Leadership in the military setting is defined as the process of influencing others to accomplish the task at hand, through the provision of purpose, direction, and motivation. In the military, if there is no leadership, it would lead to chaos, which will ultimately lead to defeat, in case enemy attacks. A good leader needs to be able to maintain the knowledge of the standards of conduct, rules of engagement, military policies, Geneva Conventions, and the countrys laws to ensure that the orders that he or she makes are legal and will not land his or her juniors in any form of trouble. Effective leaders understand that their actions and the decisions that they make are a direct reflection of their leadership and also of the army. They also need to act as role models and provide a sense of direction for their juniors.
Military leaders depending on their rank are given the ability to command their juniors to accomplish a certain task. The command is defined as the authority a person who is in the military service exercises over his or her subordinates regarding his rank, assignment, and even military position. The most important technique that is used in the military, in regards to the leadership, is the use of the chain of command. The chain of command provides a sequence of commanders in the military setting who have the authority and primary responsibility for accomplishing a certain task; while ensuring that they take care of both the personnel and property that are under them. It shows that the fundamental responsibilities of a military leader are; to accomplish the tasks that they have been given and to always put the welfare of the soldiers and property under him or her first.
Effective leaders encourage and support the growth of their juniors to ensure that the organization can achieve the goals that it set. Good leaders prepare others to take leadership positions, and this provides a sense of high production to the organization. Also, effective leaders can provide guidance and motivate their juniors to have the right mindset when it comes to accomplishing the tasks at hand in a timely and most effective manner.
There are three levels of leadership in a military setting: direct, organizational and strategic. A direct leader is normally a team or squad leader whose responsibility is building a cohesive bond among the team of soldiers that are under him. He is also responsible for empowering the subordinates through the implementation of various policies that ensures the team can accomplish the missions that are provided. A direct leader can operate in an independent manner, but he needs to operate within the limits of his superiors in the chain of command of the military.
Organizational leaders are higher in the chain of command, and they are provided with the responsibility of battalions or brigades. The policies that they implement influence the command climate, and they need to be exceptionally skilled in regards to communication, negotiation, interpersonal skills, and critical reasoning. They also need to have the skills of being good at making effective decisions even when they are under pressure, solve problems in their regiment, and have a full understanding of the entire range of operations.
Strategic leaders are normally the highest ranked officers in the military setting. They are responsible for setting the organizational structure, allocation of resources, and providing the strategic vision of the military organization in a certain country. They normally develop strategic plans, policies, guidance and laws that shape the structural designs of the military regarding future mission requirements and capabilities. They are also responsible for making complex military decisions such as the military programs that take precedence over other less important programs in the military.
Various principles show a good leader in the military. In the military setting, a good leader needs to be tactical and technically proficient. In this case, it indicates that when faced with a challenging situation, the military leader will provide the guidance that is required because the juniors will look up to him or her. The decision that he or she makes will be the best out of various alternatives that will be available regarding his or her team capability. An effective leader needs to know and understands all his strengths and weaknesses as far as leadership is concerned and seek to make constant improvements on a regular basis. It is also important to read and understand the different personalities of the juniors that the leader is responsible for at the military setting. It will help a leader to know the soldiers to groom for future leadership positions, and the soldiers to allocate different tasks about their capabilities in the military setting. Coaching is a fundamental component that military leaders need to possess. It helps them to mentor the lesser experienced soldiers and help them reach their potential. As a leader, it is important to mentor soldiers in both a professional and a casual manner.
The military leader needs to constantly train his soldiers so that they can embody the warrior ethos as it is provided in the soldiers creed. It is important to note that in the military, future leaders are selected from the military, and therefore, there is the need to train and develop its junior soldiers for future responsibilities. An effective leader needs to have good communication skills to command the juniors to accomplish a certain task, inform them of their duties at a certain period, and ensure that the commands are adequately followed. A good leader also leads by example, which means that; he will check that his juniors have the supplies that are required, assist in the planning process, engage his juniors, and even take up various tasks, especially the ones that are deemed to be complex, and complete them. A hands-on leader shows his team that he is not only good at making commands or decisions, but he can work on the tasks that he provides to his team. However, caution needs to be taken on this aspect because; if the leader becomes too hands-on he may disrupt the cohesion of the team. His juniors may feel that he is not an effective leader if he feels that he has to participate in the accomplishment of the task fully.
Effective leadership in the military is facilitated by respect towards the authoritative figures, loyalty to the nation, military, duty and conducting selfless services. Respect is an important factor in leadership, and all leaders need to ensure that they invoke respect among their juniors. It is mainly because; if a leader is respected he will able to lead junior soldiers who are motivated. Also, to earn respect, a good soldier needs to be in a position where he or she can provide respect to others both the juniors and the seniors. Loyalty means that the soldier is committed to accomplishing his tasks in different capacities in the military setting, and he is ready to execute all the duties within the military setting.
In conclusion, an effective leader in the military needs to be able to motivate the junior officers to be willing to accomplish the tasks of their units no matter the complexities involved. He also needs to be good in communication skills and inform his or her unit of the tasks and developments that are required of them. Also, he also needs to coach and train his junior officers for future leadership positions in the military, based on their potential and skills. Moreover, an effective leader needs to be respectful both to his juniors and seniors, and be provided with respect. Respect is fundamental, and it is the one that ensures the chain of command in the military can be applied at all times to run the affairs of the military.
Rumsey, Michael G. The Oxford Handbook of Leadership. OUP USA. Copyright., 6 Dec. 2012, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ssZm2GwPDVcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=leadership+in+the+military+setting&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=leadership%20in%20the%20military%20setting&f=false. Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.Sharma, Dheeraj. Leadership Lessons from the Military. SAGE Publications India, 6 Oct. 2014, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=mOyICwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=leadership+in+the+military+setting&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=leadership%20in%20the%20military%20setting&f=false. Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.
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