Throughout wartime history, a vast array of Generals, Lieutenants, and Majors, have been wildly successful despite wildly different approaches to leadership. Throughout World War II and the movie “A Bridge Too Far,” Lt. General Browning proved to be a great leader with a successful regiment due to his relationships with his subordinates. Lt. General Browning had an impressive “in-group” who helped him make essential combat decisions accompanied by a powerful “out-group” who carried out these plans with courage and strength.
At the beginning of the movie, Lt. General Browning led the discussion about new steps of action against the German forces. In a small room, surrounded by his “in-group” Lt. General Browning, explains the importance of taking Arnhem from the Germans. Thus, operation Market Garden was born, and it may be the key to gaining some ground and winning World War II. Part of being in the “in-group” allowed for “extra influence,” and many men, such as Major General Sosabowski, took advantage of this influence. Major General Sosabowski expressed his concern about Operation Market Garden, the plan to take the bridge to Arnhem. Stating that if the allied forces knew how crucial Arnhem was to the war, that “[the Germans] might know it too.” Despite Lt. General Browning’s lack of action given Major General Sosabowski’s concerns, Lt. General Browning listened and kept this threat in mind as the allied forces moved forward with Operation Markey Garden. Thus, the “in-group” allows members to have more influence and have “high-quality exchanges” that lead to better outcomes. Given that everyone in Lt. General Browning’s “in-group” was reasonably high up in military rankings, everyone was very well educated and well versed in military combat. Therefore, as a group, they were able to come to knowledgeable decisions.
Lt. General Browning had an impressive reputation as the “father of the British Airborne Forces.” As for his “out-group,” the British Airborne forces played a significant role in World War II and an especially great role in Operation Market Garden. The very ability for allied forces to get near Arnhem and see the operation through was possible given the capability to begin marching from across enemy lines. The British Airborne Forces dropped soldiers, jeeps, tanks, and any and every supply the allied forces would need to take control of the bridge to Arnhem. Whether the dropping men and supplies or bombs to combat the enemy fire, the airborne troops saved many regiments and allowed for the operation to be seen all the way through. In fact, Lt. General Browning had so much faith in his men; he claimed that “Only the weather [could] stop [them].” Due to his mutually respectful relationship with his “out-group” of courageous and diligent men and pilots, his plans were always successful.
Overall, the Leader-Member Exchange Theory, as modeled by Lt. General Browning, is a purposeful and productive leadership style that creates positive outcomes from its structure. Lt. General Browning’s “in-group” provided him with the input needed to edit plans and finalize reliable operations. Lt. General Browning’s “out-group” allowed him to complete these operations masterfully. Given his role as the “father of the British Airborne Forces,” without a dependable leadership method, World War II could have played out much differently.