Although the author provides excellent points regarding military leadership being a good standard for the corporate world to use, adaptive leadership should not be known as the encompassing “official” leadership style of the military. The point that the author makes; attempting to convince the reader that adaptive leadership is good, is flawed because there is more than one approach to leadership in the military, and that would include a process driven leadership approach.
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The author shows favoritism towards adaptive leadership by using examples such as Gettysburg and Normandy, even sing Marine Corps Officer Candidate School to show his MBA students how important military like thinking helps in the “real world. ” The author goes on to advertise adaptive leadership as a “military’ style rather than giving proper credit to the Army and Marine Corps as they utilize this approach due to the circumstances each branch faces on the battlefront. Professor Seem explains his four precepts but each can also be received with perceived flaws.
Meeting troops, as important as it is for the moral of any company or military unit does to only require face time to win over the heart of employees but there must also be some moments of humility where the leader can roll up their sleeves and do the same work enlisted do, so that people could see the leader is attempting to make a connection and understand them. The professor goes on to say that people, whether in the military or in business must be able to make decisions in a timely manner.
In reading the article one can counter that making decisions on the spot or faster than normal are not always the best approach because different situations bring different timings. Mr.. Seem does make a strong point when discussing his 3rd point in adaptive leadership regarding focusing on the mission. The final point made in the article which is conveying strategic intent can also be challenged since being loose can be good but there are instances that WOUld require procedural leadership, where personnel are expected to follow guidelines without deviation of regulation.
How can the four military branches have different leadership styles if they are all essentially cut from the same cloth? A perfect example of this point is taken from an article in the Harvard Business Review titled, “The different ways military experience prepares managers for leadership. ” In this article and individual comments that in the Army or Marine Corps a loose bolt in a Humane could result in it not working, but losing a bolt in the Air Force or Navy can lead to the loss of a $100 million part in a destroyer or fighter plane.
This is the first argument that can be made when discussing military leadership as it is best to consider both methods as each make positive points in selling what military leadership puts out. The author hoses to teach his classes through military examples but the examples he uses take people on a journey to sites such as Gettysburg, an Army battleground and also utilizes the Marines Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA. The author should not focus the paper from a “military’ stand point but rather build his point from a “boots on the ground” approach.
What is meant by this is the Navy and Air Force were both left out of the article. It is known facts that the Army and Marine Corps are the United States muscle while the Air Force and Navy and the brains of the operations. By excluding two of the four military branches the author does not have the proof that an adaptive leadership style is the “military’s” leadership style. Mr.. Seem begins arguing his four points on the military’s preference on leadership by stating leaders must be ready and willing to meet the troops. Although this point makes logical sense, more is required in order to be adaptive.
An employee will continue to do their work or meet a deadline regardless of a leader stopping by to shake hands. If a leader wants to be adaptive they must be willing to roll their sleeves up and get involved in projects. This projects a leader who realizes that walking the walk is more important than talking the talk. Although stopping by to get personal with employees might love seem individuals with a warm and fuzzy feeling seeing a leader do the work that normal employees do portrays that the leader is there because not only are they knowledgeable but they also can do the task if needed.
The standpoint of meeting troops also doesn’t solely belong to adaptive leadership. Any quality leader whether procedural, adaptive or innovative, should take the time to get to know their employees. By using old Army battlegrounds and Marine training stations, the author gives preference to those branches knowing well that Admirals are just as likely to stop by a ship and get to know their sailors. Being capable of making key decisions is important in any leadership position.
The author states leaders must adapt to the team he has, make the right decisions and help steer people from individual glory. The author states that hasty decisions should not be made but a decision should always be made as quick as possible to avoid the enemy (competitor) beating one out on a client, patent or product. Although this is true, doing one’s homework and having all facts straight is more important. So the author should add that making decisions is important as long as you have the right information.
Another key argument is different situations produce different timeliness and there should not be a standardized time limit on all tasks. Applying such a method can lead to overall failure of an organization because tasks might fall short of their goal or some might exceed the expected time, etc. The third point Mr.. Seem makes in regards to adaptive leadership is focusing on the mission. The professor states leaders must ensure the mission is always met before any team goals or personal goals.
Attempting to claim this point for adaptive leadership is irrelevant as process lead organizations still strive to achieve the same goal. By focusing on adaptive leadership, the professor’s approach can end up contradicting itself as his final point in the four points he makes relates to giving freedom to the subordinates as long as the goal is met. If the author is trying to say adaptive leaders should sell individuals on accomplishing the mission goal they might end up taking away from the individuals plan on how to meet the goal.
What if focusing on the individual goal or team goal would help accomplish the overall goal faster? By recommending this third point in the author’s argument, the professor leaves himself having to explain the situation if it were to ever come true. If the process led method the Navy and Air Force utilize were to be run, there would be no guessing as to how it would end since there would be guidance on how the job would or should be done. The final point the author argues is that the military uses conveying strategic intent.
The strong point of using adaptive leadership on this point is that a leader will set up a vague goal such as, “our store must sell 25 cars,” and will not tell them how to do it but rather give the team the responsibility of figuring out how to accomplish the goal. Although this is admirable in that it helps develop potential leaders, it is not the strongest method to use. From a corporate standpoint issues can arise. Are there any limitations, rules, laws? What if the individual is using a legal method to accomplish task but the method is not of the best moral?
Where is the line drawn? This is why and where processes help rump issues in certain and most cases as processes clearly show individuals how a task is done the right way helping keep employees safe and possible saving on cost. Although there are certain careers in the corporate world that don’t require much process, the majority of the corporate world does. This helps leaders be reminded that the corporate world is not a battle ground and as such policies and regulations are always very important in those types of environments.
In conclusion, if the author is to continue educating individuals while referencing military leadership, the professor should take the time to discuss doth styles of military leadership. If he should continue to utilize the same methods and be sold on adaptive leadership all branches would be given justice by the author stating he chooses to recognize the Army and Marine platform of leadership known as adaptive leadership. It would behoove him to explain the difference as his pupils can decide if adaptive leadership is the best approach to their respective situation.
In addition, meeting troops is not something that can be pigeon holed into the adaptive leadership genre. Meeting troops, shaking hands, making unexpected visits doesn’t make one adaptive. A leader can be adaptive by mentally preparing themselves to jump in and lend a hand wherever it is needed. By breaking out of the norm they keep an open mind that jumping in helps reach the mission goal and since accomplishing the mission goal is key to the author’s adaptive leadership points, helping out and supporting subordinates should be considered with the personable aspect.
Making decisions is something that all leaders must make at some point or another and bottom line is that making hasty decisions will not solve anything faster; it could actually make it worse. The point Professor Seem failed to make with his point is that a decision should be made but only when all the facts and information have been gathered and a clear decision could be made. The author should also focus on saying different situations bring different timeliness and should be dealt with accordingly. When discussing mission goals, Mr..
Seem attempts to claim adaptive leadership is the one leadership style that focuses on accomplishing the mission goal even if it is handed down to subordinates in a vague manner. By stating the process in that manner, the author contradicts the third point cause adaptive leadership is intended to leave the subordinate with a free roaming plan on how to best accomplish the mission goal. The author fails to convey that if an individual chooses to work with the team or individual to accomplish the goal the third point is defeated within itself.
The final argument the author produces about conveying strategic intent is the least strong. Although adaptive leadership paves the way for innovative thinking, it can be pretty tricky in the corporate world. The appropriate career field would have to utilize this approach as having an open approach in regulated places could dead to loads of trouble since individuals would be left to assess situations as they seem best fit.