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When thinking of leader development it is commonly associated with how leaders develop those who are under their direct supervision. Leaders have core competencies and attributes that define who they are and more importantly who they are supposed to be. These core influences are what help shape leaders as well as those around them. During the course of the essay, we will cover topics such as self-development, the three leader competencies, attributes and the leader development programs. All of which are a few examples of what it takes to be a leader and how to develop future leaders.
There are six core foundations of an Army leader, which enhances their development. These six foundations split into two categories known as leader attributes and competencies. Leader attributes known, as character, presence, and intellect are inner fundamentals for an Army leader. Character affects how a leader is able to lead their subordinates. A leader’s character consists of their moral and ethical decisions and actions that help develop themselves.
Presence stems from character. How a leader acts, speaks, carries, and conveys themselves exemplifies who they are.
Intellect is fundamental to a leader’s success. It is a combination of both character and presence. When a leader conveys positive character and a true presence of who they are it enables their intellect to make sound judgment, take action and think critically. A leader must first develop themselves, so that in time, their Soldiers can mirror their positive actions. The second core foundation of an Army leader known as the leader competencies helps develops other more so than oneself.
The competencies known as leads, develops, and achieves are aspects of an Army leader that help develop future leaders. Each of these three competencies has sub definitions. When we talk about the first of the Leader competencies leads, we think of leading from the front and leading by example.
When a leader is able to lead from the front and by example it allows us to influence others and builds trust. Leaders must be able to put others before themselves because our actions speak louder than our words. When speaking of develops not only does it mean to develop others but most importantly ourselves. By preparing ourselves, and being stewards of profession, this aids in creating and establishing a positive environment for ourselves, subordinates and future Soldiers and leaders. This enables us to develop others in ways that can have a long lasting effect for the organization now and into the future. Each of these aspects flow perfectly into our last competency, which is, achieves. A leader’s primary mission is to achieve success to accomplish the mission all of which can done by the competencies listed above.
This leads us to essential principles of Army leaders and their development. These tenets of Army leader development are what make the Army successful at developing its current and future leaders. The commitment, engagement, and support from the Army on developing its leaders are a high priority. This in turn correlates with Army leaders at all levels having the same level of commitment for their subordinates under them. Since the Army requires leaders to be committed to developing others and themselves, this creates a backdrop such as supportive cultures of learning and relationships. All leaders want to serve in an organization that values improvement, teamwork and high camaraderie, which keeps them effectively engaged in further professional development of all Soldiers in the Army.
While the Army has, guidelines set in place for leadership development there are still challenges that we all can face. Leaders must be able to develop others to be creative, adaptive, and professional to execute and accomplish any mission. Development can occur at home, offices, bays, and even while deployed. Limits to day-to-day activity and interaction can create a challenge to the development of others. This is where leaders and future leaders must be able to improve their self-development to sustain the Army’s expectations. Maximizing institutional, organizational and self-development throughout leadership training are opportunities that successful leaders must recognize. By relying on training, education and component experience leads to the success of the developments of leaders.
Anyone can be a leader but to be a successful leader needs certain requirements. “An Army leader, by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility, inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals.” (FM 6-22, para 1-13, 2015). The Army requires and expects all leaders to possess the attributes and competencies as stated earlier in this essay. Demonstrating competence and learnable skills as a leader develops cohesive, effective and a higher level of growth across all levels of leadership. Accomplishing these requirements follow the Army Leadership Development Model. By understanding and practicing, the model given by the Army is imperative for success for development.
The success of developing leaders comes from many corners across the Army. Development programs can include broadening assignments, professional military courses, structured self-development, and incorporating goals into training objectives. Programs are set in place to give leaders opportunities to develop themselves and all future leaders. This enables and encourages leaders to seek methods of furthering their education and skills to continue being an effective part in the Army’s mission to developing leaders.
In conclusion, the Army has set examples, standards, requirements, and programs in place to develop leaders and aid in the development of its leaders. These models as set in ADP 6-22 and FM 6-22 are reasons why the Army has been effective throughout its existence on developing successful leaders. When a leader possesses competencies, attributes, tenets of leader development and the ability to overcome challenges enables them to continue self-development and the development of future leaders.
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