Effective management is a major factor in the success of any organization. The Army is not an exception in this matter. Soldiers have to perfectly do their job because national security depends on their performance. Moreover, the lives of soldiers, their units, and their families depend on how they work. Soldiers need effective management to do their job correctly, like in any organizational structure. The fundamentals of management in a commercial organization are planning, leading, staffing, controlling, and organizing. In an Army, management is related to the effective leadership of supervising parties. The foundation of Army leadership is morality, managerial skills, and stress tolerance.
The morality of the leaders is one of the most critical aspects. Soldiers in the Army are trained to follow leaders’ orders undoubtedly. US Army has a diverse military structure, mainly institutional and operational. Each unit reports to the higher department, but the major one is the Headquarters of the Army. The system requires transparency of the reports to assist every decision accurately. Consequently, global and local deployment missions’ result depends on the leaders’ decisions.
Making correct decisions requires morality and related qualities. Righteousness, along with other education, is given on the training base to every Soldier. A Soldier’s job often relates to saving or taking someone’s life. Such a job requires a ready moral code for Soldiers with no time to make decisions. Apart from ordinary Soldiers, leaders in the Army have to make more significant decisions. Those cases might include missions abroad when morality and politics play an essential role. Morality for leaders also includes loyalty to the country and responsibility for their subordinates. Properly trained Soldiers would not abandon the orders and their government. This further would guarantee the safety of the whole nation.
Nonetheless, there might be cases when Soldiers’ inner and trained moral codes mismatch. For example, a leader might have to decide between saving one professional Soldier or a unit. Such a case would require the leader to act following utilitarian rules. Hence, the leader would have to save the majority of people bringing maximized benefits. However, one Soldier might be as essential for the leader as the whole unit. Consequently, such a case might cause doubts about the obtained training for a leader.
Managerial skills for leaders include a set of soft and hard skills management. Soft skills are commonly known as communication and confidence. Sometimes work of a leader also includes inspiring Soldiers. To inspire, the leader has to be confident and act as a coach. Communication skill is necessary when giving Soldiers feedback on their performance.
The development of the Soldier’s career depends on the feedback given by the leader. As written in the study by Hawkins et al. (2018), “The products of feedback and performance evaluation sessions weigh heavily in promotion and award recommendations, and thus are critical for Soldiers’ development and success throughout their careers” (p. 6). Moreover, hard managerial skills include controlling tasks and proper planning. The success of any Army operation depends on the leader’s strategy planning. In addition, leaders have to handle every job in the process of completing the mission plan. Consequently, leaders must have proper soft and hard managerial skills to work with Soldiers.
Stress tolerance is a foundational quality needed for Army leaders. According to Hawkins et al. (2018), “By the very nature of their service, Soldiers are a population that may experience stress at higher rates than the general population and faces unique stressors not often encountered in Civilian life” (p. 3). Soldiers who stand responsible for national security have to be the healthiest men. Therefore, they also have to be stress-tolerant to avoid having any stress-related diseases. Meanwhile, Army leaders are responsible not only for their lives but also for the lives of their units. This means that leaders experience at least twice more stress than ordinary Soldiers. Therefore, they have to have even more stress resistance. In addition to physical health, stress primarily affects the mental health of individuals. This fact has been discussed in the paper by Hawkins et al. (2018). They argued that stress hormones cause changes in the brain’s neurochemistry, leading to depression (Hawkins et al., 2018). The mental stability of the leaders directly influences their ability to make decisions. Thus, the Army leadership must be as stress-tolerant as possible.
To conclude, the foundation of Army leadership is morality, managerial skills, and stress tolerance. Morality includes making morally right decisions, responsibility for unit Soldiers, and loyalty. Managerial skills include soft skills such as communication and confidence. Those skills are essential to give feedback to Soldiers and inspire them. Additionally, hard skills like controlling and planning are necessary for an operation’s success. Lastly, leaders have to have stress tolerance to stay physically and mentally healthy.
Hawkins et al., (2018). Measuring Job Performance in the Army: Insights from Evidence on Civilian Stress and Health, Occupational Stress and Well-Being in Military Contexts, 16, 49-68.