Friday, January 24, 2014

Methods of Leadership Selection in Military Colleges

Developing leadership in military colleges has been a major focus of such institutions. Leadership extends beyond military service and into government, business, civics, and many other arenas. Understanding how leadership is developed in military colleges can help other universities learn how to select and develop those for advanced leadership development. The researchers Shepherd & Horner (2010) assessed the metrics used in undergraduate military schools to determine their effectiveness in evaluation.

Leadership in the business world and military service has been around for a long time. Fredrick Taylor introduced leadership in the scientific management field (1916). It wasn’t long after that the Hawthorne studies of the 1920’s and 1930’s discussed the linkages between environment and employee output (Roethlisberger, 1941). Leadership is then a conception of self within a wider environment.

Military colleges seek to develop leadership for later military usage by offering increasing levels of responsibility, chain-of-command socialization, and theoretical work on leadership. Each helps to put into practice experience, learning, and structure to develop a stronger personal conception of leadership among graduates. It is hoped they will put this to strong use in securing the country’s interests.

Leadership is seen as a continuum of development that includes a number of stages within broader aspects of understanding. Leadership is first seen in a dependent state (stages 1–3) where people follow others but recognize leadership appointments. It then moves onto continued development (stages 3–4) where they recognize the interdependence of leadership with others. In the final development, concepts of leadership responsibility (stages 5-6) emerge where leaders develop their followers while developing themselves.

The study found that not all measures are beneficial for finding leaders within a particular environment. They believe that multiple measurements such as peer ranking, cumulative grade point average, and leadership knowledge appear to be valid approaches. This provides an assessment of intelligence, awareness, and peer perception. Heavy reliance on a single measure may not only ignore the other aspects of leadership but may also cut out minority leaders that do not have the same cultural backgrounds.

Shepherd, R. & Horner, D. (2010). Indicators of leadership development in undergraduate military education.  Journal of Leadership Studies, 4 (2).

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