Condoleezza Rice’s Leadership Style

free essayCondoleezza Rice’s leadership style can be assessed within the situational leadership theory. This is explained by the fact that two primary concerns for handling the set task and relationship development with the followers represent the two-dimensional model of the leader’s behavior (Stanfield, 2009). Rice’s qualities of the leader can be characterized by the following aspects: a) consistency; b) lead by example; c) awareness of the others’ needs; d) showing appreciation; e) casting a vision; f) managing authority (Stanfield, 2009). Rice can be considered a transactional leader that prefers task-oriented relationship leadership, whose main focus is established with the quality of the addressed messages (Charteris-Black, 2007). Moreover, Rice had to incorporate the elements of effective leadership communication in order to maintain her core competency, but still manage authority (Stanfield, 2009). Adaptation to the changing leadership styles depended on the situation and required Rice to maintain the qualities which are essential for a strong leader (Charteris-Black, 2007)

When Rice’s job at Bush’s administration was over, she went back to teaching at the University of Stanford, but she did not quit her leadership positions (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). Her distinguished capability has helped her to become the first ever female head of the university and second in command at school. Similarly, laterr she became the first black female to serve at the position of the President’s security adviser (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). Her latest speech concerning unrest in Syria proves that she still maintains certain qualities that are regarded essential for strong leaders (Transcript of Condoleezza Rice speech at the Republican National Convention, 2012).

Leader’s Background and Education

Condoleezza Rice was burn in Birmingham, Alabama during very segregated era (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). Both of her parents were educators, and imparted her with love to football and music (Rice, 2011). Her persistence and hard work helped her to earn doctorate in 1981 (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). Her fluency in Russian and French language helped her to become the first women to receive offer in the Center for International Security and Arms Control (Rice, 2011). In 1987 she was offered her first official position in government from a foreign policy expert Brent Scowcroft. After her success, a Colorado Democrat Gary Hart, hired Rice as an informal campaign adviser (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). During that period, she worked as a tenured professor at the University of Stanford (Rice, 2011). However, she had to quit her permanent job, when she was hired as a staff member in the National Security Council (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011).

When Rice worked with George W. Bush as an expert on Soviet and East European affairs, her duties covered analyzing the potential global threats and implementation of the strategic alliances with friendly nations (Rice, 2011). She became very close with the Bush’s family, however, she had to resign and return to the University of Stanford when her job obligations started affecting her personal life (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). Her strong leadership behavior and her influential communication style helped her to become the first ever female head of the University and made her second important person of the school’s command (Rice, 2011).

When George W. Bush asked Rice to lead his team of foreign policy advisers, in order to win as a Republican candidate for 2000 elections, she had to quit her position at the University of Stanford (Rice, 2011). She was appointed Bush’s national security adviser, after his declared winning of November election, and became the first woman ever to serve in this position for over a decade (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011).

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Nowadays when Bush’s administration is over, Condoleezza Rice still reflects her role as an effective leader working as a professor at the University of Stanford and exercising consultative communication style, whose main focus is directed at the end result (Rice, 2011).

Qualities that Make Rice a Good Leader

The most important fact of Rice’ success is her confidence that comes out in all ways (Rice, 2011). It took her long days and nights to reshape U.S. foreign policy aftermath of the September 11 attacks (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). Rice had to create new strategies to deal with Afghanistan which harbored the Islamic fundamentalist group known as Al Qaeda, and Iraq, where its leader Saddam Hussein was believed to have weapons of mass destruction (Rice, 2011). That period in Rice’s career required displaying certain qualities that are regarded essential for strong leaders, namely adapting to change and effective decision-making (Charteris-Black, 2007).

When U.S. troops stationed in Iraq in 2003 and the war was officially declared, she had to maintain open lines of communication and lead others to the completion of goals (Rice, 2011; Stanfield, 2009). These actions were extremely important when the war was over and she had to analyze the policy’s prescription in front of the Special Commission, which had suspicious that her strategic planning had failed to put the pieces together (Rice, 2011). Her cool and calm temper helped her to withstand the Commission’s attempt to disclose confidential information which was listed in the President’s Daily briefing report dated August 6, 2001 (Rice, 2011). She had to maintain core competency, while executing deficient adequacy and distinguishing capability, when the facts about Bin Laden’s determinacy to strike U.S. laid open for public inspection (Jackson, Bryman, Uhl-Bien, Collinson & Grint, 2011; Rice, 2011). These qualities enabled her to maintain confidential information open only for the President’s and Vice President’s awareness, because that information was still classified as such (Rice, 2011).

That situation required exercising seven things of the effective leader (Stanfield, 2009). These things are a) consistency, which represents conduction of overall variety of methods within a certain range; b) leading by example, which requires demonstration of decisions and responses to be made, and was exhibited by Rice ; c) realizing of other qualified experts’ importance, when Rice recognized her weaknesses and surrounded herself with people who can compensate these; d) showing of appreciation, which Rice displayed during consultative communication and through media; e) casting of vision, with which Rice generated ’ ideas and implemented them through the best strategic actions; f) managing authority, which required Rice to realize her responsibility, but maintain consultative, informative and trustworthy style of communication (Jackson et al., 2011; Rice, 2011; Stanfield, 2009).

The Things to Admire about Condoleezza Rice

Rice showed such qualities like decisiveness and utilization of ability and talent, when she finished her last year and high school and the first year at the University of Denver at the age of 15 (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). Rice is a virtuous piano player and is fluent in French and Russian (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). During her years under Bush’s administration, Rice learned how to deal with information that is incomplete manage opinions that conflict with each other, asses and accept limited resources and maintain stress-steady temper to short-time deviances, in order to take the right decision and determine its acceptable level (Rice, 2011; Stanfield, 2009).

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Moreover, she still remains a public figure and shows responsibility and accountability for her actions (Charteris-Black, 2007; Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2011). Rice is a strategic thinker that can generate any idea, based on the earned knowledge. She once compared football with strategic planning of war, concluding that taking and yielding of the territory are very common among them (Rice, 2011).

Her communication style reflects her as a stimulator of creativity and innovation (Charteris-Black, 2007; Transcript of Condoleezza Rice speech at the Republican National Convention, 2012). She pays attention to the issues of peace and free and fair trade and shows the way to resolve them. Moreover, she has to demonstrate her leadership style of communication with the help of other elements of communication than these that she had to use during predetermined situation.

Rice’ Leadership Style within the Theory and the Situation

Since Rice had a major impact upon the cultivation of knowledge, her leadership style can be assessed within the situational leadership theory (Stanfield, 2009). She had to take into account two kinds of factors that predetermined the situation, namely: a) directing, with which she had to lead the followers to the right direction; b) coaching, with which she had to generate and synthesize common ideas; c) supporting, with which she had to show her awareness and understanding of the issues; and d) delegating, with which she had to coordinate the task for particular implementers (Rice, 2011; Stanfield, 2009).

However, she can be assessed as a transactional leader, regarding aftermath September 11, 2001 attack (Jackson et al., 2011). She had to adapt her leadership style through the effective verbal communication, in order to regain respect and trust of Bush’s administration (Jackson et al., 2011; Rice, 2011). As a transactional leader, she had to work with her team members in order to develop clear, specific goals, and had to fit well with the particular need of knowledge workers (Jackson et al., 2011; Rice, 2011). She had to ensure her team members realize the importance of their effective perception of the task-oriented and relationship-oriented behavior (Jackson et al., 2011; Rice, 2011). During that stage, Rice had to adapt the consultative style, which is task-oriented and focuses on the end-result, by using the skills of others in concluding plans and taking decisions (Charteris-Black, 2007). However, she managed authority by retaining the final power of making decisions (Charteris-Black, 2007; Rice, 2011). Taking into account the situation she had to accept thoughts and ideas from the team even when they contradicted her own (Rice, 2011). Rice took up the role of a mentor and became a facilitator of the team, when she had to reshape the foreign relationship policy (Charteris-Black, 2007; Rice, 2011). It must be pointed out that it was an extremely difficult period for Rice in terms of displaying her leadership.

Communication Style and Quality of Talk

Theoretically, communication is seen as the relationship between the task of leaders and the feedback of the followers (Jackson et al., 2011). Task-oriented leadership considers the achievement of task and quantity of speech more important; whereas relationship-oriented leadership considers quality of talk more important (Charteris-Black, 2007). Regardless the fact that Rice performed task-oriented style of leadership, she still emphasized quality of communication by persuasive explicitness and rhetorical sensitivity. These facts are especially evident in her speech where she interrogated America’s position regarding Russia’s and China’s neglect on the Syria’s crisis (Transcript of Condoleezza Rice speech at the Republican National Convention, 2012). Rice can also be assessed as an effective leader with the such positive communication styles as informative clarity of communication and trustworthiness by listening and engaging with others (Charteris-Black, 2007; Transcript of Condoleezza Rice speech at the Republican National Convention, 2012). She assessed US Army’s bravery as the main source of foundation of liberty, when she addressed the crucial issue from the angle of the effective leadership (Transcript of Condoleezza Rice speech at the Republican National Convention, 2012). Therefore, in order to address the most important issue of the global safety and security, the leader must know what ethical tools to use.

Ethics of the Leadership Communication

The most stressing conditions of the communication require leaders to remain calm and cool and use ethics in their speech. While making her speech, Rice always addressed the elements of leadership communication such as a) inspiration, when she informed the nation of the importance of reassuring friends and allies of the United States’ reliability and trustworthiness; b) role modeling, when she paid attention to the intolerance of the abandonment of the field of free and fair trade; c) intellectual stimulation, when she triggered audience perception while bringing on a comparison of China and America; d) appeals of higher-order needs, when she persisted on the nation’s desires and needs of better political system and life-style; e) high-expectation and collective identity, when she stressed importance of availability of the natural resources in North America (Charteris-Black, 2007; Transcript of Condoleezza Rice speech at the Republican National Convention, 2012).

Moreover, Rice used non-linguistic communication style by her selective preferences of dress-code and make-up, and verbal communication – by using temper-controlled and ethical speech (Charteris-Black, 2007; Rice, 2011). Therefore, it can be pointed out that throughout her political experience, Rice had to adjust to and adapt various leadership styles regarding communication and situations.


Condoleezza Rice’s importance as a leader was determined by her capability and intelligence to make crucial amendments to the foreign policy, during the period of America’s instability and citizens’ distrust. Rice’s confidence and cool and calm temper helped her to withstand pressing critics and interrogations of the political environment. That environment demanded that Rice adapt to change and create effective decision-making procedures. She had to maintain core competency, but still manage authority. In order to establish herself as an effective leader and adviser, she had to exercise the consultative leadership style of deficient adequacy and distinguished capability.

Rice can be admired for ability to deal with incomplete information when she has to make decisions, based on her intelligence and expertise; capability to generate and synthesize conflicting opinions, in order to make the best choice; and ability to manage short-time fuses, while staying stress-steady. Rice can be assessed as a strategic thinker that stimulates creativity and innovation. According to the situation leadership theory, Rice had exercised effective actions of a strong leader, such as directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating. Moreover, she played a role of transactional leader after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City and the Pentagon. Adaptation to this leadership style enabled her to develop clear and specific goals with her team members and followers in order to address issues of terrorism.

Within the communication leadership theory, Rice was engaged in the task-oriented relationship leadership, which pays greater attention to the importance of quantity of speech. However, she had to stay flexible to the possible changes and had to emphasize persuasive explicitness and rhetorical sensitivity. For those purposes, she had to use effective elements of communication which were focused on the inspiration of the followers, comparison of assessed role modeling, collective identity and equality, high-expectation of changes, intellectual stimulation of thinking and synthesis of addressed information and appealing of the standards’ requirements and needs of higher order.

Regardless the fact that Condoleezza Rice had resigned from the position in the U.S. government and went back to teaching at the University of Stanford, she still remains a prominent political figure that represents strong leadership qualities. Even at her University environment she has earned prominent influence by effective stimulation and motivation of her followers. Her persistence, hard work and concentration always help her gain respect from the influential politicians and get access to the desired job positions.

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