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The Role of Leadership or Authority in Ender’s Game

Ender and Graff treat Bean uniquely. He mostly regards Bean because of his unique capabilities. He discloses to them that he does not know what to do or what he is told. As he aims to be a strong commander, he supports the endeavors.

Ender is highly empathetic. On the other hand, Bean is not. The differences that exist between Bean and Ender are due to distrust. Ender has to conform to Bean’s unique capabilities. Graff does not trust Graff. However, he is keen on his unique capabilities, in which he puts assigns Bean a special unit because he understands he is just smart. In this case, it can be pointed out that Ender and Bean have the same unique capabilities.

Graff gives Ender the Dragon Army. Assigning Bean a unique special squad implies that Ender wants to promote the army. He understands that, despite the differences, specialty and competency should not be compromised. Since Bean is good in everything he does, he understands that the army will improve. Bean is an excellent person who performs exceptionally well. Ender regularly congratulates Bean, but Graff publicly praises him. He even helps them in the activities. The card states, “I will be controlling the enemy simulation. At first, you will see situations you are supposed to win handily (213).” As Ender says good things about Bean, it is clear that he secretly admires his capabilities. In that way, Ender slowly enhances his relationship with Bean. They forge a unique friendship that makes Bean spend a night with Ender. What is surprising is that Graff would never forge such a relationship with Ender. He even threatens that he cannot befriend him because his work does not need him to do so.

The ironic thing is that Ender willingly cares about Bean more than Graff is willing to do, even when Ender starts by treating him uniquely. In an honest way, Ender illustrates that he can care despite their huge differences. He complies with expectations and treats Ender in the best possible way. Thus, even when Ender takes his new army to the battle room, Ender and Bean treat Bean the same way. This is after reflecting and wondering why he does that to him. He believes he should treat everyone uniquely without bias. He wonders why he treats him that way, whereas he could create a unique relationship.

Any person should be compassionate in order to be successful, especially in anything dealing with battles. A well-rounded leader needs to focus on his objectives fully. Due to Ender’s compassionate capability, he is promoted to the commander of the Dragon’s Army. As a commander, he creates meaningful relationships with other soldiers. He tells Bean, “I will be watching you, more compassionately than you know, and when the time you will know that I am your best ally” (Card 130). At the same time, Ender demonstrates empathy. It is evident when Ender talks to Bean, softly encouraging them to work towards attaining the goal while taking care of themselves. Empathy in Ender is also noticed when Ender states that he truly understands the enemy well and will destroy him even though he loves him. He also does not reciprocate the hate even after realizing others hate him. He seeks good for all the soldiers, understands them, and respects their decisions and capabilities.

Ender demonstrates the interactive leadership trait that should be in every leader. He enhances the leadership between him and the people he leads. It takes time to establish trust and achieve a working relationship. Compassion for oneself and others is a quality that Ender has. In that way, he creates a more positive workplace. He also achieves significant success. As such, the success of the Dragons Army in Ender’s game can be closely linked to how Ender led the soldiers. Through his interactive leadership trait, he understands his people and emphasizes stronger working ties, leading them to victorious leadership.

Another leadership lesson in Enders game is that manipulation can be beneficial and deleterious. Colonel Graff, the leader with the highest credentials and power, manipulates the soldiers. In the beginning parts, he strongly forces Ender to join the Battle School. He strongly persuades him without telling the actual truth about the matter. He tells him that his family and friends will not miss him. He convinces him that no one cares about him. He does all this to ensure Ender joins the army. At the battle school, manipulation is practiced. The teachers encourage the children to fight, whereby they believe in winning everything. It is like the motto of the school win. In addition, Graff manipulates Valentine to present a letter informing him about Peter, his older brother. Graff does all this, hoping it will encourage him to fight in the mind games. Even when Valentine hesitates, he threatens that he can write the letter himself. When Ender receives the letter, he immediately senses exploitation that is taking place. Interestingly, Graff’s goals are met because Ender focuses on achieving what he needs. He works very hard to win the mind game. It is beneficial because it lets Ender be success driven.

Unlike Graff, who is not much attentive to people’s acts or behaviors, Ender realizes something about Bean. First, he notes that Bean is smarter than the other soldiers in the room. Thus, he asks him to be the head of the special squad that creates several genius ideas for winning battles. He calls Ender and shows him his desk. He says, “One from each toon. They’re a special squad, and you’ll train them” (Card 153). He notes that Bean is a soldier smart as himself, and thus, in the meeting, he highly regards him by how he respectfully addresses him. Even though he maintains his authority over Bean, he empathizes with Bean. Graff, on the other hand, does not empathize with Bean. Thus, with Ender, Bean becomes more successful in the army. He has built enough trust that he even ends up saving Bean. He also realizes that other people are not enemies. After careful observation and meditation, he believes the teachers influence the other armies.

Graff’s relationship with Ender mostly applies blind trust and hope that everything will turn out okay. Graff says, “I will not lie now; my job is not to be friends. My main task is to produce the best soldiers in the world. In the whole history of the world. We need a Napoleon. An Alexander (Card 27).” This illustrates how Colonel Graff is tough on the soldiers. As a tough leader, he shouts orders, illustrating he expects the most out of Bean. Colonel Graff loves people who love challenges. He has the courage of conviction. Being tough and callous is a leadership trait in Ender’s game that Ender also demonstrates. Graff is tough to all, including Bean, in the beginning. The primary aim of this toughness is to make everyone stronger. Just like Graff, when Ender becomes the commander, he does the same thing to his juniors. He is tough on Bean, who he wants to become the best. He says, “This is what I am doing to you, Bean to ensure you become a well-rounded soldier. I will make your life miserable. That is why they brought you to me. You will have to be like me (Card 130)” Thus, the primary aim of these leaders is to influence toughness.

Graff does not create relationships with the soldiers. On the other hand, Ender comforts and encourages the soldiers, including Bean. He is certain that Bean will one day be a great soldier. However, he tells him that the process may be harder than expected. Thus, he motivates him to work harder and focus on attaining his goals.


Orson Scott’s Ender’s Game demonstrates leadership styles. The Enders game demonstrates the varying leadership abilities of Graff and Ender. After heading towards training at the Battle School, it is evident how the Commanders, including Graff and Ender, demonstrate toughness, manipulation, and empathy as leadership styles, which seem to be highly effective. The movie illustrates that everyone has his unique leadership style. Comparing Graff and Ender, the latter is a great leader because he is a compassionate, empathetic, encouraging, and tough leader. It is always important to strive to be a compassionate and tough leader who aims to ensure the success of the followers.

Work Cited

Scott, Card Orson. Ender’s Game. Zhejiang Literature and Art Publishing House, 2016. Accessed from


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