Military Officers Transitioning To Civilian Executive Positions

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Military Officers Transitioning To Civilian Executive Positions

Military Officers Transitioning To Civilian Executive Positions

Military Leadership

There is no such thing as military leadership. As a rule, it is a poor strategy for authors to deny the existence of the very subject matter they intend to investigate. The truth is that the military leadership does not exist along the lines of military leader stereotypes popularized for entertainment in television or film—most people's primary source of information about military leadership. In fictional accounts, military leadership tends to be heavily stereotyped as autocratic, dogmatic, and dependent on legitimate authority bestowed by rank in hierarchically rigid organizations. Sometimes the stereotype portrays military leaders as colorful, bold, aggressive, inflexible, or either intolerant of bureaucracy or a key player in it, depending on the plotline or the proclivities of the screenwriter. It is the popular caricature of a military leader that may cause one to assume that the military leadership exists as a style, or that military leaders possess clear patterns of personality characteristics in common. Neither assumption is true. Military leadership is best understood as a comparison to civilian leadership or to leadership in general, using a range of theoretical approaches, from transformational leadership through transactional leadership to even mere laissez-faire supervision. (Ender & Campbell & Michaelis, 2007)

Military leaders do, however, have more in common with each other than they do with leaders of most other organizations, especially those in the private or social sectors. Our leadership qualities are formed in a progressive and sequential series of carefully planned training, educational, and experiential events. Military leaders tend to hold high levels of responsibility and authority at low levels of the organization. Military leadership is based on values surrounding duty and a service obligation. We view our obligations as a moral responsibility, and we take an oath to that effect. Self-sacrifice is pledged upon occupation of our leadership role. Our leadership extends to the families of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines. We are all expected to lead well in crisis conditions, and part of our expert knowledge includes leadership in dangerous contexts. Adaptability and tenacity in the face of danger is expected. Serving in contexts where leadership influences the physical well-being or survival of both a leader and the lead—in extremis contexts—transactional sources of motivation (e.g., pay, rewards, or threat of punishment) are insufficient and thus transformational leadership must emerge. Under conditions of service, self-sacrifice, and common threat, interdependence among military members at risk creates loyalty and cohesion in the ranks. Failed leadership in those crucibles has the opposite, and sometimes dramatic, effect. (Davis & Geraci, 2009)Military Leader Development

Military leadership, across all services, is developed through systems that blend self-development, some institutional or educational experiences, and a sequential pattern of job experiences to increasingly challenge and develop leaders. All services, for example, have educational sequences for their non-commissioned officers—the sergeants. It is this progressive sequence of experiences and events, integrated by training developers, human resource professionals, and the military member themselves, that produces the net effect—a developing military leader. (Hesselbein, 2004)

The U.S. Military Academy's Cadet Leader Development System

The Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS) is the progressive structure for leader training used at West Point to synchronize and focus the 47-month program designed to transform young men and women into army officers. CLDS are a framework that exemplifies how the military coordinates and integrates leader development across a wide spectrum of activities and experiences. Other service academies, specifically the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, use leader development systems derived directly from the CLDS.

The CLDS framework was constructed using the stages of development recognized by Robert Kegan (1982), which presupposes development of different individuals at different rates, thus requiring the integration and coordination of a number of developmental variables: readiness on the part of the participant, novel and difficult ...