Leadership: learned behavior that some never master

  • Published
  • By Army Capt. Henry Bennett
  • Charlie battery 2-1 Air Defense Artillery
They stand on the parade field. Soldiers, most of them proud to be part of something great, bigger than themselves. Chin in, chest out and shoulders back. A change of command, one leader goes and another one comes; the never ending cycle of military unit leadership. The Soldiers wonder about the new style of leadership and are apprehensive of the change.

The outgoing leader is proud, relieved and saddened all at the same time … is this new guy good enough for my Soldiers he thinks? Was he? The incoming leader is poised and focused, ready to train and lead Soldiers. They are all focused from a different perspective about leadership – good leadership.

Leadership is the ability to influence others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction and motivation. The text book definition; the one most leaders are taught. Leadership is a learned behavior that few are able to master.

As military leaders (officers and NCOs), we are taught how to be leaders. There are schools we attend at certain stages of our careers to enhance our leadership skills and abilities. But, if we all attend the same leadership schools, why are some leaders not as good as others?

It’s the discipline, commitment, drive and determination that separate the great and not so great; the realization that learning the art of leadership never ends.

The sincere burning desires to be great; not for yourself, but for your service, your country and those you lead.

Good leadership is reflective of successful mission accomplishment, care and welfare of Soldiers and families and efficient use of resources. Great units are the result of good leaders who are dedicated to learning their profession, committed to excellence and focused on a common goal.

Good leaders must be able to convey their intent and effectively train their subordinates to properly execute to standard. Soldiers crave good leadership and are proud to serve in units that have it.

In our ever changing profession, leaders must be able to adapt and adjust. It was once thought that there would be an objective force, an end state, but with the ever changing enemy and many mission requirements, the military must maintain its modularity.

The ability to tailor to any enemy or mission is essential and its good leaders must continue to perfect their art in order to defend our great nation.