The Foundation of Army Leadership


Leadership has always been an essential part of human civilization and even of the animal kingdom. Leaders are inspiring, powerful, and confident in their actions. A leader is anyone responsible for organizing and helping a group of people achieve their goals. Therefore, in no other part of a government is leadership prominent as in the Army. It is reasonable that every mistake made by the Army of a country is the responsibility of their leaders. A leader’s duty is not only to command but also to help their underlings grow independently. In order to be effective, leadership must have a strong foundation. To be a good commander is not enough to be assigned a position of power. To have a positive effect on the subordinates, a leader must have their respect. Taking into account the requirements placed upon a leader, multiple foundations for the leadership exist. These foundations include history, accountability, relationship with the government as an idea, loyalty, and many more. This paper will discuss the main foundations and their role in forming the foundation of leadership in the Army.

Main body

History is a great tool to encourage following the leadership, as well as training competent leaders. Only basing our knowledge and experience on record, we are able to make correct decisions. History also helps us not to repeat the mistakes of the past. A well-educated leader is sure to command adequately based on the recorded experience of previous leaders. Moreover, history helps inspire a leader’s subordinates to follow commands without fear and with respect. It is an excellent source of love for the country and the nation (Almeida, 2020). The government is another critical leadership foundation. Citizens of the government have the ability to sustain the Army with taxes, while Congress can manage it. Every soldier must protect the county and the Constitution. The President is also the Army’s commander in chief, and this authority helps soldiers carry out their commands in confidence. This creates a symbiotic relation between the U.S. and its Army.

Every leader is accountable not only for their own actions but also for their subordinates’ health and safety. Considering the soldiers’ condition is vital when giving out orders. When seeing that the commander accounted for their state, a junior will be able to carry out an order much more competently. The same goes the other way around, as every subordinate must understand their accountability before their leaders. It is crucial to establish the importance of this, yet not create someone dependent on a rulebook. A leader is responsible for educating people to use their own cognition to make decisions (Lis, 2016). Subordinates must understand that even they can make mistakes, and being too attached to straightforward commands is not practical. Many field situations require critical thinking and tackling ethical problems, which are not available in guidebooks. Of course, the Army has its founding documents, which it presents to everyone within the Army. Even these essential documents are prone to change, as the government adapts to society’s ever-changing norms. Therefore, every leader and soldier should be able to change, adapt, and act according to any giver situation.

“Be, Know, Do” is a philosophy constructed to make a leader succeed as a character. In this philosophy, every word has a meaning as follows. “Be” means to be yourself, a personality with presence. In order to gain respect, a leader must set an example for his apprentices. A teacher must know the course material themselves before giving a test on it to their students. Giving out orders that they would not fulfill themselves does not encourage anyone to follow such commands (Gain & Bryant, 2020). Neither is blaming a subordinate for completing a task in a way the commander would not be able to achieve. That is why “Know” in this philosophy means to be an educated and professional leader. Having a character with a presence does not mean much without the ability to back it up. There are five types of Army leadership skills. They are mental agility, sound judgment, innovation, interpersonal tact, and domain knowledge. Finally, “Do” is the result of “Be” and “Know”. It is the application of said knowledge and demonstration of character in practical situations. Based on a leader’s actions, a level of influence builds up between them and their subordinates. An effect that stands not on the obligation of following orders but a wish to do so. Following this philosophy is what will make a leader influential, knowledgeable, and respected.


Being a leader is not easy. It brings a heavy burden of responsibility for oneself and the subordinates, the country, and the Constitution. Understanding the core foundations that leadership stands on is also a part of the commitment mentioned above. Being an exemplary leader is the only way to produce worthy leaders for the future. This exemplary leader must be competent, knowledgeable, possessing a strong character. They are able to inspire others to follow orders with pride and to become leaders themselves one day.


Almeida, S. F. (2020). Leadership effectiveness in the Army: A perspective from the U.S. Army College. University of Pennsylvania.

Gain, D., & Bryant, P. C. (2020). The men or the mission: Can an army of servants become an army of servant leaders? Servant Leadership: Theory & Practice, 7(1).

Lis, A. (2016). The manifestations of positive leadership strategies in the doctrinal assumptions of the U.S. Army leadership concept. Journal of Corporate Responsibility and Leadership, 2(1), 51-76. Web.

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