Building a motivated, satisfied, and committed workforce for high-skill jobs, like combat pilot, supply sergeant, and food service can be a nightmare. The United States Army is involved with all of these jobs and more. The attitudes and behaviors of leaders play an important role in shaping each soldier's attitude, such as their job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Different leaders behave in different ways, depending on their individual differences as well as their followers' needs and the organizational situation. Through the structure of the US Army, leadership will be defined as well as how these leaders in the world's most recognized organization is using power to get things done that need to get done. There is probably no topic more important to US Army's success today than leadership.
The concept of leadership in the US Army continues to evolve as the needs of organization change. First, let's discuss what leadership is in the US Army. Stress the basics, set the examples, and set the enforced standards is what leadership is in the US Army (online). This definition captures the idea that leaders are involved with other people in the achievement of goals. The fundamentals of leadership in the US Army are: demonstrates tactical and technical competence, teach subordinates, be a good listener, and treat soldiers with dignity and respect (online).
With these fundamentals in play come different styles of leadership in the US Army. These styles are: dictating, participating, and delegating. Delegating is the process managers use to transfer authority and responsibility to positions below them in the hierarchy (Draft, 817). The commander in the US Army delegates responsibilities to non-commissioned officers who then in turn delegate orders to lower ranking enlisted soldiers. This example is seen everyday as a task in the military. The US Army thrives on this method of leadership. The leader shares the problem with the relevant team members as a group, obtaining their collective ideas and suggestions.
Then the leader makes the decision that may or may not reflect team members influence is the leadership style of participating (online). This example can be found when a commander from his/her sergeants but in the end, the commander has the final decision whether the influence from his/her sergeants was used or not. This is a typical leadership style seen in combat zones, special assignments, and even in the Oval Office. The last leadership style found in the US Army is dictating.
The leader solves the problem or makes the decision using information available to the leader at the time (online). This example is most secret when the commander obtains necessary information from intelligents, then decides the solution. The commander may or may not tell the intelligents what the problem is in getting information from them. The role played by intelligents in making the decision is one of providing the necessary information to the commander rather than generating or evaluating alternative solutions. Leadership in the US Army can be seen as dynamic and involves the use of power to get things done.
Leadership success if focused on the leader's personal characteristics or traits. Traits are the distinguishing personal characteristics of a leader, such as intelligence, values, self-confidence, and appearance. In addition to personality traits, physical, social, and work-related characteristics of leaders is important also. The US Army has a system to a leader's traits or values. According to The Soldier's Handbook, "Everywhere you look on the fields of athletic competition, in combat training, operations, and in civilian communities soldiers are doing what is right" (TRADOC, 2-1). Loyalty is the first Army Value instilled in each soldier for potential leadership roles. Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other soldiers is loyalty (TRADOC, 2-2).
A loyal soldier does the following: respects the Constitution and laws, puts the obligations in correct order: the Constitution, the Army, the unit, and finally, self, observes higher Headquarters priorities, works within the system without manipulating it for personal advantage, shows faithfulness to unit and comrades, carries out tough orders without expressing personal criticism, and defends soldiers against unfair treatment from outside or above.
Duty is the second Army Value. To fulfill your obligation is duty (TRADOC, 2-5). A soldier who expresses the value of duty will, at a minimum, do the following: carry out requirements of job/office, fulfill legal, civic, and moral obligations. Treating people as they should be treated is respect (TRADOC, 2-8). This is the third Army Value. A soldier who consistently expresses respect does the following: recognizes dignity of all, demonstrates consideration for others; is discreet and tactful when correcting or questioning others, is courteous and polite, demonstrates concern for safety and well-being of others, creates a climate of fairness, values diversity and is sensitive to diversity issues, and does not take advantage of position of authority when placed in change of others.
The next Army Value is selfless service. Putting the welfare of the Nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own is selfless service (TRADOC, 2-12). A soldier who properly demonstrates the value of selfless service does the following: focuses priorities on service to the Nation, places needs of the Army above personal gain, ensures that soldiers' needs are met before attending to personal needs, balances mission, family, and personal needs, gives credit due others and accepts blame for the team. Honor is one of the most important Army Values. Honor means to live up to all the Army values (TRADOC, 2-14).