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Management as One of The Foundations of Army Leadership

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Words: 1716 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Words: 1716|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Foundations of Army Leadership: Definition and Levels
  2. Management as the Second Foundation of Army Leadership
  3. Who are Commanders: Leaders or Managers?
  4. Conclusion

The success or failure of the operational effectiveness of any unit or group depends on the qualities possessed by its commanders. The interrelationship between differing levels of command, leadership styles and management techniques will determine success or failure on operations. Foundations of army leadership consists of leadership and management. This essay will examine how commanders are both leaders and managers. It will briefly outline some vital aspects commanders must focus upon in order to build the espirit-de-corps of the unit or subordinates. It will provide instances of relevant management and leadership qualities displayed by military commanders on the battlefield. It will conclude by outlining some key focal points to help build leadership and management styles of a commander.

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Foundations of Army Leadership: Definition and Levels

Leadership is the art of influencing and directing people to achieve willingly the team or organizational goal. Implied in this definition is the indefinable nature of leadership that has as much to do with a leader's character. Leadership focuses on aligning subordinates with the commander's vision. This is achieved through clear and concise communication by the dissemination of information through all ranks to ensure that the commanders vision is well understood. This is further enhanced through the commanders ability to motivate and inspire hisher subordinates.

Leadership creates in an individual a command presence through moral authority. Moral authority is a function of individual integrity based on character and is bestowed by members of the team; not necessarily one's superiors. Soilders tend to display a sense of urgency whilst under supervision, however, a degree of laxity arises when a soilders superior is not directly managing the completion of tasks. The performances of individual members of the team lay in the interpersonal skills possessed by a commander.

The Army leadership Model (ALM) provides a conceptual framework for effective leadership practice and outstanding teamwork.5 There are three levels in which leadership is practised in the army. These levels include the following:

  1. individual,
  2. team,
  3. organizational framework.

The individual level of leadership concerns the development of personal character and competence and involves a continual process that includes putting leadership into action.6 In simple terms, this level of leadership can be expressed through the concept of a commander development through knowledge and action. This level of leadership emphasizes that it is imperative for a commander to possess the ability of self-reflection; to live by military values whether on or off duty, and to instill these values in the commanders subordinates through setting personal examples.

The team level of leadership is focused in the direct relationship between leaders and subordinates. It involves the leader, the team and the context, fixated on an enduring need for results. In this component, the leader sets the direction, builds and manages the team. Team building is achieved by using an appropriate balance of power and participation to encourage commitment from subordinate members.

The organizational level of leadership is about controlling and influencing the larger team, utilizing staff and subordinate leaders, through a range of varied and complex events. Effectiveness at this level requires leaders to make every opportunity to meet with junior ranks to learn firsthand about the issues that affect them. Organizational leaders must craft the desired leadership culture and environment. For example, the conduct of battalion activities fosterers inter-competitions within the unit. These competitions drive the attainment of espirit-de-corps within the companies and platoons soldiers represent.

Management as the Second Foundation of Army Leadership

The process of planning, organizing, directing and controlling organizational resources in the pursuit of organizational goals. To effectively understand and apply current management practice, it is helpful to understand the evolution of management theory and how the development of various approaches contributed to contemporary techniques. Irrespective of rank, the success of any team depends on the effective management of its commander. Proper management allows a commander to make better use of resources allocated. In the military context, resources more than often refers to people (thus the term human resources).

 Planning involves setting goals and the methods to achieve them. Planning includes the development of supporting objectives and tasks, determining the timing for their completion, the specification of performance measures and the identification of individuals responsible for ensuring that plans are carried out. This is where commanders have the opportunity to map out a short term and long term goal for the team with time deadlines to accomplish them. Upon the attainment of these goals, commanders must acknowledge the effects attributed by members of the team. This gives subordinates a sense of pride and further builds espirit-de-corps.

Directing is the function of management that is also referred to as motivating or leading. Directing is the function that involves influencing the team to achieve objectives. It involves communicating the vision, providing direction and working directly with people. Directing is reliant on managers having an effective leadership style if they wish to engage subordinates on a more personal level. This function involves adjusting activities and monitoring performance to ensure that actual performance meets the desired outcome. It includes establishing standards of performance and taking corrective actions where there is any deviation from requirements.

A fundamental element of the management process that is often overlooked is the concept of utilization. Utilization is the defining element that shapes outcomes from the delivered outputs. Utilization is variable, and the application of diverse methods, techniques and procedures on identical outputs, in all probability, will deliver different outcomes. Such outcomes may be expected or unexpected. This is not necessarily a disadvantage; however, the assumption that identical outputs will deliver identical outcomes is fallacious. In addition, unexpected outcomes may be advantageous, not necessarily undesirable. In the military context, utilization includes the conduct of operations and training and the application of policy advice. Impact and outcome evaluation is therefore necessary to determine the appropriateness, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and efficiency of delivering the desired outcomes.

Who are Commanders: Leaders or Managers?

The author of this essay believes that commanders are mutually leaders and managers as both leadership and management characteristics play a distinct but an interrelated role in any military institution. The distinction between the aforementioned characteristics lay in their attributes. Leadership sorts to engage subordinates through:

  • influencing,
  • establishing direction,
  • aligning the team with the direction established through clear and concise communication,
  • developing the potential of each member of the team and
  • motivating the team to overcome hurdles towards the established goal.

The self-sacrifice of Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu is an illustration that best defines the mutual utilization of leadership and management characteristics. The NCO crawled forward to rescue some members of his platoon that were laid casualties when they were ambushed. After two wounded men had been successfully recovered this NCO, who was in command of the rear section, volunteered to go on farther alone to try and rescue another one, in spite of machine gun and mortar fire. But on the way back he himself was seriously wounded in the groin and thighs and fell to the ground, unable to move any farther. Several attempts were then made to rescue Corporal Sukanaivalu but without success owing to heavy fire being encountered on each occasion and further casualties caused. This gallant N.C.O. then called to his men not to try and get to him as he was in a very exposed position, but they replied that they would never leave him to fall alive into the hands of the enemy.

Realising that his men would not withdraw as long as they could see that he was still alive and knowing that they were themselves all in danger of being killed or captured as long as they remained where they were, Corporal Sukanaivalu, well aware of the consequences, raised himself up in front of the Japanese machine gun and was riddled with bullets. This brave Fiji soldier, after rescuing two wounded men with the greatest heroism and being gravely wounded himself, deliberately sacrificed his own life because he knew that it was the only way in which the remainder of his platoon could be induced to retire from a situation in which they must have been annihilated had they not withdrawn.

Corporal Sukanaivalu's legacy leaves a hallmark for the principles and attributes commanders must possess in order to effectively lead and manage the team. This NCO understood the danger he had exploited the rescuing friendlies were trapped in. He willingly forfeited himself from the battle field by intentionally taking his life. This showed boldness, courage, humility and respect. The actions undertaken by this Fijian soldier inspired both his subordinates and superior commanders in attaining the overall mission whilst employed in the operational theatre; this indicates mission command.

Conclusion

Management is one of the core foundations of army leadership. Management can be actioned without leadership, however, without leadership management becomes a routine process of administration. In itself, management does not motivate. Any influence to achieve tasks is compliance based and will not endure. Authority without the ability to lead will not produce effective results or build the mutual trust necessary for individuals to continue to willingly achieve tasks.

At its core, army leadership requires both leadership and management. The character of the individual best defines the army's leaders. It creates the foundation for the development of a level of trust between the leader and team members. Leaders must set high ethical standards in personal behavior. As interpersonal skills are essential to leading teams, leaders must understand individual and group behavior.

Every organization should function as a team with every team member focused on achieving the organizational goals. One must consider the use of verbal communication, instead of formal written communication, a key factor in developing esprit de corps. The army is based on a philosophy founded on teamwork and this is reflected by the fact that teamwork is one of the army's core values. The army's structural organization is based on the team, from the section through to the highest HQ. The leadership principle 'build the team and challenge its abilities' focuses on developing camaraderie among team members.

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As alluded to earlier in this essay, leadership and management are interrelated. Each aspect is applied simultaneously; to a varying degree depending on the situation. This broader perspective has at its centre the core ingredient for leadership and management; that is; a commanders individual character. This is the foundation for the development of a level of trust between the commander and team members. While individuals may spend much time developing professional mastery, the quality and character of the individual best defines commander.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

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Management as One of the Foundations of Army Leadership. (2023, July 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/management-as-one-of-the-foundations-of-army-leadership/
“Management as One of the Foundations of Army Leadership.” GradesFixer, 03 Jul. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/management-as-one-of-the-foundations-of-army-leadership/
Management as One of the Foundations of Army Leadership. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/management-as-one-of-the-foundations-of-army-leadership/> [Accessed 28 Feb. 2024].
Management as One of the Foundations of Army Leadership [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Jul 03 [cited 2024 Feb 28]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/management-as-one-of-the-foundations-of-army-leadership/
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