Leadership Issues

Almost all leadership theories are based on the relative importance assigned to the leader versus the follower in mission accomplishment. Those who believe that leaders are sufficiently enlightened or heroic examples of bold leaders such as Napoleon, Alexander, and Frederick the Great favor the authoritarian model of leadership. “Leadership remains the most baffling of arts as long as they do not know exactly what makes leaders get up out of a hole in the ground and go forward in the face of death at a word from another leader, and then leadership ill remain one of the highest and most elusive of qualities.

It will remain an art” (James L. Stockbrokers). At the turn of the century, social scientists became interested in the worker as a means to improve production. Soldiers represent what’s best about the United States Army. Day in and day out, in the dark and in the mud and in faraway places, they execute tough missions whenever and wherever the Nation calls. They deserve the very best leaders of character and competence who act to achieve excellence. Army leadership begins with what the leader must BE the values and attributes that shape a leader’s character.

Leader’s skills are things one must KNOW how to do, competence in everything from the technical side of a job to the people skills a leader requires. A leader cannot be effective, or cannot be a leader, until they apply what they know, until they act and DO what they must. Here are the Army values that guide leaders, and the rest of the Army Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless, Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. They form the acronym LADYSHIP. Evolution of Leadership Theory Reviewing the evolution of leadership theory in this century is important to understanding today’s theories and styles.

Almost all leadership theory is based on the relative importance assigned to the leader versus the follower in mission accomplishment. Those who believe that leaders are sufficiently enlightened or heroic examples of bold leaders such as Napoleon, Alexander, and Frederick the Great favor the authoritarian model of leadership. Those who have greater confidence in the follower’s maturity, capability, and insights favor the democratic model. A perspective of leadership with regard to the respective roles played by the leader and follower has changed noticeably in this century.

In the nineteenth century, the industrial revolution pulled many Americans out of rural areas into the city where industry was producing record wealth at the expense of the worker. Working conditions were awful as management ruled, ruthlessly enjoying immeasurable power to hire, fire, and dictate working conditions for the worker. The twentieth century began with a focus almost entirely on a leader dominant theory of leadership that assumed a low opinion of the follower’s motivation, maturity, and abilities.

In the early part of the twentieth century, child labor laws and unions helped improve working conditions of America errors but also worsen the troublesome relationship between management and labor, leader and follower. The military longed for a defender for authoritarian leaders and also maintained a mostly authoritarian leadership style. At the turn of the century social scientists began to be interested in the worker as a means to improve production, in Management of Organizational Behavior utilizing human resources (APS 1994). Leadership remains the most baffling of arts as long as we do not know exactly what makes men get up out of a hole in the ground and go forward in the face of death at a word from another an, and then leadership will remain one of the highest and most elusive of qualities. It will remain an art” (James L. Stockbrokers). BE, KNOW, DO Army leader what one must BE, KNOW, and DO as an Army leader (FM 22-100). Leadership starts at the top. In order to lead others, one must first make sure their own house is in order. The first line of The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer states, “No one is more professional than I. But it takes a remarkable person to move from memorizing a creed to actually living that creed; a true leader is that extraordinary person (LTO 2002). Army leadership begins with what the leader must BE the values and attributes that shape a leader’s character. It may be helpful to think of these as internal qualities a leader should posses all the time. These values and attributes are the same for all leaders, regardless of position, although a leader certainly refines their understanding of themselves as they become more experienced and assume positions of greater responsibility.

A seasoned soldier with combat experience has a deeper understanding of selfless service and personal courage than a new soldier does. Leader’s skills are those hangs they must KNOW how to do, their competence in everything from the technical side of their job to the people skills a leader require. As leaders assume positions of greater responsibility, they should take the initiative to refine the additional skills in each group (LTO 2002). It is difficult for leaders to be effective, they should not be a leader, until they apply what they know, until they act and DO what they must.

Skills they will learn more leadership actions as they serve in different positions. Leadership is about taking action, but there’s more to being a leader than just what they do. Character and competence, the BE and the KNOW underlie everything a leader does. So becoming a leader involves developing all aspects of leadership. This includes adopting and living Army values. It means developing the attributes and learning the skills of an Army leader. Only by this self-development will they become a confident and competent leader of character. Being an Army leader is not easy.

There are no cookie cutter solutions to leadership challenges, and there are no shortcuts to success. The tools are available to every leader. It is up to the leader to master and use them (FM 22-100). Character describes a person’s inner strength, the BE of BE, KNOW, DO. A leader’s character helps them know what is right. Character gives them the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. Leaders demonstrate character through their behavior. One of the key responsibilities as a leader is to teach Army values to subordinates.

The old saying that actions speak louder than words has never been truer. Leaders who talk about honor, loyalty, and selfless service but do not live these values both on and off duty send the wrong message. If they talk the talk they should walk the elk. The Army values that guide the leader and the rest of the Army are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage, which form the acronym LADYSHIP. Values tell us part of what the leader must BE. Leader attributes influence leader actions; leader actions, in turn, always influence the unit or organization.

If a leader is physically fit, they are more likely to inspire subordinates to be physically fit. The mental attributes of an Army leader include will, self-discipline, initiative, judgment, self-confidence, intelligence, and cultural awareness. Physical attributes health fitness, physical fitness, and military and professional bearing can be developed (LTO 2002). Value based Leadership As an Army leader, emotional attributes, self-control, balance, and stability contribute to how a leader feels how they interact with others. The led are human beings with hopes, fears, concerns, and dreams.

When leaders understand that will and endurance come from emotional energy, they possess a powerful leadership tool. The feedback a leader gives can help subordinates use their emotional energy to accomplish amazing feats in tough times. Self-control, lance, and stability also help they make the right ethical choices (FM 22-100). Understanding Army values and leader attributes is only the beginning. Leaders also must embrace Army values and develop leader attributes, living them until they become routine. They should teach Army values to their subordinates through action and example and help them develop leader attributes in themselves.

A leader should have a certain level of knowledge to be competent. Leaders should develop interpersonal skills, knowledge of people and how to work with them. Leaders should have conceptual skills, the ability to understand ND apply the policy and other ideas required to do their job. They should learn technical skills, how to use their equipment. Warrior leaders should master tactical skills, the ability to make the right decisions concerning employment of units in combat. Tactical skills include mastery of the art of tactics appropriate to the leader’s level of responsibility and unit type (FM 22-100).

A leader should not be satisfied with knowing only how to do what will get the organization through today; they must also be concerned about what it will need tomorrow. Leaders should strive to master their job and prepare to take over their boss’s job. As leaders progress to jobs of increasing responsibility, they’ll face new equipment, new ideas, and new ways of thinking and doing things. They should learn to apply all these to accomplish their mission (LTO 2002). Leader Development Army schools teach leaders basic job skills, but they are only part of the learning picture. They’ll learn even more on the job or JOT.

Good leaders add to their knowledge and skills every day. Good leaders seek out opportunities; they’re always looking for ways to better their professional knowledge and skills (FM 22-100). Leaders act bringing together everything they are, everything they live, and everything they know how to do to provide purpose, direction, and motivation. Army leaders work to influence people, operate to accomplish the mission, and act to improve their organization. Leader actions increase in extent and complexity as they move from direct leader positions to organizational and strategic leader positions.

Leaders who live up to Army values, who display leader attributes, who are competent, who act at all times as they would have their people act, will succeed. Leaders who talk a good game but can’t back their words with actions will fail in the long run (FM 22-100). Leader actions, the DO of Army leadership doctrine, include, Influencing: making decisions, communicating those decisions, and motivating people. Operating the things they do to accomplish their organization’s mission. Improving the things leaders do to increase the organization’s capability to accomplish current or future missions.

Trained soldiers know what they are supposed to do, but under stress, their instincts might tell them to do something different. The exhausted, hungry, cold, wet, disoriented, and frightened soldier is more likely to do the wrong thing stop boning, lie down, and retreat than someone not under that kind of stress. This is when the leader must step in when things are falling apart, when there seems to be no hope and get the job done (LTO 2002). Anyone responsible for supervising people or accomplishing a mission that involves other people can be labeled as a leader.

Anyone who influences others, motivating them to action or influencing their thinking or decision-making, is a leader. It’s not a function only of position; it’s also a function of role. Everyone in the Army including every leader fits somewhere in a chain of command. Everyone in the Army is also a follower or subordinate. There are many leaders in an organization, and it’s important to understand that they don’t just lead subordinates they lead other leaders. Even at the lowest level, they are a leader of leaders (LTO 2002).

A Base model of Leadership A rifle company has four leadership levels, the company commander leads through platoon leaders, the platoon leaders through squad leaders, and the squad leaders through team leaders. At each level, the leader should let subordinate leaders do their jobs. Practicing this kind of decentralized implementation based on mission orders in peacetime trains subordinates who will, in battle, implement disciplined initiative in the absence of orders. They’ll continue to fight when the radios are not functioning, when the plan falls apart, when the enemy does something unexpected (FM 22-100).

This decentralization does not mean that a commander never steps in and takes direct control. There will be times when a leader has to stop leading through subordinates, step forward, and say, “Follow me! ” Or it may occur during training, when a subordinate is about to make a mistake that could result in serious injury r death and you must act to prevent disaster (FM 22-100). A leader should empower their subordinate leaders give them a task, delegate the necessary authority, and let them do the work. Of course they need to follow up at times.

They should be able to critique, coach, and evaluate them. Powering down without powering off seems to work best. Give subordinate leaders the authority they need to get the job done. Then check on them frequently enough to keep track of what is going on but not to get in their way (FM 22-100). It takes personal courage to operate this way. But a leader must let subordinate leaders learn by ongoing. But if subordinate leaders are to grow, leaders must let them take risks. This means they must let go of some control and let their subordinate leaders do things on their own (FM 22-100).

Effective leaders strive to create an environment of trust and understanding that encourages their subordinates to seize the initiative and act (FM 22-100). The Army is not going to stop functioning because one leader no matter how senior steps aside. In combat, the loss of a leader is a shock to a unit, but the unit must continue its mission. If leaders train their subordinates properly, one of them will take charge (FM 22-100). Strong commanders, those with personal courage realize that their subordinate leaders need room to work.

This doesn’t mean they should let their subordinates make the same mistakes over and over. Part of their responsibility as a leader is to help their subordinates succeed. They can achieve this through empowering and coaching. Train their subordinates to plan, prepare, execute, and assess well enough to operate alone. Leaders should provide purpose, direction, and motivation for subordinate leaders to operate in support of the overall plan. Take the time to help subordinates sort out what happened and why. There is not a soldier out there, from private to general, who has not made mistakes.