Leadership Styles in the Military
To lead is not to just get from point A to point B; it’s getting to point A and B while also developing people along the way, say researchers from the Journal of Applied Psychology. Military leadership is not the authoritarian style depicted in Hollywood movies. Sure, basic training is hard. But in those eight to 14 weeks, men and women develop discipline and responsibility -- qualities required in the military’s transactional, transformational and servant leadership styles. These are styles that can, and have been, applied in many small businesses.
Transactional leaders seek mutually satisfying outcomes by providing clear directions and holding subordinates accountable for their actions. This leadership style removes the guesswork, which is highly effective in the chain of command work structure implemented by all military agencies.According to Changing Minds.org, "The transactional leadership style works through creating clear structures whereby it is clear what is required of their subordinates, and the rewards that they get for following orders." The mission of the military is to deter war and protect the security of the United States. The transactional leadership style upholds this mission through leaders who create dynamic relationships with subordinates. As a result, leaders recognize subordinate needs and reward them in exchange for their performance and support.
Transformational leaders are charismatic. They motivate and inspire with intellect, which bodes well for servicemen and women who find themselves in hostile situations where quick thinking and decisive actions are key to their survival. According to The Transformational Leader, "The essence of transformational leadership is the capacity to adapt means to ends to share and reshape institutions and structures to achieve broad human purposes and moral inspirations." This leadership style is effective because leaders use inspiration and education to motivate subordinates. They empower subordinates to make decisions, creating value and need within soldiers. Most important, they instill a sense of pride and create a vision to gain subordinates' respect and trust
Military officers and enlisted servicemen and women step into a leadership role on day one of their military career. These men and women freely give their life to defend the U.S. Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. Though serving their country is the initial reason for enlisting, many if not all soldiers say it is because of the man or woman standing beside them that they fight. "This is the essence of servant leadership – their extreme dedication to the service of others before themselves," according to "Interpersonal Skills For Leadership," by Susan Fritz, et.al.The servant leadership style in the military is effective because leaders embody the characteristics of servant leaders: empathy and acceptance, a sense of community and a calling to serve others. Having worked their way from the bottom to the top, military leaders do not talk the talk; they walk the walk.
Effective military leaders possess characteristics of each leadership style. They must carry out the orders bestowed upon them by their Commander-in-Chief -- the President of the United States of America.Thus, the military requires a mixture of transactional leaders to motivate and reward by upholding law directives; transformational leaders to build trust among troops in wartime scenarios with charisma and intelligence and servant leaders who embody the essence of the military -- service before self.