Leadership Perspective: Analysis of Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The story setting is in the midst of an unspecified nuclear war. The characters are ordinary students and others boys who are brought in as a musical choir under a reputable leader. Most of them except the choirboys seem not to have ever met before. The book explores the character of a group of boys, to see if they will follow Ralph, who is a democratic leader or Jack, who is a dictator.
Ralph was amid the first few characters cited in the story and he swiftly takes to the responsibility of assembling the surviving boys from a plane crash by calling out to all those that are in the area. He chooses leading with a style that bestows people with freedom of opinion. (Golding p.12).
Ralph happens not to be the only boy looking forward to lead the boys. Jack parades his band members at the platform where Ralph is making the decision on what needs to be done to ensure their survival (Golding p.15-16). Jack, a cruel and dominating person, tries to inflict fear onto the boys so as to gain his own power. He embarks on opposing Ralph’s ideas about starting a fire and picking fruit, as a way of making himself appear bigger and tough (Golding p.22).
Lord of the Flies can be viewed as a political allegory. As World War II ended, two groups- the “free world” and the Soviet Union existed. These two groups can be compared with the two leaders, Ralph and Jack. The characters also signify different types of leaders and could symbolize varying political parties. The behavior of the boys on the island and the suffering they underwent warns the world leaders against the use atomic bomb and other harmful weapons in war.
William Golding showed that it is wrong to think that evil is only found in other nations. Most people believe that at the end of a war all bad things are shattered. Golding, however, points out the existence of evil in all of us. He imagines the events in Germany and believes that it can ensue in any country – hence the reason why each symbol in “Lord of the Flies” has a good and an evil plane. The struggle between good and evil goes on even today, and will take long to stop.
Due to the continued struggle for power between Ralph and Jack, a vote is suggested by one of the boys and Ralph’s autonomous and systematic style of leadership was elected and he became the group’s leader. Jack does not accept defeat and hence tries to out compete Ralph by making his group have fun from hunting. When the boys decided to go to Jack’s group, it led to chaos. Jack’s group resulted into bringing death to others, as they murdered and destroyed stuff, without having a second thought. Although at first Ralph’s democratic leadership style didn’t work out, he still managed to keep them together, having only a few problems to deal with. Ralph’s society triumphed as the stranded boys on the island were saved by smoke signals, as his group based its main ideas upon it.
Ralph had to learn a lot at the start of the story, but as it approaches the end, his lessons pay off. Ralph’s style of leading was the best route to follow, as democracy is government by the people, for the people, and with the people (Golding p. 14). It is therefore clear that Ralph’s leadership style is than Jack’s hence it is true that democratic society prevails better in both stable environment or in war.
The resolution was right because Ralph’s democratic style gave group members equal chances to air their views and hence helped the boys come up with an idea that saved them from the island. The boys are rescued by a naval commander who comes ashore in his boat as he was heading to war but was distracted by the fire lit by Jacks group.
Kouzes and Posners which identifies the following critical practices that leaders must employ to be successful is applied in the leadership of The Lord of Flies. They include: Model the Way, Ralph tells the group to build the shelters but does not get involved while Jack is actively involved in hunting process for food; Inspire Vision, Ralph was hopeful that his rescue dream would come to pass while Jack focused on surviving only; Enable Others to Act, Ralph tells his group to get busy building huts and to follow the rules and entrusts his group with the task; Challenge the Process ,Ralph was a problem solver while Jack was the artisan who relied on what they could get their hands on when the group needed meat and protection; and Encourages the Heart, Ralph, took responsibility seriously, respected people, and cared for their needs without giving up.
Golding’s brought it out clearly that one personality cannot effectively lead a society. Citizens with different leadership styles need the blend to properly run a country. The group had four different types of leaders with different leadership styles.
Simon the guardian follows the rules, takes responsibility seriously and respects people, and cares for their needs. His traits made him a good leader when the building shelters and caring for the little ones was involved. Ralph was the idealist who felt that he had the obligation to be honest and not to sacrifice his morals while imagining the best for others. He maintained the rescue dream alive and was the best leader for keeping the boys focused on the future. Jack was interested in what could quickly pay off even if they have to bend the rules and with that he provided the group with meat and protection when needed. Piggy was pragmatic and sought effective answers hence he came up with the idea of the conch as a gathering horn.
Golding W. (1954) Lord of the Flies Queen Square Faber & Faber. London