Critical Essay on Foundation of Army Leadership

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Leadership in Army is one of the most important qualities required. According to Storey (2016), there are a number of different leadership styles which can be utilized to maximize the performance of a team. They highlight that for leadership to be profitable, motivational and influential qualities should be characteristics of a successful leader. The Army (ND) highlights in its Army Leadership Doctrine the importance of a quality leader and defines leadership as a combination of character, knowledge, and action that inspires others to succeed. They state that Leadership is the ability to lead people over influence as appose to authority and having the ability to encourage individuals to achieve a common goal. The Army requires this ability at all levels to enable the completion of its missions to the highest possible standard. The Army can implement a number of ways to create leaders within its ranks. This assignment will focus on how the 6 Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) regiment implemented Kotters' 8-step change model. In particular, forming a coalition, communicating the vision, and empowering action will be considered.

Appelbaum et al (2012) state that Kotter's eight steps of change model were first introduced in 1995 in an article titled ‘Leading Change’, written by Dr. Kotter. They highlight that the eight steps are: creating a sense of urgency; forming a guiding coalition; developing an inspired vision; conveying the new vision; empowering others to enact the vision; generating short-term wins, sustaining acceleration of the vision; and the final step, instituting permanent change. This model appeared to be successful due to its ability to identify key change barriers encountered by small, mid-sized, and large companies such as Ford, General Motors, and Airways when attempting to implement a business change (Airiodion, ND). They state that steps are beneficial to large companies that employ numerous employees as it provides clear guidance for the change process. However, Expert Program Management (ND) argues that it is a top-down model which could result in potential opportunities being overlooked if all employees are not involved in the vision. Furthermore, they state that it can lead to resistance and resentment amongst employees who are not actively involved in the vision of change. They also state that the model does not elaborate on how a company could sustain the change.

The Army focuses its leadership doctrine on John Adair's three-circle model of Action Centred Leadership, published in 1973. Action Centred Leadership is largely considered the leading expert on organizational leadership. (CMI, 2008). The academy has been training and educating Army leaders for over 200 years. It is seen in such high regard as the center of leadership training that other nations send their future leaders to the academy to train and learn leadership skills (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, ND). The Action Centred Leadership three-circle model has withstood the test of time in an ever-changing society where managers and businesses must adapt to stay ahead. This simple and practical model is figuratively based on three overlapping circles. These represent achieving the task, building and maintaining the team, and developing the individual as supported by CMI (2008). The model's concept asserts that the three needs of task, team, and individual are fundamental aspects of leadership, as people expect their leaders to help them achieve the common task, build the synergy of teamwork, and respond to individuals' needs. The task needs work groups or organizations to come into effect because one person alone cannot accomplish it. The team needs constant promotion and retention of group cohesiveness to ensure that it functions efficiently. The team functions on the 'united we stand, divided we fall' principle. The individual's needs are the physical factors, for example, salary. Psychological factors could include recognition, sense of purpose, and achievement as supported by CMI (2008).

During the study of Action Centred Leadership, it was found the Royal Air Force (RAF) has not implemented Action Centred Leadership in the Services Leadership Doctrine 'AP7001 2020 Inspiring Leadership. This could suggest that the model is not fit for every business with a large workforce. This could be due to its authoritarian approach, applicable in a formal environment but less relevant to the modern workplace where leadership advocates values-based principles to empower the diversity of thought, challenge, and innovative thinking (Royal Air Force, 2020). Despite this, the model has been an integral part of the Army's Leadership doctrine since the 1970s suggesting that the model is still relevant and has the potential to succeed if performed correctly. In relation to Army, an example of success could be campaigns from the Falklands War or current-day operations. These opportunities give junior leaders appropriate opportunities to excel in their careers.

Poor leadership within Army can affect the standard of how well tasks are completed and can affect all ranks within 6 RLC. Discipline cases within 6 RLCs are rising due to the lack of mentorship and guidance from Junior Non-Commissioned Officers (JNCO). Tasks and responsibilities are failing to be completed to the standard the Chain of Command expects. This could be a result of senior ranks failing to realize when JNCOs are poorly conducting themselves or due to the lack of empowerment allowing JNCOs to start and complete tasks independently. To combat this lack of leadership, 6 RLC could implement Kotters' 8-Step Model to instigate change.

In relation to 6 RLC, the Commanding Officer (CO) and Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) concluded the lack of leadership amongst the unit stemmed from a lack of mentorship and empowerment with the unit's JNCOs. The unit decided to regenerate the Corporals (Cpls) Club. This action to regenerate the Cpl's Club can be seen as Step 2 in the Kotters' 8-Step Model, forming a guiding coalition. The Cpls Club will provide a sanction where None Commission Officers (NCOs) can collaborate to discuss matters between themselves, creating an inclusive environment. The Cpls Club will include events such as dinners and social events allowing members to participate in team bonding. More than half of the regiments' JNCOs have opted to be part of this Cpl's Club. This strongly suggests there was a requirement within the JNCO cohort to have their own establishment.

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The Cpls Club will replicate any other mess within Army. It has an established committee with its own members voting in a thrusting Corporal who is keen on its development and success as its President of the Mess Committee. The committee organizes and runs the club's meetings, and sets agendas and plans for future events. The Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant (RQMS) oversees the Club on behalf of the RSM and the CO to ensure it is run correctly and to conduct development lessons and study days. The Club has organized a number of events with leadership training and study as its focus. For example, a Tri Mess Dinner Night, where the Officers, Warrant Officers (WO) and Sergeants (Sgt) Mess, and the Cpl's Club came together for a formal Dinner night within the Sgts Mess. Leadership talks were given during the event by representatives from each Mess concentrating on the Army Leadership Code (ALC) and our Values and Standards. Study days have been planned and executed, honing in on the ALC with the aim of developing our younger commanders and soldiers into strategic soldiers enabling an adaptable workforce with more capabilities.

At all levels in 6 RLC, empowerment has been encouraged. Since the introduction of the ALC, the unit has had a lot of success in recent operations. The large number of junior promotions within the Regiment as compared to others demonstrates this. When our junior troops were given acting rank, they were prepared because empowerment had been introduced and they were in the thinking stages, allowing the Regiment to be more productive and meet its outputs.

In relation to the Cpl's Club, it appears the 3 steps from Kotter's Model: step 2 forming a coalition, step 4 communicating the vision, and step 5 empowering action have been implemented and are on a successful trajectory. In relation to step 2 of the Kotter Model, the Cpl's Club has brought highly motivated and thrusting JNCOs together. Its events are accomplished by focusing on leadership at the very heart of each event. By bringing this cohort of people together, the regiment will be able to provide powerful change as these are the individuals who are the bedrock of the regiment. Not only do they live with our soldiers, but they also train and are ultimately role models for our future leaders.

With regards to step 4, conveying the vision allows and provides freedom to the JNCOs to run their own club with their own selected committee. It also enables them to organize events how they see fit, with the only input being to focus on developing leadership. JNCOs should be aware of how critical their role is to the regiment's success. This could potentially enable them to feel valued, giving them a sense of importance. Demonstrating the value of each JNCO's role and talents aids engagement and buy-in at the unit's most fundamental level, its soldiers. At the team level, there should be an understanding of how one's success affects others. A vision is a statement of what the regiment hopes to achieve in the future. A vision must be conveyed in order to achieve its goal of inspiring, clarifying, and focusing on work highlighted by the Centre of Creative Leadership (ND).

Concerning step 5 which empowers others to enact the vision. The JNCOs will be responsible for implementing the change therefore it is critical that they have the necessary skills, resources, and confidence to succeed. When the vision is communicated across the unit, leaders should become aware of individuals who are resistant to the change. By fostering an environment of openness, leaders can discover the root of resistance and remove any barriers to personal development and progress within the initiative. Those who buy into the vision will be empowered and inspired, thereby alleviating the resistance. which will relieve this resistance while creating empowered and inspired individuals who buy into the vision. JNCO empowerment can promote retention by instilling higher trust in leadership, encouraging motivation, and encouraging creativity. When compared to leaders who do not empower their JNCOs, leaders who do empower their JNCOs are more likely to be trusted by their subordinates. This isn't to argue that empowering JNCOs entails assigning duties to subordinates that the Chain of Command doesn't want to do. Leaders who empower their JNCOs operate as coaches, encouraging and supporting their staff to achieve their best work (Wong, 2020).

Lack of leadership is difficult to measure and does not provide quantitative data. Despite this, there are different types of metrics within the unit that can be utilized to evaluate progress which is influenced by leadership. For example, the number of notices to terminate (NTTs) prior to the Club's regeneration and study could be recorded. If NTTs fall in a quarterly time period, it could potentially indicate that the implementation was successful. Alternatively, another metric is for Regimental Headquarters to follow current discipline cases before the Club is formed, and then measure in three months. A decrease in the number of cases suggests that JNCOs are guiding and mentoring Soldiers who are taking a more in-depth approach to their work. Another approach is the use of a Climate Assessment which is a support tool to advise and inform the Commander. This system identifies key issues, risks, and actions for future tasks. It could be utilized as a method of providing commanders with a candid assessment and feedback on issues enabling them to make informed decisions in the future.

In conclusion, it is evident that Kotter's model enables organizations to implement effective change in order to achieve productive outputs. Quality leadership is essential in promoting change in collaboration with effective change models.

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Critical Essay on Foundation of Army Leadership. (2023, July 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-essay-on-foundation-of-army-leadership/
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Critical Essay on Foundation of Army Leadership [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Jul 20 [cited 2024 Apr 18]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-essay-on-foundation-of-army-leadership/
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