A Bridge Too Far

Avery Rowland 

Professor Powell 


11 October 2019


A Bridge Too Far

Path-goal theory studies how leaders motivate their followers to reach designated goals. Two types of leadership behaviors in the Path-Goal theory are Directive and Achievement-Oriented Leadership. Directive leadership “characterizes a leader who gives followers instructions about their task, including what is expected of them, how it is to be done, and the timeline for when it should be completed( Northouse, 120). Achievement-Oriented Leadership “is characterized by a leader who challenges followers to perform work at the highest level possible”(Northouse, 120). In “A Bridge Too Far”, many complicated orders and operations are put underway. To motivate his followers, Lieutenant General “Boy” Browning uses directive and achievement-oriented leadership to reach his designated goal. 

Lieutenant General “Boy” Browning uses Directive and Achievement Oriented Leadership when describing the plan for Operation Market Garden to his Generals. During the scene, Browning uses directive achievement by “set[ting]clear standards of performance and mak[ing] the rules and regulations clear to followers” (Northouse, 120). He gives each General a clear and straightforward plan of what he expects of them, how they should carry out procedures, and a timeline for how long the operation should last. By giving clear directions and laying out all the details to the Generals, they have “the clarity needed to focus on their jobs” (Northouse 120). Similarly, Browning uses Achievement-oriented leadership in this scene. Browning “show[s] a high degree of confidence that [his] followers are capable of establishing and accomplishing challenging goals” (Northouse, 120). When questioned about the amount of time before the pursuing of the operation, Browning states with full confidence that if they attack sooner, it will be better. He does not doubt the men’s ability to defeat the Germans and forces them to work at their highest level possible. Both leadership methods of the Path-Goal Theory are used by Browning to push his men to achieve the commencement and completion of Operation Market Garden.

Browning was able to demonstrate the proper use of the Path-Goal Theory when describing Operation Market Garden. By extensively outlining the attack and expressing confidence in his followers, Browning created motivation within them which allowed them to go through with the operation.  Operation Market Garden is ultimately considered a failure of World War Two and was predicted to have many hardships. Nevertheless, Browning was able to motivate his generals to pursue the operation, exhibiting the appropriate and effective use of the Path-Goal Theory. 

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