Friday, February 21, 2014

Developing the Next Wave of Leaders

Leadership in the military is an important concept that helps to push the envelope to achieve higher objectives. According to the author Douglas Crissman, leadership includes enhancing decision-making skills, confidence and problem solving to reach new heights. Without developing these skills leaders may have limited ability to handle difficult problems. 

The Center for Army Leadership Annual Survey of Army Leadership (CASAL) assesses the attitudes and perceptions of leadership development. The lowest rated competence for the fifth year in the row is developing others. A total of 59% of Army leaders were regarded as effective at developing their subordinates. A quarter of all units indicated a low or very low priority on leadership development activities. 

Improving consistency and ability of unit level leadership includes:

-Increased awareness about leadership development as a process versus a single event. Training should be seen as the totality of its program versus individual stand alone elements. As each element is mastered it creates a sequence of learning that leads to higher level learning. 

-Enhance current leadership at the battalion and brigade level to ensure that they are focused on developing future leaders. Each higher level position should be developing the people below to create a funnel of leadership development. 

-Expand current senior administration accountability to include leadership development programs. Refocusing on leadership development in each of the unit level positions creates better grooming grounds. 

The goal is to create instructional operated leadership that develops a lifelong synthesis of education, training and experience.  It is helpful to connect all the leadership development activities together to create a flowing and ongoing process of development that allows people to reach their highest state of development.  Experiences can be linked and reinforced to create developmental opportunities that eventually impact behavior. Training occurs primarily on the job and should ensure leadership learning occurs simultaneously with skill development. Leaders should learn more about how to think rather than indoctrination into what to think. Future leaders will need these abilities to overcome new challenges that are yet unseen.

Crissman, D. (2013). Improving the leader development experience in army units. Military Review, 93 (3)

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