Importance of good leadership, command and management in military environment
There is wide recognition of leadership, command and management through the vast amounts of the available literatures. What is good leadership, command and management? How can good leadership skills be acquired? The study of leadership, command and management is a lifelong endeavour that is composed of good values such as loyalty, ability to act as well as the ability to pass clear messages to the subordinates in a particular group (Boulder, 2009, p.67). However, little has been developed pertaining to the three although scholars recognize that they are closely related especially in the military context. In a broad spectrum, different scholars have defined leadership in different ways. Over a long period, it has been impossible to determine whether leadership is an aspect or a consequence of status. However, according to Horn and Walker(2008), leadership is the ability of one human being to stir sentiments in an organizational perspective and influence the behaviours of others especially the lesser. In view of this, it has been concluded that leadership is an inherent source of power; the power to direct a group of people towards the achievement of a leader’s goals by transmitting those goals into aims of everyone. In general, leadership is an elusive quality that is expressed in different environments. Secondly, according to Beerel (2009), command refers to an order given by a commander and engulfs the will of the commander expressed for the purpose of bringing about a particular change or achieving a specific objective. Use of command is mostly emphasized in the military environments. Inherently, command is different at each level of military operations and the task changes in different dimensions in relation to the will and the skills of those in commands. Finally, the third feature is good management. According to Boulder (2009), management refers to the organization, coordination, planning, controlling of organizational or a group’s activities in order to achieve the best and attain the set goals. The three aspects are critical and very important in the military operations and their applications have significant benefits in the operations at large. This research paper aims at uncovering the importance’s of leadership, command and management in military environments.
In the literature of military, the three aspects of good organizational structure have vast amounts of definitions. In a broad spectrum, over a long period scholars have recognized the significance of good leadership and cohesion in military environments especially when it comes to ensuring military success in variety of domains. All the same, it is evident that military activities can only be achieved effectively if only all members can carry out their activities responsibly in a collective approach (Beerel, 2009, p.119). This essentially means that everybody in any military operation irrespective of the occupation, operational rank or status has a role to play and should operate in accordance to the military guiding principles. Most importantly, military leadership, command and management play a vital role in ensuring the mentioned success.
Military leadership is the process of critically influencing other individuals in a military operation to accomplish a set mission by offering a structured purpose, target objective, direction, and purposeful motivation. On the other hand, command is a term that is closely linked to leadership in a military environment and it refers to the authority a person in military service legally exercises over other individuals or subordinates by the high merit of his or her rank and position (Horn &Walker, 2008, p.48). This means that the most successful military organization is the one that practices god leadership and promotes cohesiveness that bonds the personnel together an integrated sense of rationale and belongingness. Although good leadership is not an easy task to define, recent research and scholars have developed a substantial basis that creates a relationship between a military operation performance and good leadership, command and management. Inherently, good leadership has not only proved to have a positive impact on the performance but has also shown an improved group functioning by buffering effects that arise from poor leadership strategies. As illustrated and discussed by different researchers, Leadership in a military environment is characterized a Leadership strategy that is not managerial in the military perspective as well as a style that focuses on personal emphatic and direct contact with soldiers. Nevertheless, a military leadership should be charismatic in nature rather than glib (Horn &Walker, 2008, p. 109). In most cases, leadership in the military is viewed as protective of certain members of a group. Most of the good leaders in this case are guided by the capability of not focusing on success but focus on building and neutralizing on the failures earlier realized (Beerel, 2009, p. 88). In wider terms, leadership comes in many shapes and approaches and each has both positive and negative. As a result, effective leaders acknowledge the significance of applying the best strategies at all costs. In its simplest forms, leadership is all about influencing individuals to act and achieve some objectives that are critical and important to the leader, the entire group or even an organization (Horn &Walker, 2008, p. 176). In basic terms, leadership is a human element that leads, motivates and inspires particularly during times of chaos, misunderstandings, crisis and complexity and provides a solution when directives have less or no or have little effect on cold, exhausted and stressed subordinates. In many cases, research has established that good leadership mostly in the military environment encourages subordinates to go beyond their obligations and committing themselves into the mission in a way that maximizes their potential (Beerel, 2009, p. 37). Most importantly, in the military good leadership serves as a very individualistic yet a very powerful component that allows commanders and leaders at all levels to shape and alter the environment in which subordinates and thereby, influencing the individuals characters, behaviour and even the actions of others. As such, good leadership is a key factor in motivating individuals to fight more.
The most important thing about good leadership is that it provides the basis for the constructive role modelling hence providing an extremely influence on individual reactions on threatening events. As pertains the American involvement in the World War II, scholars have realized that leadership from in front especially in war is very imperative. In addition, researchers have repeatedly proven that the availability of solicitous leadership creates a force that helps resist fear in military environments and hence provide a strong constituent of combat motivation
In any military mission the main and the basic task of a leader is to ensure the success and the accomplishment of the operation as well as ensuring the welfare of the subordinate colleagues. Furthermore, to ensure the quoted success, the command in military environments is offered through an organized structure; that is the chain of command. In general, a chain of command is the sequence of commanders in an operation who have a series of duties and responsibilities to ensure the accomplishment of the mission as well as caring for the personnel and the possessions they are under charge. Particularly in the military, it is very important that soldiers including those in leadership understand that most of the time, they rely more on those who are on their left or right for working support. Nevertheless, good leadership helps leaders gain honour from their subordinates. The key characteristics of good leadership in the military being honour, morality and integrity of which the three derive directly from the unique and pronounced intensity of the military environment in which the leadership is expressed. In terms of leadership, military organizations are different from other leadership organs in terms of their basic nature and reasons for being (Horn &Walker, 2008). Consequently, the power of the military official to exercise and influence the performance of the other soldiers are as a result of good leadership. In fact, soldiers always follow a good leader at any conditions of any battle. Nevertheless, good military leadership is built by developing military familiarity, trustworthiness and reliance from followers who in most cases are the soldiers. Military leadership in issues with reference to an operation is important because it prevents the fighters from leaning towards different solutions hence preventing argumentation and confrontations within a group undertaking a vital manoeuvre.
Command in military perspective refers to the way and means by which the commander sees the need and takes most appropriate and possible actions to have the need satisfied. Command encompasses all military operations and functions giving them a meaning and matching to complete unit with functional entities. The duty of commanding is vested on the commander who is authorized by set statutes to give directives as the situation may demand (Chapman, 2009, p.65). In military environment, command cannot be separated from control. Command exists with a view to imparting control on controls in order to ensure coordination and response to emergency in military field. Commands may take a form of quick reaction that makes it possible to execute duties accurately in a moment of crisis. Command requires some level of experience, and judgment that can only be performed only by skilled personnel who are capable of devising tactic and operation strategies. According to scholars, command occurs in three distinct categories that are highly linked to enhance the success of military operation. The basics for all command in the military activities is the power that is vested in the commanders, over their subordinates. The authority is in form of a rank that is bestowed to an individual either by the defiance force or by law through the constitution. In the military perspective, the personal command comes because of an individual’s charisma, experience and diligence in the execution of his duties. The other members of the organization normally crown this power to an individual. Noteworthy, official command provides the power to act but is not sufficient to make resounding impacts (Shamir, 2011, p.109). Most of the powerful commander’s possess extra power from the personal experience or inborn attributes. In the military, this high degree of personal authority, coupled with legal power is what makes charismatic commanders in the forces and the powers are delegated to subordinates. However, the commanders remain accountable since they are obliged to report to senior authority for instance the head of state. Command in the defence force is a complex activity that comprise of diverse but linked activities that are coordinated to achieved common direct and purpose. As a significant factor for success in military operations, command touches the people’s social, cultural and economic. Nevertheless, the authority gained from possession of commanding power controls the inter relations among individuals of varying backgrounds. Military command exists in three categories that are diverse but highly related. These categories are; legal, individual and departmental command (Wittmann, 2012, p.78).
Firstly, legal command is vested in the head of the state by the constitution that has the power over the armed forces. The head of state charges the secretary of the state the general task for security. The state secretary in turn confers the power to the commanders in chief of armed forces. For that reason, the command is vested to the commanders but through higher powers that assigns force to them to accomplish operation. (Shamir, 2011, p.98).The commanders, guided by military principle of service to the nation, organize coordinates and commands the troops carry out an operation. Command is the central feature of a formal military structure and defines the individual control over others in a given area of expertise.
Secondly, individual exercise of command involves the manner in which the commander makes decisions and conveys them to his juniors. The individual command gives commanders the authority, responsibility and duty to act in a manner that safeguards the safety of the state. In this case, the commander makes decision, communicates them and directs the subordinates to take action for accomplishment of a mission hence fostering success. However, the commander remains accountable for the decision they make (Muth, 2011, p.101). In this context, command and accountability requires keen analysis. To enhance efficient and smooth running of the military operations, commanders are liable and obliged to answer to the superior about the power delegated them. On the other side, subordinates in the military environments remain answerable to the commanders. Command in this case may include the acts of controlling, ordering and predicting of which the three enhance the aspect of future success hence promoting success. Organizational command is related to entity design and takes hierarchical structure from the supreme to the subordinate hence this ensures that work is divided to achieve high level of coordination among the work activities involved in the troops. Moreover, it is majorly concerned with division of labor, departmentalization, authority allocation and span control that promote efficacy. It is worth noting that, effective training and education is important to commander in military environment. With the acquired knowledge from the training, planning skills are developed that sharpens situational awareness and is required in the rapid response to combat and establish controls. Inherently, war being a major issue that brings conflict between parties, solution is needed and commonly comes in form of command. In the military, there is no single activity in accomplishing a mission that is as important as command. Command can end conflicts without making attacks, destroying enemy targets and engaging in any war fighting activity (Muth, 2011, p.123). Planning organization and success of battles lies on the degree of command. In absence of command, military unit will possibly degenerate into mobs and subordination of troops will be replaced by violence and misunderstanding. In review, command is the tool that drives all military activities and operations. Military command gives all the operations of martial purpose and direction. When command is well done, it grants the activities success and meaning. Contrary, poorly executed military command calls for disasters from the potential enemies. Command bestows the commanders with an opportunity to best apply their intellectual capability to safeguard the safety of all citizens as well as upholding the troops reputation. Commander makes decision on what they feel is good for the people and then give directives to the subordinates to act immediately promoting response within the troops (Wittmann, 2012, p.77). Seemingly, senior commanders make suggestions about division of work at organizational level, delegate the authority and finally institute a span control. Eventually, these decisions become elaborate and clearly depict the organization structure. Command facilitates in building the military culture that outlines how operations are carried out. Establishing culture enables commanders to identify the weak point that need check for the improvement to be achieved.
According to Ploch, (2009), command includes task such as collecting and analyzing data, planning, organizing resources and making decision that aims at monitoring and supervising military activities and operations. Command results to a procedure of executing an activity although it’s self not a procedure. In military context, command imparts control on all the activities and operations carried out that range from simple data collection to complex analysis to facilitate communication of instructions and information obtained. Commands in military environment helps at providing an insight into the requirements of an insecurity challenge faced by a nation. In addition, the command will assist at developing the intelligence about enemy and their habitat. As argued by the Chapman (2009), best way to defeat an enemy is by understanding his environment, tactics that they use and their intensity of their threat and this can only be achieved with good command in place. This enable s the military troops to unravel truths about the enemy’s intentions, strengths and weakness. Consequently, the commander having the prerequisite skills and information is empowered to plan and deploy troops in a battle having situational awareness of the attacks.
Furthermore, commands aids in developing and setting suitable goals and devising mechanisms to adapt to those goals as the situation changes. Military authority lends a hand in developing appropriate action plan to attain desired aspirations. The power creates direction and focus that provides a vigorous approach for assessing numerous essentials of the force. Authority also provides for means of constant monitoring and evaluation to assess the adaptability of the mechanisms employed. Above all, it should provide an opportunity to conceal the military intentions against the potential enemies a long side developing a rapid response system. Briefly, good power and control should generate responsive actions that are appropriate, applicable, and decisive and secure (Shamir, 2011, P.79). Even though commanding system is constantly evolving, the basic nature is that war is undesirable and unwanted. Technological changes and improvements have lessened the demand for commands in the military environment. The evolution of commands has not kept pace with the complexities of warfare. Command seems to impart controls that are merely dealing with basic challenges of uncertainties of time. The impact of command remain static irrespective of the constant changes in the war‘s sophistications.
Another importance tool in the success of military operations is management. Management in broad spectrum refers to the acts of organizing and coordinating human resource to achieve a desired objective (Schwartz, 2006, P.24). It is an important component in success of any activity. The success of the military operations high depends on the capability of the senior officers. It is a very complex issue and therefore best explained through it features. Actually, management has been a matter of academic interest as scholars try to unravel its functions and features (Dudley, 2012, p.67). Like Leadership, management is referred as one of the strong military tool since there does not exist any weapon that can replace it. The quality of management largely determines the success of defence forces operation. The success with which the troops accomplish mission is depended on the management skills of the commanders. Managers attempt to balance the allocation of resources to different units within an organization to achieve set goals. Management is one of the major responses to security issues that military highly value (European Conference on Knowledge Management, & Neto, 2010, p.79). Due to change and growth in size of defence forces, many complexities are evident in the military environments. To handle these sophistications, good planning, coordination and organization is paramount. Proper and equitable allocation of resources assures of balance between all the units of the defence that are interdependent (Ehlen and Harmon, 2001, p.88). For the reason of this mutualism, the success of one unit is the success of the entire system therefore the existence of effective and efficient management brings about a certain degree of consistency to the important decisions made by the military officials. In the military as quoted earlier management develops the capacity to goals achievement through proper organization and staffing hence sets the organization structure and creates jobs to accomplish a military operation. This is achieved through care analysis of situations and providing a framework for accomplishment through decision-making. Management identifies a problem, suggests solution through process of problem solving and draws a plan for implementation (Ehlen and Harmon, 2001, p.89). Noteworthy, military is very complex issue with many activities running concurrently. These activities require planning coordination and balancing to have them executed simultaneously. For better results, motivation and inspiration on the part of staff is mandatory. Actually, management aims at maximizing human resource with the available skills and technology and it applies in the same way in the military therefore a key element in the success of military missions. For instance, good management in the forces helps officials to plan for financial resources and the numbers of troops to be deployed in a certain battle. (European Conference On Knowledge Management and Neto, 2010, p.106). In addition, good military management influences proper budgetary allocation by the supervision. Military administration is also very important in evaluating the success of an operation. In this, the operation is assessed whether it was time and cost effective. Management also assesses how a military activity achieves external goals. The results of evaluation helps the managers detect loopholes in the defence force and then suggest action to ensure that a nation is safe from all threats. In addition, management ensures that all the support organs of the military are availed for the continued success of the defence force. It may be argued that, the success of military lies in its management. Management combines all functional units in defence force and coordinates them to collectively achieve a collectively achieve a common goal (Dudley, 2012, p.109). According to the European Conference On Knowledge Management and Neto (2010), management is a vital driving force that propels all the activities and the operations of the military. It outlines the necessary framework for the implementation of the policies and the decision made. In fact, European Conference On Knowledge Management and Neto (2010), proposed that there is need to improve management which is a vital element of military and effort mechanisms and should be put in place to improve functionality an endeavour that can only be achieved through training, benchmarking and motivation (Ehlen and Harmon, 2001, p.123). Institutions that offer military studies need to be boosted by the government through resource allocation with the core aim of improving the achieving high quality and efficient work force in the field of military. Additionally, the soldiers need some training especially in area that are highly challenging like the war torn area, where they are fully engaged in field operations. To achieve the overall success of the management other aspects should be incorporated to ensure balance among management leadership and command. The types of leadership with the defence forces help at streaming the command that exist. Management comes as a facilitator of the overall implementation of what is decided at the drawing table.
As defined earlier in the introduction, management in the military context refers to the allocation and control as well as the coordination of human, financial and material resources to achieve the goals and objectives set (Rodt, 2014, p. 77). Essentially, in matters concerning military operations, the measure for good management is the ability to achieve balance in all activities undertaken. For managers senior individuals in a military environment to ensure that their management operations are good and effective, scholars argue that knowing the roles they should play in order to achieve success is essential. Without good and effective management strategies in organizations more so the military groups in the fast-moving and dynamic environment, the operations tend to turn chaotic and this in the long rum may threaten success (Sooters et al., 2010, p. 128). As a basic factor and component of success in any organizational process and approach, management brings a degree of consistency to some of the critical decision made by the senior officials in the military. In the same way as in other organizations, management in the military has not been left behind in promoting staffing. It develops the capacity for military organizations to achieve their plans by aligning individuals into the positions they best fit (Rodt, 2014, p. 77). When deeply analyzed, management applies the same approaches as leadership and command. In this sense, separating the three in the military environment denies success a chance hence failure to attain the set objectives. In addition, in the military environment, management ensures plan accomplishment by controlling and monitoring through the analysis and evaluation of the results achieved versus the plan.
As leadership, command and management in the present times are more than the leader and the led, more than the commander and the commanded as well as more than the manager and the managed respectively, the officers of today in the military have to subtly develop good and effectual alternative ways through which, they will lead, command and manage efficiently. For instance, in the present the Royal Air Force subordinates are treated in ethical way such that they can question any treatment accorded to them by their seniors hence provoking the traditional methods that used to utilize the unquestionable commands form above. Actually, the traditional approaches that undermined the status of the subordinates should no longer be acceptable in any military environment (Sooters et al., 2010, p. 128). Today, military organizations due to good leadership, command and management can move from temporary and uncooperative systems to more empowered groups hence nurturing healthy, decent and valuable followers that with the post-bureaucratic minds can push any military agenda towards its success. Additionally, leaders, managers and commanders in the military should adhere to good leadership styles, team building strategies and matrix-style management that helps bring together military fraternity and inter agency operations in a fast paced, high tempo environment. At the same time, the officials should continuously and simultaneously design and implement policies and plans to maximize on group cohesion, promote subordinate potential as well as providing healthy professional ethics. With this kind of atmosphere in the military environment, this kind of leadership will end up creating more future leaders rather than developing lenient followers (Rodt, 2014, p. 77). Therefore, major purpose and goal of such up to date leaders, commanders and managers would produce change, transforming people and military organizations by setting and articulating vivid vision and implementing effective strategies that inspire even others. Some scholars refer to the three as “The Success Trinity”. To sum up, good and effective leadership, command and management in the military context serve as the three pillars that support success.
Beerel, A. C. (2009). Leadership and change management. Los Angeles, SAGE.
Boulder.CO. (2009). Military leadership in pursuit of excellence. Boulder, CO, Westview Press.
Chapman, B. (2009). Military doctrine: a reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif, ABC-CLIO.
Dudley, M. (2012). An environmental history of the UK Defence Estate, 1945 to the present. London, New York.
Ehlen, J., & Harmon, R. S. (2001). Encyclopedia of knowledge management. Hershey, PA, Idea Group Reference.
European Conference On Knowledge Management, & Neto, M. D. C. (2010). Proceedings of the 4th European conference on information management and evaluation: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal 9-10 September 2010. Reading, Academic Publishing.
Muth, J. (2011). Command culture: officer education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the consequences for World War II. Denton, Tex, University of North Texas Press.
Ploch, L. (2009). Africa Command: U.S. strategic interests and the role of the U.S. military in Africa. Washington, D.C., Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.
Rodt. P.A. (2014).The European Union and Military Conflict Management: Defining, Evaluating and Achieving Success. Routledge.Press
Shamir, E. (2011). Transforming Command the Pursuit of Mission Command in the U.S., British, and Israeli Armies. Palo Alto, Stanford University Press.
Soeters, J., Fenema, P. V., & Beeres, R. (2010). Managing military organizations: theory and practice. London, Routledge.
Walker, R. W., & Horn, B. (2008). The military leadership handbook. Kingston, Ont, Canadian Defence Academy Press.
Wittmann, J. (2012). Auftragstaktik – just a command technique or the core pillar of mastering the military operational art? CHAPMAN, B. (2009). Military doctrine: a reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif, ABC-CLIO.