WHAT LEADERSHIP IS TO ME
Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish a goal or to improve a unit or organization. Leaders will acknowledge that there is a difference between the combat versus garrison mindsets, however most admit that effective leadership is the best leadership. If leaders demonstrate professionalism, train their units well, and always lead by example, then they will have set the conditions for effective leadership.
Leadership’s Impact on Me
When I think of effective leadership and the characteristics associated with it, I’m convinced that it begins by consistently being professional and always doing the right thing. Leaders that understand personal and professional development of their subordinates are obligated to maintain good order and discipline. Consistency matters, it is essential that SNCOs are approachable, empathetic, firm, and fair. As effective leaders, success will be measured by the behavior that trickles down the ranks. Each troop should be reflective of these examples, and leadership need to be happy with what they see in the mirror.
Leadership Style to Others
Leadership by example is one of the basic corner stones of effective leadership, whether in combat or garrison. SNCOs are obligated to always provide a positive example for others to emulate. In the workplace they are expected to be the subject matter expert (SME), possess years of experience, institutional knowledge, and in most cases, are the continuity for their commands and the military occupational specialties’ (MOS) that they serve in – they have the network. Whether in combat or garrison, if a leader is doing the right thing and providing good examples, their troops will follow them and execute their missions in the exact manner that is expected and respected. Leading by example sometimes requires different styles in approach, and this adjustment can be most effectively accomplished by knowing the troops and understanding how to connect with them. When training is planned and conducted, it must be challenging, realistic, and reflect the challenges likely encountered in any combat situation.
The United States Armed Forces is an institution grounded in values, structure, discipline, and orders. As exhibited by the current military force, the most effective leaders demonstrate consistency, avoid knee-jerk reactions, provide positive examples for all to emulate, and continue to ensure everyone trains to the same standards and expectations that will be experienced in combat.
This essay was submitted by student Heroides Aguirre as part of the William “Joe” Gainey Scholarship. Aguirre is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Homeland Security program and currently serves in the U.S. Armed Forces.