The Army capable of conquering enemies and protecting citizens in the most dangerous times needs leaders who can make decisions and lead others. To guide and inspire soldiers in danger and hardship is one of their primary tasks. Army leadership is the process of influencing people by providing them with purpose, direction, and motivation to perform the mission and improve the organization. Its foundations are based on the history of the country and loyalty to its laws. The main philosophy of Army leadership, well-known as the Be-Know-Do model, means the primary principles of soldiers’ preparations, which relate to the character and presence (Be), intellectual capacity (Know), and competencies (Do). Becoming a competent leader is a long process that includes the development of various aspects of the personality, which requires strength of mind and daily work on self-improvement.
Character and Presence
Leadership qualities directly depend on a person’s character and presence, which means their ability to influence others. The primary character attributes are Army values, Warrior Ethos, empathy, discipline, and humility. There are seven fundamental Army values: duty, respect, loyalty, honor, integrity, selfless service, and personal courage (United States Government US Army, 2019). The Warrior Ethos reflects the soldier’s willingness to do the right thing and commitment to his nation, fellow soldiers, and the mission. Empathy allows the leader to anticipate how other people feel and how his decisions will affect them. Self-discipline and humility are some of the essential traits of any leader; it is impossible to lead others without being disciplined and ready to listen to their opinions of others. A presence is how others perceive a soldier’s behavior and words; it includes the development of such aspects as military and professional bearing, fitness, confidence, and resilience (United States Government, US Army, 2019). While military and professional bearing means controlling emotions and following military standards, fitness means physical strength and endurance. Thus, principles of development of character and presence determine what a true leader must be.
Intellect, consisting of mental abilities and acquired knowledge, allows for making the right decisions, thinking critically, and solving even the most challenging problems. It includes such aspects as mental agility, judgment, innovation, interpersonal tact, and expertise. Mental agility is crucial in the cases of necessity to adapt to dynamic situations. The ability to make sound judgment, which allows the soldier to estimate the position, is acquired “through trial and error and by observing others” (United States Government, US Army, 2019, Chapter 4). Innovative leaders can rarely be blamed for the inability to find a non-standard solution; such people quickly abandon outdated methods and are ready to listen to the opinions of others. It is impossible to become a competent leader without the skill of interpersonal tact. Based on understanding other people’s characters, this skill comes down to balancing professional honesty and diplomacy (United States Government US Army, 2019). Expertise is knowledge acquired from experience and training; leaders should always be open to new knowledge. Thus, the development of intellect allows soldiers to make the right decisions even when things do not go according to plan.
Though character, conformity to Army values, decision-making, and personal knowledge are significant, they are not enough to become leaders. Obviously, a leader is determined by his actions, achievements, and competencies, divided into the competence category of leads, competence category of development, and competence category of achievement (United States Government US Army, 2019). The first category of competencies is aimed at influencing other people, including the soldier’s ability to lead others, expand his influence, build trust, affect by personal example, and communicate. According to the competencies of development, the soldier should create a positive environment, prepare themself, steward the profession, and develop others, making the organization better than before his appearance (United States Government US Army, 2019). The third category of competencies is aimed at the get results and the accomplishment of a mission. To get results, leaders should be competent in providing soldiers with direction and guidance, mastering resources, and assessing the mission (United States Government, US Army, 2019). Thus, leadership qualities are manifested in action; all competencies allow influencing other soldiers and ensuring the implementation even of the most demanding military tasks.
Although leadership potential is inherent in almost everyone, becoming a leader takes a lot of effort. Since to inspire and lead others, it is necessary to be a role model for them; soldiers should be prepared from all sides. According to the Army leadership model Be-Know-Do, it is vital to who the leader is (his character and presence), what he knows (his intellect), and what he does (his competencies). All these aspects are closely connected: a person can lead and develop others, ensuring the fulfillment of various missions, only having cultivated the necessary traits and received specific knowledge. An ideal Army leader is a person who has physical fitness, high intellect, professionalism, serves as a model to emulate, and is ready to do everything in his power to make the Army invincible.
United States Government US Army. (2019). Army leadership and the profession (ADP 6-22). Washington, DC: Headquarters, Department of the Army.