Foundations of Army Leadership


Leadership is one of the keys to the Army’s success. Under challenging conditions, the leader makes critical strategic decisions and helps his subordinates reduce their anxiety and stress levels. Therefore, the US Army highly appreciates leadership qualities and, in every possible way, contributes to its development among members of the armed forces. For the US Army, some standards describe the core competencies and personal qualities that a successful leader must possess. The Army leader is a role model for subordinates who exemplify intelligence, professional expertise, and moral qualities. Therefore, understanding the basics of Army leadership is essential for all US armed forces members.

The Model of Army Leadership

The Army leadership model is built around leadership competencies and attributes crucial to lead officers. The basis of the model is what leaders should be like, what knowledge they should have, and the action they are expected to perform. Using this model in the management of subordinates contributes to the leader’s individual development and the unit’s productivity.


The competencies included in the model give the Army leader a clear understanding of what is required of him to meet the set expectations. The three main categories of competencies include leading, developing, and achieving (United States of America Department of Army 1-7). The first category of competencies involves setting goals, giving directions, and motivating the unit. At this level, a leader needs to build trust in a group and communicate correctly with subordinates.

Developing includes creating a favorable atmosphere for the personal growth of the leader and the development of his subordinates. At this level, the leader must be primarily an example and role model for junior officers who aspire to leadership positions. Achieving involves making the necessary adjustments to the unit’s work to complete the tasks and missions successfully. The leader’s task is to ensure the collective work of all his subordinates to achieve their goals.

Leadership Attributes

The attributes of an Army leader can be divided into character traits inherent in leaders and intelligence. Since the leader in the Army is a role model for junior officers, he should serve as an example of moral and ethical qualities. The main character traits inherent in the Army leader are “Army values, empathy, discipline, and humility” (United States of America Department of Army 2-1). In addition, Roberts notes that moral and physical courage are essential characteristics of a leader.

Appearance is another important attribute of a leader. For example, an Army leader must be in good physical shape and be able to perform the physical tasks that he orders his subordinates to perform. In addition, the leader’s appearance should radiate confidence, calmness, and resilience (United States of America Department of Army 3-1). In addition, the leader must have the expertise, sufficient knowledge, and critical thinking skills. Moreover, essential components of the intellectual attributes of an Army leader are the ability to think flexibly and a sense of tact in communicating with subordinates and other leaders.

Levels of Leadership

Leadership in the Army consists of three levels of management. The first level is direct management, which implies control over the execution of tasks. This type of leadership is possible only when subordinates constantly see their leader, for example, in “squads, sections, platoons, departments, companies, batteries, and troops” (United States of America Department of Army 1-13). At this level, the leader also fulfills the role of coach, advisor, and mentor to his subordinates. In addition, direct leadership implies the timely identification and resolution of emerging problems. This leadership level’s ultimate goal is to help subordinates develop into good leaders.

The second leadership level in the Army is organizational leadership, in which leaders manage other leaders under their command. This level of governance does not require constant supervision from organizational leaders since “subordinate units and organizations do not depend on daily guidance from their higher-level leaders to be successful” (United States of America Department of Army 1-14). However, leadership at this level is more complex than direct management, as it requires more resources, competence, and leadership expertise. In addition, the organizational leader also requires the ability to think comprehensively and on a large scale. This leadership level’s primary purpose is to ensure coordination and synchronization of all divisions and departments.

Finally, strategic leadership involves managing a large number of organizational units. Although they do not directly interact with every officer in an army, strategic leaders can significantly influence the entire Army. It is the most challenging level of Army leadership, as it requires military knowledge and expertise and broad civil and political awareness (United States of America Department of Army 1-14). Strategic leaders create the vision and mission of the Army and shape the Army culture.


Thus, Army leadership is one of the most structured types, providing specific standards that a leader must meet. At the same time, the Army leader must have an extensive list of competencies, knowledge, and personal qualities to be an example for junior officers and ensure the quality performance of their leadership duties. In addition, understanding the fundamentals of Army leadership is essential for every US military member, as one of the critical tasks of the Army is to create successful leaders.

Works Cited

Roberts, Ron. “12 principles of modern military leadership: Part 1.” U.S. Army, 2018.

United States of America Department of Army. “ADP 6-22. Army leadership and the profession.” 2019.

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