Key Concepts of Leadership

Introduction

As a soldier in the army, one is guided by principles and must show some desirable values and features, which enable him/her to do the right things, make decisions concerning what to do, and influence fellow soldiers to follow a certain direction. In the military bodies, core competency values are required such as discipline, honesty and quick decision making to enable a person to perform duties and responsibilities in an effective manner. Borrowing the utilitarianism theory, soldiers are expected to make ethical decisions that result in large people benefiting from their actions (Mill, 2016). Team spirit is essential in combating enemy threats. The various section of the army works in a collaborative manner to promote successive combinations of efforts to suppress the enemies. Just like other organizations, the army is a body that is guided by set rules and regulations. The ranks in the army form a chain of command. The philosophical concept of being, knowing and doing forms the benchmark of guiding the recruits to perform well and have a successful career and attain leadership ranks. Leadership is defined as a process where people are influenced to perform tasks in a stipulated direction. Leaders influence followers by applying motivational tactics like offering monetary items to lure them to finish their assigned task while in the process achieve the firm set goals and objectives. In the context of the army organization which I belong, a leader in the army is defined as a soldier who takes charge of command by virtue of being assigned responsibilities or assuming the leadership role and influences the other troop members to accomplish army set goals. People assume that in the army when one becomes a leader, he/she only gives commands which must be executed by the juniors.

There is more to leadership than only giving commands (Taylor, 2018). The process of influencing people matters a lot and takes different dimensions. The characters of a leader define the kind of actions and decisions he/she makes. People look up to the actions of the leader, the social behavior be it at work or off duty, the utterances the person makes and the set examples he/she demonstrates. According to the US army (1983), there are four key concepts of leadership which entail analyzing the situation, communication between the leader and followers, the follower and the leader. Knowledge and skills make up a leader to either succeed or fail in a mission of guiding the other people. Attributes such as morality and behaviors make a leader unique. The skills and knowledge learned by a leader will define his/her leadership roles but the personal traits will define how perfectly the leader execute his/her mandated roles. During and after combat, soldiers undergo traumatizing experiences, which require some guidance and counseling sessions. A leader mandated to hold the office has the necessary skills and knowledge but an additional trait of empathy is crucial in performing the task efficiently and effectively. By empathizing with the victims of war, the leader will better understand and console members and not look at them as people who were simply complying with orders. Assessing how the various concepts of leadership are applied in the organization, in this case, the army forms the key approach the essay will take.

The Bass theory of Leadership

According to Bass (1990), there exist three different forms in which a leader will assume leadership positions. Some people naturally exhibit personality traits that will propel them to take up leadership roles. The inherited traits of leadership span from the family background of the leader. The statement of leaders traits are inborn is applicable in the above trait theory where such leaders have a combination of desirable traits that make them natural leaders. The combination of traits such as self-confidence, ambitious and decisiveness with skills such as persuasive, intelligent propels a person to helms of leadership.  Secondly, a crisis might occur in the organization, which is perfectly handled by one individual. The skills and tactics used in solving the problem might be so unique; thus making the person an extraordinary leader. Thirdly, team members have a chance of becoming leaders by learning leadership skills. The process of learning to assume leadership responsibilities is known as transformation. Today, most leaders are widely accepted through learning new ways of influencing and leading followers.

The army organization has seven key values required for one in a leadership position. The values are trickled down to the junior staffs to instill discipline. The first is loyalty where members pledge allegiance to the constitution of the country, the president, entire army and unit of operation. The person must swear to conduct his/her duties in the right manner. Respecting other people not only in the force is essential in building a career path. Putting the interest of the nation at heart is the first priority of all soldiers. Honoring the values and virtues of the force is not optional. Honesty is a virtue one must have in order to do moral upright things. By joining the army, one must alleviate all the fears and develops courage in conducting army activities. From the bass theory, a leader is capable of learning and applying these seven army values with a bid of influencing others in knowing and upholding the above values. In the recruitment process, civilians are recruited and trained to join the army. After joining, the civilians are transformed into soldiers, as they are taught key military concepts to adopt. People have different learning capabilities, which provides an opportunity for others to learn fast and be appointed as leaders of the group. Be it in the navy or air force training, some of the outstanding recruit records act as a benchmark of appointing them to lead the other group members.

Some of the leaders in the army assumed the current leadership positions due to inborn traits displayed. There is a likelihood of a person becoming head of a troop if the father or uncle served as an army commander. The family genes are passed to the son or daughter who after joining the army immediately displays skills such as tactics and traits like confidence, which makes the individual outstanding. In the case of crisis leadership, an individual will display extraordinary characters like confidence in saving the lives of people facing imminent dangers. An example is in the army during the American-Vietnamese war, where one of the soldiers vowed not to kill but save the lives of fellow soldiers at war. By not using a firearm, he signal handedly evacuated injured soldiers to helicopters and jets, which earned him recognition as a star general in the army. 

Effect of power and influence on the organization leadership

Leaders have a great influence on followers’ abilities. The effect of power and influence exercised by different leaders in the organization determine the future direction of the firm. The fate of the firm relies on the effectiveness of the leaders. The decisions and strategies set by management leaders will drive the juniors to achieve the organization set plans. In the army organization, I have seen commanders having great influence and power over the staff they control. The process of influencing refers to the ability of an individual to directly change the way of thinking, opinions, and traits of another person (Harrell & Simpson, 2015).  In the army, I would say followers are receptive to the command chain of leadership because they have a mission to accomplish plus they fully understand army core values like loyalty. In the process of making decisions concerning soldiers welfare and combat deployments, the staffs are informed early enough and given time to make decisions, which makes them feel part and parcel of the armed forces family. The second reason as an army officer, I believe there is receptive towards leadership powers and influence because of the high respect and discipline officers have towards their command leaders. In addition, the army leaders are trained to respect their followers too. The three levels of army leadership provide a framework of good leadership, which I would not recommend to be changed. The levels include strategic which is at the top followed by organization systems and finally direct leadership. Power is maintained at all levels of the organization, individual and groups. The current strategy of power and influence in the army should be maintained but also, would recommend for building and developing more reward power to motive soldiers to work extra hard. The leaders in command have the mandate of exercising reward power by training and grooming their juniors to take up leadership roles when they retire (Adeka, Shepherd & Abd-Alhameed, 2016).

Transformational and Transactional leadership in the army

According to Vito, Higgins & Denney (2014), transformational leadership goes beyond the assigned duties by motivating and developing workers to perform and surpass the set targets. Transformation leaders enhance team building capacity, fosters collaboration and promotes healthy relationship among the followers. On the other hand, transactional leadership strives to maintain the stipulated workflow systems in the organization. The transaction leaders mostly rely on the disciplinary actions and other incentives prescribed by management in steering the team members to perform effectively. Most of the transactional leaders do not oversee the future and continuously engage in routine activities for the smooth running of company affairs. 

Taking a case of the army, transactional leaders only display skills and knowledge in the field while transformational leaders combine the knowledge and skills with virtues like empathy to comprehend the situation better and form appropriate contingency measures for the future. The transactional leadership style heavily relies on threats and chain of command. The hierarchy command chain of the army is ought to be respected by the order of seniority. In such a case where the senior in charge gives commands, the junior must respect and execute the order. The motivation in the above case is avoiding disciplinary actions of disobeying the order. In other instances, the commander in charge will use recognition tactics to motivate the staffs under his/her rank to perform perfectly. The transformational leaders lead by example. The above leaders working in the army are expected to display high levels of skills and attributes. First, the army transformational leaders are mentally flexible to adapt to any situations that might arise. Also, leaders cognitive abilities work fast to create remedies for an unexpected situation. Secondly, they have sound judgmental abilities to keenly assess situations and draw feasible solutions and recommendations. These leaders are innovative in nature and will not hesitates to bring in new ideas and skills in case an opportunity arises. Transformational leaders have interpersonal relation tactics that convince members to accept solutions. Finally, the leaders in the army have vast knowledge in military science that equips them with skills of military tactics responsible for successfully completing a military mission without mishaps (Werchan et al., 2016).

Traits and features of an effective team leader

There are various traits and characteristics that define an effective leader in the organization. Example of the traits includes respectful, courageous, honest and influential.  In the armed forces organization, a leader is expected to have army values such as loyalty and respect. Being an effective team leader of the troop, one must have empathy towards the others in order to fully understand team members’ point of views. Empathy will make the group leader care about the rest of the soldiers in the group. The warrior of ethos is a requirement for an effective leader in the military. The ethos builds professionalism and team spirit internally among the leaders and group members. In my organization, the military leader must possess a commandeering language of the military. His/her presence must be felt by way of portraying the emblem of military attire. The person in authority must display a sense of physical fitness by being emotionally stable in case of subjection to stress.  A leader in the military must appear composed and calm in situations of emotional distress. Being a team leader requires building confidence in oneself and members in order to achieve whatever mission or activity the group is involved in. Resilience is a trait a leader should possess, especially, in the army where setback might occur in combat zone areas. An effective leader should be creative in nature to bring out original ideas that will benefit the group both in the short and long-term period. The leaders should appear an achiever and ambitious for the group to emulate. A good leader should be influential by setting goals and plans for the group to follow. A commander must learn effective communicative skills to effectively communicate directly with the group on everyday actions to take. Setting an example to the followers puts the commander at a respectful position (Lussier, & Achua, 2015).

Leadership mission, vision, and strategy

Leadership within the military camp guides the soldiers to always stay focused in a given direction, maintain objective course, mission and vision of the entire force. The leaders at the helm of control act as the watchdogs of implementation of organization mission, vision, and strategies. Additionally, effective leadership ensures the correct path of the set plans is maintained regularly. The mission of military organizations such as loyalty and integrity provides direction and purpose of existence of the military bodies. The vision of the organization states the future destination set to be achieved by the company (Northouse, 2018). Setting a strategy requires combining the vision and mission to create ways in which the objectives can be achieved. In my organization, the military leadership supports the missions through aiding and equipping the members with necessary tools, knowledge, training, and skills of securing the country borders, and water bodies. The main vision of military bodies is to secure its citizens from external aggressions. The armed forces leadership has divided the armies into different categories like air force, navy and ground battalions for effectively manning the borders to achieve a set vision of a safe nation. The commanders and troop leaders lay strategies like use of drones and satellite to attack enemies during war. The leaders ensure the fighting forces are equipped with the latest ammunitions and technologies of fighting. Support camp missions are established by the leaders to provide reinforcement both air, ground and sea to support fighting troops. As much as possible, the leaders have a duty to minimize the casualties of war, especially in the civilian zone area. The leadership supports the above mission of fewer casualties by only using technologies like drones to hit the enemy’s territories. During the American Iraq war, the mission of war was accomplished by focusing on areas where Sadam Hussein controlled to reduce impacts of the war to the Iraqi citizens.

Leadership changes in the organization

In the military section, I am, I would like to change the recruitment process of military cadets to make it more transparent and free from any nepotism and biases. The process must appear with no favors to uphold high levels of integrity in the force. The other section I would like to change is the military promotion of ranks. Some of the promotions are not fairly given; thus would make the process open and put in place stringent measures to bar instances of biases. Increasing the training programs for various leaders in the military is my main objective if I am given an opportunity to bring changes. Enhancing the communication channels in the different units of the force is a change I would initiate to foster collaborative relationships. I discovered there is a high level of bureaucracy on the span of command which I would like to decentralize for easier decision making. My other biggest concern is the time taken by the longest serving military personnel to receive promotions. I will reduce the time of service to allow early promotion of the long-serving soldiers to motivate them further to serve with lots of allegiances. The other thing I would change is the deployment of soldiers to the war tone areas. For a fact, most of the newly recruited soldiers are mostly send to war immediately after completing training, which I feel is not appropriate. I would prolong the period a little bit for the new recruits to have more experience in the force, before sending them for a mission.

Conclusion

In the United States armed forces, maintaining effective leadership programs is primarily important in developing an armed officer career. From the above discussion, exemplary performance is crucial, but there is no need for emphasizing perfection, as the soldiers will have fear of making mistakes. People learn from their mistakes; thus a good leader will encourage the members to learn from their mistakes and create appropriate solutions to combat the problem. True leadership in the army requires developing the members’ skills by providing them with an opportunity to serve in different capacities (Taylor, 2018).

 

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 References

Adeka, M. I., Shepherd, S. J., & Abd-Alhameed, R. A. (2016). Theoretical and conceptual issues in leadership and complex military operations. 

Bass, B. (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: learning to share the vision. Organizational Dynamics, 18, (3), Winter, 1990, 19-31.

F. Vito, G., E. Higgins, G., & S. Denney, A. (2014). Transactional and transformational leadership: An examination of the leadership challenge model. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management37(4), 809-822.

Harrell, A., & Simpson, B. (2015). The Dynamics of Prosocial Leadership: Power and Influence in Collective Action Groups. Social Forces94(3), 1283-1308.

Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2015). Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development (6th Ed.). Boston: Nelson Education.

Mill, J. S. (2016). Utilitarianism. In Seven Masterpieces of Philosophy (pp. 337-383). Canada: Routledge.

Northouse, P. G. (2018). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th Eds). London: Sage publications.

Taylor, R. L. (2018). Military leadership: In pursuit of excellence (6th Eds). New York: Routledge.

U.S. Army. (1983). Military Leadership. Field Manual 22-100. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Werchan, J., Fahey, C., Kring, J., Anglin, K., & Keebler, J. (2016). Relationship between Leadership Effectiveness, Personality, and Video Game Experience in a Military Simulation.

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