Army Leadership Issues Essay

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The Army must continually evolve its organizational culture to reach and exceed the high standards the organization sets for itself, and to fulfill its obligation to the nation as a whole. Soldiers in the Army should always be held accountable for their behaviors and contributions to the organization, but leadership and organizational culture are ultimately what sets the tone and establishes standards of officer comportment. Therefore, it is always important to recognize the role that leadership plays in cultivating the type of ethical climate conducive to effective military action.

The most pressing issues in army leadership and management include the establishment of an organizational climate that is solution-focused, built on a solid ethical footing. More specific issues at stake in army leadership relate to the ways current managers cultivate the talents and skills in their subordinates, recognizing high achievers or those with high potential and promoting leadership development within the army. Leadership development is not always presented or promoted effectively within the army, which impedes the ability of the organization to fulfill its goals. Personal experiences with both effective and ineffective leadership development and transition planning lend further insight into how the military in general may improve its organizational culture and human resources practices, to ensure the ongoing recruitment and retention of top performers.

Personal experiences also shed light on the importance of ethical leadership, particularly in hierarchical organizations like the army. I had the pleasure once of training under a senior officer who worked within the servant leadership framework. The servant leadership framework, which is typically contextualized under the rubric of spiritual leadership theory, resituates the role of the leader vis-a-vis the organization (Fry, Vitucci & Cedillo, 2005). Increasingly taking root within the ranks of Army leaders, servant leadership and spiritual leadership theory promotes a value-based ethical commitment that comprises everything from soldier motivation to engagement and productivity (Fry, Vitucci & Cedillo, 2005). Although the terminology used in servant leadership literature and theory seem sometimes to conflict with the tenor of the organization, the impetus for change is clear. The Army has faced and continues to face ethical challenges, many of which have adversely impacted the functionality of the organization and which have certainly damaged its reputation and credibility (Allen, 2015). To remedy this problem, a cohort of dedicated military leaders have embarked on a mission to alter their managerial tactics, particularly when it comes to human resources development.
My experiences in training with a servant leader demonstrated the efficacy of the spiritual leadership theory model.

Spiritual leadership interjects ethical values into the organizational culture. Specifically, the servant leadership approach empowers individual subordinates to take personal responsibility for their actions through the creation of a climate of trust and open communication. As Bradshaw (2018) points out, communication is “key to successful interaction between leaders and their subordinates,” (p. 1). Not only is communication key to the establishment of strong interpersonal relationships in the army;…

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…those individuals in ways that are culturally appropriate as well as aligned with the needs of their career path. Even when providing leadership development for those transitioning to the civilian sector, it is important to remember that former soldiers represent the army. Inculcating ethical values and behaviors in all members of the military will facilitate the army’s role in protecting and preserving the fundamental tenets of American life.

Personal experiences with strong leaders have also inspired me to become a transformative leader in the army. The importance of ethical behavior and high standards has been communicated to me directly by senior officers as well as like-minded colleagues. Together, committed soldiers can transform the organizational culture and eliminate the unfortunate elements that create a toxic environment or which enable unethical decisions. Leaders in the military face a pressing need to set the standards for ethical comportment in the army. Serving as ideal role models for subordinates, leaders can exhibit ethical behavior in several ways: by promoting transparency and open communication, for example. Empowering subordinates to make decisions and contribute to the organization allows leaders to cultivate the organizational climate conducive to effective and productive teams. Finally, servant leaders remain focused on the future of the organization. The servant leader applies spiritual principles to all managerial decisions, uprooting unethical behaviors systematically. The future of the army requires a comprehensive strategy to develop soldiers, preparing them for the contingencies of their future careers in either the military or….....

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Allen, C.D. (2015). Ethics and army leadership. Parameters 45(1):69-83.

Bradshaw, C. (2018). NCOs confront leadership challenges. NCO Journal. 20 March, 2018.

Fry, L.W., Vitucci, S. & Cedillo, M. (2005). Spiritual leadership and army transformation: Theory, measurement, and establishing a baseline. The Leadership Quarterly 16(5): 835-862.

Rose, K., Herd, A. & Palacio, S. (2016). Organizational citizenship behavior. Advances in Developing Human Resources 19(1): 14-24.

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