People become leaders in many different ways. They may have been appointed a leadership position, or they may have demonstrated enough skill and knowledge so they are able to emerge into a leadership role. Sometimes, there can be a combination of the two. They demonstrated a great deal of knowledge, skill, and passion for something long enough that followers appointed them power to allow a chance to spark some action. This is exactly how Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to become the Governor of California.
Schwarzenegger has had multiple successful careers that have given him a well-rounded background and enabled people from multiple cultural, educational, and occupational backgrounds to look to him as a leader in many different aspects. This paper will reflect and discuss the accomplishments and failures of Schwarzenegger’s past and present leadership roles and will predict some possibilities he may be capable of in any future positions. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Early Years Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Graz, Austria on July 30th, 1947. He always showed interest in sports, and was a promising soccer player.
While training to become a better high school athlete, Schwarzenegger discovered his passion for what would bring his world to life: body building. He began to study more about anatomy and nutrition to fully understand how the body worked and how to train in order to have the best results. Schwarzenegger’s main goal throughout all of his training was to someday be able to leave his country and become successful in America. After graduating high school in 1965, Schwarzenegger joined the Austrian army in hopes to save some money for his move to the United States.
During his enlisted time, he entered and won his first bodybuilding competition and became Mr. Junior Europe. However, he left his army base without permission in order to compete and was sentence to one year in the brig. Once he was released, Schwarzenegger resumed his training and would spend up to five hours a day in the gym (“Arnold Schwarzenegger biography,” 2011). The years of training finally paid off when Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Universe title in 1967. Schwarzenegger was, and still is, the youngest person to win this title.
He was well on his way of achieving his dream of coming to America, since the following year’s competition was to take place in Miami, Florida (“Arnold Schwarzenegger biography,” 2011). Schwarzenegger did not win the competition in 1968. However, his personal drive and passion towards weightlifting, along with his young age, caught the eye of Joe Weider. Joe Weirder was the founder of Muscle Fitness magazine, creator the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB), and also the creator of the Mr. Olympia competition (“Bodybuilding Special,” 2011).
Weider asked Schwarzenegger if he could be his personal trainer, and as such would allow Schwarzenegger to move and live with him in the United States. Schwarzenegger’s dreams had come true in a heartbeat, and he immediately moved in with Weirder. The following year at the competition, Schwarzenegger reclaimed his crown as Mr. Universe. He did not stop there. Schwarzenegger and Weider dedicated ten years to training and competing, and were able to dominate almost all of the body building competitions, including Mr. Universe, Mr. World, and Mr. Olympian (“Bodybuilding Special,” 2011).
Along with training, Schwarzenegger wanted to show he had both brains and brawn. So while he wasn’t in the weight room training, he was in classes at the University of Wisconsin, Superior. He graduated with a degree in business and economics in 1979 (“Mr. California,” 2003). Since Schwarzenegger had studied so much about bodybuilding and nutrition, he was able to write his own articles about training and health that were published in fitness magazines. He is widely credited for helping to popularize the bodybuilding sport. By making his competence about his sport nown, people respected him as more than just a muscle man. They realized how credible he was which added to his ability to influence other lifters or spectators. In 1977, Schwarzenegger was asked to be featured in a documentary about bodybuilding called Pumping Iron. This is when Schwarzenegger had his first taste of Hollywood life and set his sights on a new career: acting. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Acting Years The first few years of Schwarzenegger’s film career, he played minor roles that did not require any lines or much acting, just big muscles.
Schwarzenegger’s first lead role was in Conan the Barbarian. This film still wanted to show the strength Schwarzenegger depicted, but not his acting ability. Even though critics tore the movie apart with the hard-to-understand accent, the audiences loved it. It was a box office hit and landed Schwarzenegger his next huge movie: The Terminator. He had a total of seventy-four words throughout the movie, but the robot monotone voice had people flocking to see the film. Although Schwarzenegger has appeared in 28 movies, he will always be known for his famous line in The Terminator “I’ll be back” (Russel, 2010).
Schwarzenegger played in movies that portrayed him as the tough hero and also the comedian. No matter what his role was in the movies, he always had his Austrian accent. His agent tried to talk him into losing it all together, but Schwarzenegger wanted to keep it because “it was part of what he was, and in a way was his own signature” (“Arnold Schwarzenegger biography,” 2011). By not allowing people to take away a major part of who he was, Schwarzenegger showed a true side of character from which people respected. Many other actors would have easily been talked into losing their accent in order to be more flexible with role options.
Schwarzenegger’s characters always allowed him to put a bit of himself in the movies, and his own little spin which allowed people to “get to know” him. Schwarzenegger’s personality would often come through his characters, whether it was from his accent or a slight smirk he would sneak in unintentionally during a scene. Even though Schwarzenegger became a millionaire by the time he was 22, he did not waste his money. He had been investing it for years in real estate, several businesses, and was a huge investor in the chain restaurant Planet Hollywood (Russel, 2010).
Schwarzenegger was constantly showing what a smart business man and investor he was. He had people’s admiration on multiple levels for his accomplishments and desires to be more than just a body builder and famous actor. Schwarzenegger seemed to have it all, but he was not even close to being done surprising the nation. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Political Beginnings In 1987, Schwarzenegger married Maria Shriver, who was the daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver (Mr. California, 2003). Schwarzenegger was known as a sturdy Republican, and Shriver a full blood Democratic.
Many did not think the relationship would last, but their continual support for one another has allowed the couple to remain strong. They have four children; two girls, and two boys and live in Sacramento, California (Rippley, 2005). The couple has been very committed to politics and social issues. They spend a large amount of time and money for the Special Olympics. They have begun to provide trainers and sponsors for the annual athletic competitions for those children and adults who have special needs. The Schwarzenegger’s have jumped huge hurdles for opening programs in almost 150 countries (Rippley, 2005).
Schwarzenegger serves as Special Olympics International Weight Trainer, and was appointed the by George W. Bush to be the chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS). As stated on the home page of PCPFS, the mission of this committee is to “engage, educate and empower all Americans across the lifespan to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition” (“Presidents council on,” 2000). Schwarzenegger resigned his position on the council in 1993 when Bill Clinton took over as the President (“Presidents council on,” 2000).
During the 90’s, Schwarzenegger focused his influential power on helping promote programs for students. At the time, funds for school programs were being cut to help with California’s huge economic deficiency. Schwarzenegger’s desire to be a family man and promote the overall well-being for other children in their schools drew much attention to his ability in politics, as well as an overall public speaker. Rumors began to rise he would put his name in for the next Governor of California against Democrat Gray Davis (Poychuk, 2011).
Gray Davis, who had more than twenty years as a Governor, more recently in California, was losing popularity at a rapid pace because of the lack of budgeting control, constant electric black outs across the state, and the overall sagging economy. Although Davis was trying to help the budget deficiency, the places he was taking money from were exactly where Schwarzenegger wanted to put money back in. While Schwarzenegger was very vocal about his discontent with these changes, his intent was not to cause so many problems and dissatisfaction for the Governor, he was just fighting for what he thought was right.
For the first time in California’s history, people were campaigning for a recall of Davis. People were certain there would be a special election, and he would quickly be replaced. At the height of the action, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on August 6th, 2003, on The Tonight Show that he too would run for California’s Governor (A good start, 2004). Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Governor Campaign Schwarzenegger ran in a very nontraditional way as far as interviews and slogans, but what did people expect from the already famous bodybuilder, actor, and family man?
Instead of simply making public appearances and repetitive speeches about what he was going to do what was best for California’s people, he did interviews with Oprah Winfrey on her afternoon talk show, and Howard Stern, a disc jockey well known for his outrageous radio antics. Additionally, Schwarzenegger sprinkled each of his interviews with tag lines from his movies, such as saying “Hasta la vista” to new taxes, and calling himself the “Collectionator” because of his goals to have more federal bailing because of California’s economic crisis (Junod, 2009).
Schwarzenegger allowed his personality to shine with reporters, and often made jokes during interviews. He showed his confidence and communication skills as a leader to get things done. Schwarzenegger had clearly grown into this influential leader with his well rounded background, transmitting his values for family, and his desire to lead California into a better future. His credibility had people following him with respect and hope to better fulfill the state’s needs. However, critics tried to bring his campaign down.
In Time, the journalist Kevin O’Leary commented “California may need a hero, but no one was going to give him a ray gun so he could blow up the deficit” (O’Leary, 2010). Schwarzenegger being well accustomed to critics from having spent years in Hollywood was never fazed by the comments of any of the reporters who attacked his background or political standing. Regardless of if the reporters were trying to support or ruin Schwarzenegger’s campaign, one thing was certain, they always enjoyed their time with the businessman.
He would have huge media only barbeques at the Sacramento baseball park, and take pictures with the reporters so they could remember the day (“Arnold Schwarzenegger biography,” 2011). Many reporters wrote about their encounters with Schwarzenegger saying “you never could tell if he was kidding or being serious,” “he knew how to play head games but you can’t help but be mesmerized by his charm and intimated by his size all at once,” and “he is very flirtatious with both females and males, he really knows how to work his audience” (Delsohn & Talev, 2005).
Junod, writer for Esquire magazine called it “the Arnold experience,” no one was ever sure what they were going to get when they spent any time with the man (Junod, 2009). Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor On October 8th, 2003, Schwarzenegger was voted in as the new Governor of California with a 48. 6 percent on the vote (Schrag, 2007). Schwarzenegger commented after his swearing in he knew a lot of people had voted for him strictly because he was well known and liked him as an actor.
Schwarzenegger stated “I am going to make it my own responsibility not to let any of the people down” (Poychuk, 2011). Everyone knew he would be watched very closely during the first few days in office. He met and exceeded many expectations. Schwarzenegger went right to work to lower California taxes and was highly thought of for trying to have California Republicans and Democrats work together on the budget problems so both sides could be happy. Schwarzenegger’s Proposition 57 was the first huge budget slash to take place.
This would allow the state to use bonds with low-interest, long term loans to help ease the $15 billion debt. Although this did not work out the way it was projected to, it was the first of many attempts, which was more then what the people could say about the previous Governor (A good start, 2004). Family and children’s issues have been a huge part of Schwarzenegger’s life altogether, as that’s how he really got started as Governor in the first place. It comes to no surprise then family issues are what he continued to focus on even after in office as Governor.
One issue he put a lot of time into was the Video Software Dealers Association v. Schwarzenegger. In October of 2005, the law was passed “any persons who sell violent video games to minors are subject to civil penalties of up to $1,000” (Wood, 2009). Schwarzenegger believed these games to have serious effects on young children who were not old enough to know that what you can do in games is not what you can do in real life. Many people believe taking these games off the markets for young children will reduce school violence.
The Video Software Dealers Association quickly went to work to fight the law. They claimed it put restrictions on speech and it was a variable obscenity approach in the context of violent media and was not based on purely factual evidence. This was not the first time this law had tried to be passed, however it was slightly ridiculed that Schwarzenegger, a violent movie actor, had tried to pass the law. It was rejected on the grounds of the First Amendment and was further justified American parents had the right to raise their children in whatever way they choose.
The California Governor pressed on for changes for the state. In 2007, Schwarzenegger fought hard on a countrywide problem: health insurance. According to The Washington Post, plans came to address major issues of having those with previous medical problems and older age receiving health insurance (Geis, & Lee, 2007). His plans also addressed having illegal immigrants being required by the state to be covered. Anyone who does not abide by this law would face serious penalty charges especially in the form of having more taxes taken out of their checks.
Schwarzenegger’s plan also included reducing taxes on doctors so they would still be receiving similar payments, but since the majority of the payments would come from insurance companies, reducing the taxes would allow the entire system to run smoothly (Geis, & Lee, 2007). Healthcare issues have been around for over 100 years, and with Schwarzenegger being a family man, he wanted to ensure all families are able to be taken care of any medical incidents which would occur. Studies reported in The Washington Post tell over 6. million people in California alone are not covered under any type of insurance (Geis, & Lee, 2007). This healthcare plan allows all uninsured California residents to become insured, and it pumps money into the healthcare system as well. By addressing the major healthcare issue and making it part of the law illegal immigrants are covered as well, Schwarzenegger was able to reach out to a different ethnic group he had struggled to make a strong connection with. Although he was aware illegal immigrants could not vote, he did open the doors to the Hispanic population.
Over 37 percent of California’s population is Latino, so making a connection with this large group was a huge accomplishment the past Governor was never able to achieve (Schrag, 2007). Parts of the Governor’s healthcare plan were passed by the state voters, but are still awaiting legislation approval. The largest part Schwarzenegger is fighting for is covering all children, legal or illegal (Schrag, 2007). Fifty six percent had voted for this change which shows the growing acceptance of the impact that immigrants have on these types of reforms (Schrag, 2007).
Keep in mind illegal immigrants cannot vote for these changes, so these are all people who believe strictly in this change of policy, not those trying to gain benefits illegally. These policies also bring up the issues of better education for all children. If you invest money into them to keep them healthy, you should educate them so they can later contribute back to the country. These kids, legal and illegal, are the future of the nation, and need to be looked at as a wise investment. Although Schwarzenegger was making some huge efforts to change things for California, the process was slow and people were becoming aggravated.
His popularity was beginning to drop, but most people believe considering the condition California was in, Schwarzenegger was doing better than any other candidate would have performed. He finally got a break when he signed the SB 375, calling it “landmark legislation that would put California on the leading edge of climate change policy,” (Lampert, 2009). This fight against global warming act was changed from the 2006, SB 375 act by focusing it more on land and transportation policies, and giving the State’s greenhouse gas enforcers specific ways to achieve the reduction of transportation emission (Lampert, 2009).
Since there were specific guidelines given, the enforcers ended up reducing costs for the act. By Schwarzenegger addressing issues on more than family life he was able to reach out to another group of voters who are more focused on the environment. Although Schwarzenegger was able to reach out to many different types of voters, his ratings quickly dropped when he was unable to produce any tax relief results. Given the condition of California’s economy when he came into office, very few people would have been able to succeed in any tax relief.
Schwarzenegger tried to accomplish issues many other officials tried to steer clear of. He would try any means possible to accomplish what he wanted. His determination was always noted, and his poise in handling situations and not allowing feuds with other politicians gained mutual respect with his own Republican Party as well as the Democratic Party. Schwarzenegger has often times been compared to President Ronald Regan because of their similar determination level and the ability to communicate and connect with voters. Ronald Regan and Arnold Schwarzenegger also have many similarities.
They were both actors, both Republicans, and both were Governors of California. Schwarzenegger and Reagan share similar leadership styles as well. Both focused on the people and what they needed, they were very strong public speakers, and both had the passion for politics that allowed others to be drawn toward them (Ott, 2003). These comparisons have been made ever since Schwarzenegger started running for Governor of California. It is interesting Reagan is Schwarzenegger’s hero. In an article of USA Today, Schwarzenegger writes about how Reagan has been his hero and inspiration since he was an immigrant. Reagan was the first person I voted for after moving to the states. He inspired me and made me even prouder to be a new American,” (Schwarzenegger, 2004). Arnold’s role model has helped push him into what he has become for the political realm. Many consider Schwarzenegger as “something of a political novelty,” (A good start, 2004). He has been able to make a clear concept of freedom and extend it to the people’s personal lives. Having Reagan as a role model helped Schwarzenegger push to be more then what he may have otherwise been. Analysis of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Leadership
Leadership qualities is not something that Schwarzenegger has had much of a problem establishing. His bodybuilding career created the reputation of being dedicated and passionate. Leadership: A Communication Perspective, discusses that a passionate leader is committed to their work and love their job and have a great deal of affection for the people they work with (Michael & Johnson, p. 120). Schwarzenegger had many fans because of his accomplishments, but made a great number of relationships because of the passion they all shared for the sport.
They trusted his ability to teach them more about how to make their bodies stronger and he encouraged them by training with them and writing articles to help those who were committed to becoming fit. When Schwarzenegger began performing in movies, he showed even more of his “character” when he refused to lose his Austrian accent to make him more suited for different roles. Not allowing fame and fortune to take away a huge part of someone’s identity, is a risky chance to take. Many people loved Schwarzenegger more because of his accent and it made him stick out to the audience.
The individual identity he kept allowed people to create a connection with him for not allowing people to change his past and who he really was. This also shows the values Schwarzenegger had to maintain his ethnic background which reinforced and transmitted his true values of identity to audiences (Michael & Johnson, p. 24-25). While being Governor, Schwarzenegger was able to use his past successes and credibility to demonstrate his ability to lead California. His competence of what the people of California needed was communicated, and although he fought to change and implement many laws few worked in his favor.
Schwarzenegger did not lose trust from the community. He would try any honest means he could to help get the state out of the economic crisis. His focus on family matters and healthcare won him a lot of support because it was something Schwarzenegger had also openly communicated about. Having his position as Governor, finally gave him the chance to influence the government in a way many others had not. His passion for the things he fought for gave him even more power among voters, and he had the position to make those changes. The dynamism he voiced his beliefs and truly earned his leadership position (Michael & Johnson, p. 67). Conclusion What’s next for this multimillionaire, well rounded, muscle-man? Many have begun to speculate if he will go for Presidency (“Arnold Schwarzenegger biography,” 2011). Although Schwarzenegger was not born in the states, with all of his accomplishments and ability to continue to shock the world, it would not be a surprise if he were somehow able to change the Constitution and become the President. Schwarzenegger’s authoritarian leadership style and the influence he has been able to spread across the world to get things in California moving have made him a notable leader.
Communicating who he is, and transmitting those values into the people he works with and who vote for him, as well as fostering collaboration from all angles has made Arnold Schwarzenegger a successful leader.
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