Admiral Arleigh Burke’s Leadership Style Analysis


Military leadership is essential for the success of a country in war. The strategies used in the war reflect the leadership approaches used by the leader in command. It is with great concern that we have an overview of the leadership in the US Navy. To deeply analyze the leadership, will use one of the leaders in the Navy as a skeleton to reference a theory that best describes their leadership skills and style. The analysis of Admiral Arleigh Burke’s leadership style provides an overview of the success of his leadership style and a foundation to recommend the effective leadership style to fit the US Navy.

Admiral Arleigh Burke’s Leadership

Admiral Arleigh Burke set exemplary leadership skills and styles during World War II, and his leadership tenure is characterized by a strategic approach to solving complex issues. According to Wirtz et al. (2021), a study explained how Arleigh Burke incorporated the use of nuclear missile submarines nationally as a strategic leader, and nuclear propulsion became popular in the US under his watch. Admiral Arleigh left a symbolic figure of culture and morale to deal with any ambiguity degree. Wirtz et al. (2021) explain how Burke transformed the military from the era of propellers and bullets to a technological age of using missiles and jets. The era transition left a record that is yet to break.

Leadership Theory Matching Admiral Arleigh Burke’s Leadership

Admiral Arleigh Burke’s leadership can fall under various leadership theories depending on one’s approach and understanding of the applicable theories. In my perspective, the administration of Admiral Arleigh Burke lies in the contingency theory and power and influence theory. The theories enumerate the power and influence Admiral Arleigh Burke had in the military to introduce new attacking strategies and how dynamic and diversifying it was to employ the strategy.

Based on Admiral Arleigh Burke’s leadership, the most fitting theory to his style is the power and influence theory. According to Curtis (2018), the theory focuses on how leaders use power and influence to enhance the success or functioning of their teams. The use of power characterized his leadership manifested to him by the US government as Admiral of the Navy. He influenced the change in military attacking design from bullets and propellers to missiles and jets.

Admiral Arleigh Burke’s leadership is a reference point on how leaders can strategically use the influence of their powers. The principal activities that led to the symbolic leadership were made possible because he used powers within himself to make a critical decision. Through the use of power, he influenced the team to obey the commands; thus, his leadership skills conform to power and influence theory.

The Success or Failure of Admiral Arleigh Burke’s Leadership Style

Admiral Arleigh Burke’s leadership style was a success with several variables. He left a legacy that is giving many leaders a challenge to break. He is a prolific standard leveled strategic leader with significant contributions to the US Navy. His leadership was not perfect, but the positive contributions he made outdo the negative part of the leadership. The leadership style of Admiral was a success, considering the achievements he made in transforming the military.

Admiral Arleigh Burke had an outstanding war combat strategy that contributed to the victories in the South Pacific during World War II and Korean War. According to Donnelly et al. (2018), Admiral’s innovative combat styles became the destroyer of all times, and throughout his leadership, he pocked several trophies and awards. The administration was based on the influence of power with a strategic approach to the situation. Arleigh Burke, as he rose through the leadership rank in the military, he had outstanding success in the positions he held.

Applicable Leadership Style in the Navy

Leadership is a greater responsibility, and every leader has a preferred strategy, but leadership style comes in handy to achieve the target goal. When choosing the most effective leadership style to enhance a team’s success, the consideration must be made on how the style affects the unity and loyalty of the subjects to the organization (Martínez-Córcoles &Stephanou, 2017). These styles are primarily guided by the leadership theories inherent. The leadership styles in question relating to the Navy settings are transactional, autocratic, and transformational. Power and influence theory is the most preferred leadership style because, in military settings, it is all about power and its influence.


The autocratic leadership style involves centralizing power to oneself and taking control of decision-making. Transformational leadership focuses on encouraging subordinates to participate in decision-making. Transactional leadership defines the structure, outcomes, appreciations, and penalties. The leadership style is applicable but opting for the effective one. Transactional leadership style fits the style that the Navy should consider effective.

It is because it focuses on organization, leadership, and performance. In the military setting, information must flow from top to bottom, and the transactional style is suitable for immediate reaction to orders. The transactional leadership style tends to accommodate some traits, including establishing a standard and rewards, setting goals, admitting wrongs, and establishing a learning environment. The transactional leadership style seems effective since it focuses on structure, achievements, rewards, and penalties.


Curtis, G. J. (2018). Connecting influence tactics with full-range leadership styles. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 39(1), 2-13.

Donnelly, M. G., Sanderson, T., & Fellman, M. (2018). Foreign fighters in history. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Martínez-Córcoles, M., & Stephanou, K. (2017). Linking active transactional leadership and safety performance in military operations. Safety Science, 96, 93-101.

Wirtz, J., Kline, J., Pournelle, P., & Augier, M. (2021). The maritime strategic imperative. The RUSI Journal, 166(3), 34-44.

Cite this paper

Select style


DemoEssays. (2023, January 1). Admiral Arleigh Burke's Leadership Style Analysis. Retrieved from


DemoEssays. (2023, January 1). Admiral Arleigh Burke's Leadership Style Analysis.

Work Cited

"Admiral Arleigh Burke's Leadership Style Analysis." DemoEssays, 1 Jan. 2023,


DemoEssays. (2023) 'Admiral Arleigh Burke's Leadership Style Analysis'. 1 January.


DemoEssays. 2023. "Admiral Arleigh Burke's Leadership Style Analysis." January 1, 2023.

1. DemoEssays. "Admiral Arleigh Burke's Leadership Style Analysis." January 1, 2023.


DemoEssays. "Admiral Arleigh Burke's Leadership Style Analysis." January 1, 2023.