There are more similarities than differences when it comes to the leadership styles of John Puller and Julie Carson in David Baldacci’s novel ‘The Forgotten’.
Puller is an enlisted Army ranger and combat veteran who currently serves as an agent of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. Puller is a dedicated soldier. His determination and motivation to know the truth is stronger than most enlisted men who are trained to except things as they are without question. Puller’s modesty shows in the fact that he recognizes his rank within the Army. He does not TRY to take the lead on anything, yet the role usually is pushed upon him due to his abilities, skills, and work ethic. He has no problem following the rules until the rules impend upon his mission, and the mission is always first. Puller is resourceful and independent. According to Baldacci, Puller holds his cards close and takes the brunt of the work. He relies very little on others partly because he does not fully trust the motivates and abilities of others. However, one you gain his loyalty it runs deep. Once Puller does trusts another person it is because they have proven themselves to be worth, honorable, and reliable.
Carson is one-star general stationed at the Pentagon in the J-2 Office. She is the Vice-Chair of the Joint Chiefs and gives daily briefings in the absence of the Chair. Like Puller, she is hardworking and always dedicated to the mission. She is less likely to break the rules. Carson has a better understanding the political side of things and therefore “goes along to get along”. However, she will not compromise on her integrity. She must be able to :look herself in the mirror” after every made decision. Unlike Puller, Carson is in a management position due to her higher rank, but does not micromanage. She believes that the “best generals let their people do what they do best”. Carson is a team player who is quick to assist others including enlisted men. As a result, she is loved by both rank and file.
The most important thing about both of these fictional beings is their moral character. Puller and Carson have a strong sense of right and wrong. Ultimately their moral compass is what leads them and is how they leader others.