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Analyzing Key Concepts of Leadeship in the MilitaryResearch Paper

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Leadership in the Military

For any organization, it has been observed that certain individual characteristics, including a person's demographics, skills, capabilities, and behavioral characteristics, govern how effective he/she will be as a leader (Dereu, Nahrgang, Wellman, & Humphrey, 2011). In the military and governance context, in particular, the "great man" model, which evolved to become what is now known as the "trait theory" of leadership, has been applied, historically. This paper will explore this theory, describing the effects of leaders' influence and power on subordinates in a military organization, and how well the theory works. In addition, transformational and transactional leadership styles have also been employed in military organizations. These leaders' effectiveness, roles, characteristics that make an efficient leader, and their role in supporting the organizational mission, vision, and strategy, will be discussed as well.

Apply one of the leadership theories (trait or personality) from the course text to the organization. Explain how the theory works and include an example.

Research has proven that leadership effectiveness is predicted by individual characteristics, like demographic characteristics, personality traits, abilities and skills (Dereu, Nahrgang, Wellman, & Humphrey, 2011). Perhaps the foremost documented leadership theory is trait theory. Traits were commonly perceived as a leader's personal qualities, like appearance, intellect, and values. The common belief was that leaders need to have superior inherent abilities, which aid them in efficiently controlling and influencing their followers. An early example can be seen in ancient Egypt, where three attributes of divinity were ascribed to the Pharaoh: authority, justice, and discrimination. Concepts parallel to the above general notion of a "superior personality" have led to the formation of the 19th- century "great man" leadership model (Gehring, 2007).

The theory started evolving as an official form of leadership during the early years of the twentieth century, when social scientists began a closer examination of "great men's traits." These advanced and more comprehensive analyses gave rise to the "trait leadership theory." Basically, this theory further expands on the "great man" model's concepts, through an emphasis on leaders' personal qualities. In this era, leadership was predominantly modeled after historically significant leaders like Frederick II, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini, Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Ford, and Winston Churchill (Gehring, 2007). Trait theory's specific limitations are noted as follows:

Firstly, there will certainly be a degree of subjective judgment while establishing who is considered to be a successful or good leader.

Further, potential leadership trait lists are often very lengthy, and one cannot always find agreement with regard to which trait is most crucial (Gehring, 2007).

Explain the effect of power and influence that leaders have on followers in the organization. Are the followers receptive? Would you recommend another strategy? Explain your reasoning. If not, why not?

One significant topic of investigation in team efficiency is that of how team performance can be influenced by the extent of hierarchy in the team. Edmondson (2003) discovered that power differences among team members are negatively related to learning within the team. Power denotes the relative ability of a person to regulate the outcomes, conduct, or experience of other persons. Power concentration in a given leader serves to boost that leader's capability of fostering improved team performance levels. In specific, increased power is linked to greater likelihood of being able to utilize that power for stimulating desired follower behaviors (Tost, Gino, & Larric, 2013).

Power in military organizations is intrinsic to individual positions in the rank system; individuals acquire greater authority as they progress upwards on the command chain. This is achieved via the periodic promotion process. A board established for this purpose recommends advancement of personnel on the basis of their leadership capacity and potential. A higher rank implies greater power and thereby greater influence across a wider audience. Any military organization depends on five common kinds of power, which may be utilized by civilian institutions as well, namely, expert, referent, reward, coercive, and legitimate authority (Encyclopedia of Business, 2014). In my personal opinion, mostly, greater emphasis is given to expert and coercive power in military organizations, grounded in the strict requirement of accomplishing the job, and that of subordinates following superiors' orders (soldiers who fail to stick to orders are punished using coercive power). Moreover, military organizations emphasize the aspect of knowing precisely what one's role is, since it relates to the tactical and technical components of what is expected (expert power).

Influence implies a military leader having an effect on people, which include military personnel, multinational partners, and civilians, for doing whatever is required. This includes more than simply communicating orders -- both personal examples and spoken words are equally important. Every act of a leader, every word uttered, whether on duty or off, by a leader will set either a bad or a good example. By means of personal examples and words, leaders convey direction, purpose, and drive (Department of Defense, 2006). However, this isn't such an easy task as it appears to be. Followers in military organizations are very sharp and quick, and no other way needs to be recommended, as the military culture should be like this: high discipline for accomplishing tasks and following orders.

Evaluate the role and effectiveness of transformational and transactional leadership in the organization. Support your claims with examples.

Bass (1985) defines a transformational leader as one who is an ideal example of justice and integrity, lays down high standards of expectations, establishes clear goals, offers recognition and assistance, encourages followers, rouses their emotions, motivates them to accomplish what appears to be impossible, and makes them see beyond their own interests (Mind Tools, 2016).

The basis for leadership in military organizations is the concept of service, self- sacrifice, and duty. In fact, military personnel swear to abide by these principles. They perceive their duty to their subordinates as an ethical obligation. The military definition of leadership is giving greater emphasis to the needs of followers than to their own needs; junior military leaders are taught this high- priority value. Military leadership expands to cover care for soldiers', airmen's, marines', or sailors' families, particularly when these individuals are deployed. Under conditions of crisis when leadership impacts leaders' as well as followers' survival and physical well-being (i.e., in extremis), transactional leadership style's motivating elements (such as rewards, pay, or threatened punishment) don't suffice. Why would any individual feel inspired to do something for some reward, which he may never be able to enjoy? Why would anybody fear punishment by superiors if obeying their orders could possibly result in them being wounded, or worse, dead? In such situations, soldiers need to be guided in a way that rouses, rather than demands, confidence and trust. When a compelling leader instills confidence and trust in his subordinates, they become willing, instead of only compliant, participants in an activity. In leadership theory jargon, this sort of influence is called transformational leadership; it is predominantly observed among leaders in military organizations (Kolditz, 2009).

The focus of transactional leadership is more on maintaining normal operational flow. This form of leadership may be defined as "ensuring the ship remains afloat." Leaders who adopt this style employ disciplinary power, together with a range of motivations for inspiring their subordinates to give their best. "Transactional" implies that these leaders basically inspire those under their wing by bestowing rewards based on employee performance. Transactional leaders often don't bother themselves with looking ahead and strategically guiding their organization to market leader status. Rather, they are only interested in ensuring that all current company activities flow in a smooth manner (Ingram, n.d.).

Cintron states that a transactional approach to leadership works by developing explicit structures by which what is expected of employees and what reward they will receive for complying with orders is clear. The military's mission is deterring war and securing the nation. Transactional leadership supports this mission by way of leaders who forge dynamic bonds with their followers. Consequently, leaders understand the needs of their juniors and provide them rewards in return for their support and productivity (Cintron, n.d.). This form of leadership represents the lowermost level. It is effective only in case of clear- cut, simple, technical organizational issues. Frequently, transactional form of leadership has been linked to the military. Successful military organizations, however, have realized long ago that it doesn't work. Of course, all formal organizations have to adopt it at some or other point in their operations. Under specific circumstances, transactional leadership is essential and works successfully (Strategos Inc., n.d.). But for becoming a unified team, motivated beyond bonus and pay, transformational leadership is vital, in the military organization.

Assess the traits and characteristics of an effective team leader within the organization.

Numerous facets in the military context allow team leaders to design a vision and become effective (Kleinberger, 2015):

1. Teamwork: All military activities have to be done as a team. Even if one member of the team fails to effectively perform their role, the implications can be drastic for the entire team.

1. Dedication: When serving, one is pushed towards attaining the unreachable; one ought… [END OF PREVIEW]

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