Army leadership is the basis for achieving the tasks assigned to the structure and organizing the work process. Without a competent leader, subordinates cannot effectively execute command orders and allocate the necessary resources. The army leader is involved in both the execution of missions and in the long-term development of the organization. This role requires not only exceptional professional skills but also adherence to ethical standards, attention to social interaction, and mentoring abilities. This paper examines the foundation of army leadership by discussing the three core competencies of an army leader, including lead, develop, and achieve.
The effectiveness of the army depends on building a clear structure based on professional and individual leadership. Headquarters, Department of the Army (2019) defines this concept as “the activity of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization” (p. 1-3). The leader’s role is to synchronize operations within the organization, as well as motivate and inspire subordinates to achieve a common goal. For the army leader to successfully fulfill assigned duties, it is required to have character, presence, and intelligence (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019). These qualities include moral and ethical characteristics, mental and social abilities, and the ability to show them to others. The leader also needs to have core competencies that reflect the core activities expected by the command: lead, develop, and achieve (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019). Thus, the foundation of army leadership is based on the possession of key characteristics and the achievement of expected results.
The main task of the leader is to achieve the set goals, as well as the development of the organization. Thus army leaders must be competent and professional warfighters having a comprehensive understanding of the strategic consequences of their decisions, behaviors, and actions. The leader needs to evaluate his actions from the perspective of not only achieving the goal but also the impact on the organization. In a contemporary, complex and sensitive environment, this is especially important since many decisions can be of key importance not only for national but also for international security. Army leaders should clearly articulate for subordinates the purpose and the expected end result that are achievable. The leader needs to use different ways of influence, as well as provide direction and motivation. A competent leader inspires subordinates to achieve a common goal and also takes into account their skills and capabilities.
Coaching and mentoring play a special role in the effective execution of the army’s leadership role. This aspect includes not only the self-development of the leader, increasing self-awareness, the development of professional and communication skills but the empowerment of subordinates as well. The more competent the followers of the leader are, the less control and direct supervision they need (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019). Teaching subordinates in operational practice is the primary task of the leader, as it allows to achieve long-term development of the organization (Thomson, 2017). This activity also allows the leader to build relationships and trust with followers, as well as develop personal skills (Thomson, 2017). In this way, the army leader is able, through attention to the training of his subordinates, to achieve long-term improvement for the entire military organization. In accordance with the lead competence, a focus on development allows not only to achieve the goals set by the command but also to do it more efficiently.
Showing the result and completing the mission is the primary task of the army leader and reflects the achieve competence. The leader’s task is not only to clearly articulate the objectives of the team but also to allocate resources. The leader needs to wisely and efficiently allocate money, equipment, knowledge, human resources to achieve the task. These competencies require not only professional training but also developed strategic and tactical thinking. With regard to human resources, the leader needs to pay close attention to human resources and the management of the team’s condition. It is necessary to constantly monitor feedback and distribute the load on subordinates so as to avoid stress and reduced performance. Leaders should strive to delegate certain objectives more to their followers and minimize direct supervision of implementation (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019). This approach will allow the leader to allocate their time and effort, as well as allow subordinates to develop skills and advance decision-making. It is important that the army leader himself must constantly assess the situation and make the necessary adjustments to it since changes can be necessary and quick.
Army leadership is built on key characteristics and competencies that a leader employs to manage subordinates and conduct operations efficiently. The lead, develop, achieve framework allows considering the interaction of these competencies as the basis for the long-term success of the organization. The army leader must actively lead his followers towards a common goal by motivating and inspiring the team. It is also fundamental to develop the skills and abilities of subordinates to maintain efficiency and ensure the long-term growth of the organization. The leader should manage resources and make adjustments to the existing situation to ensure that the result is achieved regardless of the accompanying facts. Thus, the combination of three core competencies allows the organization to cope with the objectives, as well as remain dynamic within the complex modern environment.
Headquarters, Department of the Army. (2019). ADP 6-22: Army leadership and the profession [PDF-file]. Federation of American Scientists.
Thomson, D. K. (2017). Reclaiming the essence of leadership [PDF-file]. US Army War College. Web.