The military can only be effective in its operation if it has a good leadership, like any other organization in the country. This is because leadership is the main driving force behind the efforts towards the achievement of the stated goals of the military. Countries have therefore strive towards improving their military investing in such activities as training and molding of good leaders within the military. However, there are certain leadership traits which, though are necessary for a leader, may not be obtained from the general leadership training. For instance, resilience, which is an important quality for a leader, can just be a personal initiative of a leader to practice. This write up will thus define and elaborate the military leadership, as well as discuss the various qualities of a military leader.
Leadership is a very crucial in managerial position, which is central to every organization including military. In the context of the military, leadership is the process by which a particular soldier is entitled to influence the other soldiers to achieve the objectives and the ultimate goal of any military institution. This is normally realized by establishing the direction of the soldiers in the way that makes the military activities and operations more cohesive and coherent. The soldiers in this context are those, who are engaged in the military service. As a strategy to ensure its effectiveness, the importance of the military leadership starting from the basic training has been emphasized. According to Schirmer & Arroyo Center (2008), basic training is where emphasis is put on each recruit to learn to work in a team. It also continues whenever an officer is given different responsibilities to perform within the military.
According to Hesselbein & Shinseki (2004), leadership is normally divided into various stages in any military set up. These divisions are meant to make work easier and to increase the efficiency of the army. They range from the general commander, who commands actions to the junior leaders that are supposed to ensure that the commander’s orders are acted upon by the other soldiers to the very individual officers. It is thus important to note that the most fundamental organizational technique is the chain of command. Any leaders must therefore strive to know his or her specific roles and power jurisdictions. However, apart from the specified and the directed duties, a military leader may also perform some implied duties. The performance of such duties may be deemed fit for the accomplishment of certain short-term goals.
Even though these leaders might be in different ranks, there is the emphasis on the observance of all the necessary and key leadership skills and qualities. This calls for every military leader to strive and gain the understanding of the leadership traits, since it is a very crucial and delicate unit in the government. That is, it deals with the security issues of the country and thus protects the country from any possible external attacks. Army FM 6-22 (2012) indicates that the initial qualities required of any military leader can also be argued to be the general characteristics of a good soldier. These include the physical fitness characterized by sound health, physical strength, and good emotional control, especially when subjected to stress.
Any military leader is also expected to have high level of confidence. This implies the ability to always project certainty in succeeding. In addition, one who aspires to lead this team should also be very resilient. This means that one should be able to practice high levels of endurance and quick recovery from the setbacks and some other stress, which accompanies the military work. Finally, Hesselbein & Shinseki (2004) add that any military leader should be loyal to the army, his/her superior leaders, and to the nation by carrying out his or her duties selflessly.
Apart from these general requirements, any military leader should also emulate some exemplary skills. The key feature among such skills is the ability to organize his/her team. This is whereby a leader is expected to have the capability to analyze and provide for the sound courses of action within his or her docket in the military. For instance, the leader in charge of training recruit soldiers in the military is expected to have the ability to decide on the duration and the kinds of training to be given to the new recruits. Another attribute is the ability to solve problems. This means that any military leader is expected to have the necessary skills to quickly analyze and act upon the occurring problems. Such problems may include pacifying different conflicting parties within the organization. A leader in the military should also be someone who is very agile. He or she should be the one, who is quick, light and is always alert to act in cases of emergencies (Horn, 2008).
Additionally, a military leader should be able to be a good listener. This quality is very important, since it helps the leader to always listen to his or her subordinates thus obtaining very important information and suggestions. A good leader should also demonstrate a lot of respect both to his subordinates and fellow leaders. This is crucial, since the subordinates and the other leaders will also reciprocate the behavior. This contributes to the mutual respect within the organization; thus boosting the self-esteem of the individual officers. Having stayed in the military for sometimes, I have also come to realize that being a good military leader also calls for the intellectual capacity to deal with the organizational issues that involves direct and critical decision making. Equally, a good leader should be one who works hard towards the achievement of the stated goals of the organization and not just being stagnant (Hesselbein & Shinseki, 2004).
Trustworthiness is another very important attribute of leadership, since a military leader should be someone who can be easily trusted by his or her fellows. On the other hand, any military leader should also learn to trust other officers. This will help him/her to ensure a peaceful coexistence among his/her team members, hence a smooth running of the everyday activities. Additionally, it is important for a military leader to be someone with the ability to think and come up with alternative courses of actions in cases where the initially intended courses of actions fail to deliver the necessary results. A leader should also learn how to motivate his subordinates to uphold professionalism in carrying out their duties even in cases of difficulties. This can be achieved by establishing close contacts with each and every group of the subordinates, being a role model in doing the military work, and by ensuring that the subordinates’ welfare is well taken care of. For instance, the leader in charge of remunerations should control the fact that the subordinate soldiers are well remunerated and accorded the necessary recognition whenever they perform well in their work. The subordinate soldiers can also be motivated by ensuring that their basis of promotion is prompt and fair (FM 6-22, 2012).
Because of the crucial nature of the security issues, every military leader must embrace confidentiality. This is achieved by ensuring that they remain silent when it comes to the secret matters of the military and the issues, which are central to government security. Additionally, a military leader should be one, who is not corrupt in any manner. That is, he /she should practice high levels of integrity when it comes to matters such as promotion and commissioning of soldiers to different places of work. In addition, Hesselbein & Shinseki (2004) note that he or she should also be a creative person. According to them, this attribute assists a leader in coming up with the unique ways of achieving the stated goals and, hence, the general success of the military.
On his side, Horn (2008) notes that a military leader should also be someone, who can charge of the command when it calls for. For instance, when there is the need for an immediate action by the soldiers, then he or she should be able to command the soldiers to follow the order and wait to provide further explanations later. A leader should also be able to instill discipline to the subordinates, especially those who go against the rules and regulations. This may be by giving punishments or firing without fear or favor, even though it is better achieved through being a role model. However, he or she should also be someone who is ready to accept his or her own mistakes and avoid them in the future.
Moreover, for a leader to create much impact in the military, he or she should be ready to mentor others, who are potential leaders. This will help ensure leadership sustainability within the military. Finally, a leader in the military should be a good ambassador to some other organizations within the country. This is in order to keep their good reputation in the eyes of the general public (Horn, 2008).
In conclusion, military leadership is just like any other leadership in the formal organizations and, therefore, the military leaders should be adequately equipped with the good leadership skills.