THREE PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACHES TO AN EFFECTIVE ARMY LEADERSHIP

The characteristics of an effective Army leader constitute the “Be, Know, Do” philosophy. As you have already learnt the fact that a leadership role is about influencing others to take appropriate actions, being a leader of an army involves more than one aspect; your character, your competence, and your own doings. You get to learn how to lead well by adopting the Army Values. You have a chance to explore and study military skills as well as practicing leadership actions. Only by this self-development will you become a confident and competent leader of character in the army.


#1st Philosophy – Be Who You Are (A Leader of Character)

Army leadership begins with what the leader must Be — the values and attributes that shape character. It may be helpful to think of these as internal and defining qualities you possess all the time. As defining qualities, they make up a leader’s identity. Your character is who you are and informs everything you do and ask others to do; you demonstrate your commitment to character and to a leadership role in the Army by adopting and living the seven Army Values and the leader attributes. These values form the foundation of your character as a military officer and will guide you in your career. By embracing the Army Values put into practice, you will teach and lead your subordinates by example, also help them develop leader attributes you possess.


#2nd Philosophy – Know the Skills You Have Mastered (A Leader with Intellectual Capacity)

Competence in soldiering skills (what you Know), is as important as good character in your growth as an Army leader. Without it, your command will lack substance. To ask your subordinates to perform according to standards, you must first master the standard of yourself. In order for you to do so, below here are the five types of Army leadership attributes and skills which will help you master in your training:

1. Mental Agility – having flexibility of mind, a tendency to anticipate or adapt to uncertain or changing situations.

2. Sound Judgment – having a capacity to assess situations or circumstances intellectually and to draw feasible conclusions.

3. Innovation – having ability to introduce something new for the first time when needed or when an opportunity exists.

4. Interpersonal Tact – interacting with others and accepting the character, reactions, and motives of oneself and others.

5. Domain Knowledge – possessing facts, beliefs, and logical assumptions and an understanding of military tactics related to securing a designated objective through military means.

Above all, the inherent part of an Army officer’s career is the opportunity for advancement and promotion. As you advance in rank and responsibility, you will face many new challenges. Therefore, having an understanding of and competence in basic Army skills will give you the ability to tackle these new challenges with confidence.


#3rd Philosophy – Do Carry Out Your Decisions (Lead, Develop, and Achieve)

As you have learnt the two philosophies mentioned above, here comes the third or the last part of what an army leader actually does. To begin with, leadership takes place in action. What you “Do” is as important as the Be and Know aspects of your Army leadership philosophy. While character and knowledge are necessary, they simply are not enough. This is because leaders cannot be effective until they apply what they know. What leaders Do, or leader actions, is directly associated with the influence they have on others and what is practically done on the field. While the process of influencing others may seem a little vague or intangible at first, the concept becomes concrete when it is coupled with operating actions (e.g. the short-term goal of accomplishing a mission such as holding a briefing or conducting a military drill).

Last but not least, it is a natural attribute of humans’ competitive drive to want to get better and improved at what they do. Leaders in seeking to build morale, unit esprit de corps, and performance will strive to improve the Soldiers, facilities, equipment, training, and resources under their command at all cost. Nothing speaks more clearly to your subordinates about your strong commitment to excellence and improvement than your ongoing assessment of your unit’s performance. After all, your investment of time, effort, and interest in your subordinates’ improved performance will pay dividends in building trust and loyalty.



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