The purpose of this essay is to discuss the foundation of army leadership and what is expected of military chiefs. Effective management is vital for any profession, and every worker should have a sense of direction in their job. In the armed forces, management is paramount as it can influence the outcomes of vital military operations. It can also impact the relationships and discipline within the organization. Poor leadership can undermine the trust the public and government put in the army. Therefore, it is imperative to examine what qualities an officer should possess and exhibit.
Leadership in the Army
Before discussing leadership in the armed forces and requirements for commanders, it is crucial to define the term. It can be categorized as “the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation” (Riley et al. 6). It serves to fulfill the functions of accomplishing missions and improving the institution (Riley et al. 6). Thus, a leader, uniformed or civilian, should maintain discipline in their unit and provide their subordinates with a goal. They should also ensure that every member of the team assigned to them works towards that goal. Any commander should ensure that their team acts appropriately for military personnel. They also should encourage such behavior both on and off duty and guarantee everybody treats their colleagues with respect. Every military employee represents their unit and the army in general. Therefore, an officer in charge must prevent any unethical behavior among their subordinates. Overall, leadership is the skill to provide purpose and direction and warrant a positive representation of the army.
The military has strict regulations in place to ensure the efficiency of all its branches and personnel in them. These guidelines include armed forces leaders, both uniformed and civilian. Thus, there is a list of competencies every supervisor should work towards developing to be effective in their role. According to Riley et al. (7), there are ten skills army managers must possess. They include skills abilities aimed at helping and leading others and focused on developing leaders’ qualities. Military chiefs should know how to prepare themselves for various situations and lead others by example (Riley et al. 7). These qualities are highly important as the persons in subordinate positions are unlikely to follow an incompetent commander. Interpersonal skills are also vital for people in leadership positions in the military. They include the ability to communicate, build trust with others, direct them, and help them develop (Riley et al. 7). The ability to get tangible results from subordinates is another competency officers must possess (Riley et al. 7). Overall, the core skills include the ability to communicate with others and develop oneself.
Interpersonal and personal skills are vital and help motivate and direct others, as per the military definition of leadership. However, they should also develop certain organizational competencies to improve the institution they are working for. One of them is the ability to create a positive and safe working environment (Riley et al. 15). According to Petrusic (113), failure to prevent workplace problems stems from military chiefs’ poor leadership. Failure to foster a safe environment translates to the loss of trust by the employees and the public (Petrusic 113). Furthermore, an unsafe environment is negatively correlated with discipline (Petrusic 113). The lack of discipline and trust between the personnel in the unit is evidence of inadequate management. It is also indicative of the unit’s inability to perform the tasks assigned to them. Thus, promoting a positive, healthy workplace atmosphere is one of a leader’s primary skills.
Overall, an army officer must promote a progressive and positive workplace. Being stewards of the profession is one of the ten competencies a military manager should possess (Riley et al. 7). It can be defined as a responsibility to take necessary actions to fulfill the demands of the organization (Petrusic 113). These needs must be put “above those of the commander or the unit” (Petrusic 113). Officers must enforce the rules and regulations and do so impartially to ensure the institution functions properly. They can also extend their influence outside the chain of command if the situation requires it (Riley et al. 15). It is imperative to enforce the standards of the profession to maintain public trust. The ability to maintain discipline is one of the skills of a competent leader.
In summary, leadership in the military serves to fulfill several essential functions. It is utilized to direct and motivate personnel to accomplish missions and to improve the institution itself. Army officers should develop several competencies to perform those duties. Commanders in charge should lead others by their own example and know how to prepare themselves for different circumstances. They should communicate clearly with their subordinates, build trust with them, and motivate and direct them. Furthermore, army leaders must enforce discipline and behavior appropriate for military personnel on and off duty. Thus, their primary role is one of the stewards of the profession.
Petrusic, Michael. “Discipline as a Vital Tool to Maintain the Army Profession.” Military Review, 2020, vol. 1, pp. 112-121.
Riley, Ryan P., et al. 2016 Center for Army Leadership Annual Survey of Army Leadership: Army Civilian Leader Findings. The Center for Army Leadership, 2017.