and keep on striving hard because success will eventually; the moral is that people should never lose hope and continue the efforts until the goal is attained (Nojeim, 30). His personality is a source of inspiration for the leaders and managers of today’s world that no matter how challenging the situation gets it is important to boost the morale of oneself and the followers. As a leader, the person should motivate his/her subordinates until the victory is gained in the particular mission.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln had the desire of serving his country so that he could bring revolutionary changes that will be beneficial for its people in the long-run. Abraham Lincoln had a servant leadership style; one of the vital components of this form of leadership is the importance of ethical values i.e. working for the benefits of the people and this aspect was evident in the leadership style of Lincoln (Hubbard, 21). The servant leader wants to lead the people because he/she has internal desire of serving the people; the person does not need any legitimate power to bring the changes.

Abraham Lincoln focused on the sustainability element which meant producing a lasting change that will finally lead to the transformation of others. The leader was provided the opportunity of demonstrating his leadership traits during the American Civil War; he had two lasting impacts on the world i.e. freeing the slaves and preservation of the Union (Polelle, 40). During his Presidency, Lincoln followed a prudent and careful leadership to bring about mandatory reforms in the United States of America.

The leader also set the example of the paramount democracy in the world and even extended the liberty opportunity to every American. In present times, Americans have been given the full liberty of expressing their feelings and fighting for their rights and it has revolutionized the way in which democracy should be implemented by the leaders so that projected results are successfully accomplished. Even in organizations, the work culture has been changed i.e. employees are motivated to share their ideas and claim their rights as the organization is compelled to fulfill all the requirements of its workforce.

Alexander the Great

At the age of twenty, Alexander became the king and in eleven years of his journey he fought more that seventy battles and never lost any one of them. The leadership style of Alexander the Great is visionary leadership as he shared the vision with his people to motivate them to inspire them in achieving the well-set goals (Polelle, 23).

From the analysis of the leadership traits of Alexander the Great, it is evident that he had set certain set of principles to inspire his followers such as show people that they are considered to be valuable and are given importance in every decision by seeking their opinions, lead by example so that people are inspired to follow the leader, innovation should be encouraged so that something new can be done and every action should be taken after creating a vision so that there is clarity about the goal that will be achieved (Cartledge, 14).

In today’s world, the leaders have realized that they need to first follow what they tell their followers so that the leaders can gain their trust. When any decision is made, it should be done on a consensus manner so that everyone agrees to it and they can see the big picture clearly. A visionary leader communicates to his followers the effectiveness of the entire process and their importance in this process so that their production level gets accelerated.

Julius Ceasar

Julius Ceasar was an exceptional general and one of the important leaders in ancient Rome. In his life, he held almost every vital title in the Roman Republic such as tribune of the Roman people, consul, well-known priest and high positioned commander of the army (Freeman, 32). He dared to introduce new laws that were easily approved by the Senate and he is recognized globally for improving the ways in which the provinces were governed and he even developed his own army.

After conquering the Rome, he became the master and started ruling the place like a dictator. Caesar used his power for carrying out the needed reforms, relieving huge amount of debt, revised the calendar and enlarged the Senate. He was assassinated by his enemies in 44 B.C. (Popper, 70). It shows that a dictator has less chances of gaining appreciation by the followers as all other leaders who have followed the dictatorship style of leadership have never been able to get the support of their people and have faced unfortunate deaths in the form of assassination. Hence, the dictatorship leadership is not acceptable by people as the leaders tend to focus on their own benefits rather than on the followers’ needs.


Napolean was among the best conquerors of the world and his efforts are recognized globally. During the French Revolution period, the leader took various important decisions that proved to be harmful for his followers (Blaufarb, 42). Although the positive aspects of his personality were that he had a clear vision about his goal, had the ability of motivating the people to achieve the desired goals and ensured that he took proper care of his people. However, his followers believed that the leader made decisions that were beneficial for himself and cared less for them.

Napolean has received a lot of criticism for being a dictator as many wrong decisions were taken by him that severely impacted the lives of people. Since he was an ambitious person, he started making decisions without taking consent of his followers and started giving commands to his army (Polelle, 62). When he got carried away in the lust of power, he had to face defeat by the Russian Army on his way back to Austria; it shows that the dictators or autocratic style of leadership is among the least preferred styles of the leader. When a leader becomes a dictator, his/her relationship with the followers starts to get deteriorated and eventually it breaks. Napoleon is still considered to be the best conqueror in the world as he had the highly exceptional intellectual capabilities.

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Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan was among the noteworthy leaders of Mongolia who conquered most of the Asian and European areas; his style of leadership is classified as a combination of autocratic leadership and participative leadership. Genghis Khan was considered a dictator because whenever he conquered any of the regions he would give only two options i.e. either surrender or get killed. However, when working with his army, he used to take their opinion and share his ideas with them so that they can develop a strategy for the implementation of the plan successfully (Ratchnevsky, 26).

Genghis Khan moved to the loyalty to himself and he even started to deal with his adversaries in an inappropriate manner. Anyone who opposed to his conquest and power had to suffer from an extreme blow. Since Genghis Khan started treating people in a brutal way, he was assassinated later by his enemies (Man, 51).

It has become important for today’s leaders to realize that they can be successful only when they have cordial relations with their followers and they try to incorporate their demands so that a healthy relationship is created which will last for a long period. The autocratic leaders will face strong resistance from their followers so it is advisable to use it to minimal extent to ensure control within the organization or legal body but it should not be followed excessively as it will create problems such as retaliation from subordinates in the long-run.

George Washington

George Washington had a servant leadership style as he had the vision of revolutionizing everything in US during his presidency. He knew that he can motivate the people only by developing an inspirational personality and he did extensive efforts for creating the desired image. He even motivated his people to provide him support in attainment of the goals so that the set vision can be accomplished (Northouse, 72). The main characteristics of his personality as a leader were that he was willing to accept any challenge and face it; he was persistent in achieving the set targets; and was brave enough to handle all the issues and provided help to his people in resolving them.

Since he had no lust for power and wanted to work for the benefits of his people, he always ensured that the decisions made by him were in accordance with the requirements of the country. As he was a trustworthy president, people started showing their loyalty to him and provided their complete assistance so that they could successfully implement any necessary change in the country effectively (Bongilla, 35). The leaders who want to gain the support of their followers have to develop their personality that has certain key traits such as confidence, integrity, courage, self-discipline and clear vision. George Washington is the best example for all those leaders who want to do something beneficial for the country and get the support of its people.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt is recognized for helping U.S. to get out of the Great Depression period in 1930s by helping the people in rebuilding their self-confidence. His leadership style is a combination of charismatic leadership and transformational leadership as he inspired the people to get back on their feet and initiate the activities to help the country get out of the dark times. Roosevelt provided his people various avenues to do a lot of creative thinking but with a focused approach; he first set out the vision so that everyone was aware of the final goal that has to be attained (Greenstein, 45).

The best lesson learnt from the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt is that fear is something that needs to be conquered and there is nothing to fear about. The leaders can take inspiration from such an extraordinary leader who taught people how to maintain their focus on specific vision and face the challenges with courage and bravery. It is mandatory for every leader to accept the challenge of life and work and be prepared to handle them with confidence and will power to counter the challenge. Since the changes happen at a fast pace these days, the leaders have to remain alert all the time for the problems that can arise and they should react to them in a calm and an organized way.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill leadership style is classified as transformational and charismatic leadership; he was among those leaders who always kept the people motivated by delivering inspirational speeches. During the World War II, Winston Churchill provided immense support and guidance to the Great Britain by developing strength and courage among the people (Nordquist, 2). As a leader, he focused on three important aspects for developing a charismatic personality that comprised of elements such as excellent communication skills, creating a vision so that everyone is able to keep a focus on single goal and developing trust so that people are willing to provide their support to the leaders.

From the leadership style of Winston Churchill, it is evident that the leaders have to develop a charismatic leadership by strengthening the bond with their followers so that everyone is part of the team (Axelord, 34). When the entire team shares a common vision, only then conflicts, problems and issues can be resolved. As most of the organizations have to undergo changes, they will face resistance from the people; communication is the key to resolving this issue by sharing with them the purpose of the change along with showing them the vision. Hence, excellent communication and well-designed vision can inspire people to work hard and support their leaders in achieving the desired goals.


The world leaders have demonstrated different leaderships and they have been successful in accomplishing various challenging tasks. Regardless of the dictatorship style, some of the common features that are important for the leaders and organization in today’s world are creating a vision so that everyone has an idea about the goal that will be achieved in the long-run, motivating people to make valuable contributions and developing excellent communication skills so that a clear, concise and right message can be communicated to everyone.

Therefore, the leaders and managers have to realize that they can achieve their objectives by getting support from their followers and subordinates and showing them appreciation for making valuable additions by offering them excellent rewards. The leaders have to develop a charismatic personality so that they can inspire their followers and should lead by example so that positive results can be attained.


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