Essay: Leadership development in the army

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  • Published on: November 16, 2017
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The Army develops it own leaders by following the fundamentals of development which are: setting conditions for leader development, providing feedback on a leaders actions, enhancing learning through example, and creating opportunities for succession of leaders. As an AIT PSG I have developed others by integrating leader development across day-to-day activities. As such I have not focused on one specific example but rather how I incorporate the fundamentals every day. I set conditions for leader development by keeping a deliberate plan for development, give candid feedback, enhance learning through effective mentoring, and create opportunities for Soldiers to promote and excel upon entering the operational Army through integration of promotion requirements and training.
Keywords: fundamentals, development, Army, AIT, PSG

General Odierno explained the fundamentals of development best when he said, “the best leaders create environments that allow individuals to grow and trust subordinates” (2014). The Army develops its own leaders which is essential to the Army’s success today and in the future. The Army’s leaders of tomorrow are in Advanced Individual Training (AIT) today and as and AIT Platoon Sergeant (PSG) I am the first line of defense to maintain an Army of competent and committed leaders with the skills and attributes necessary to progressively develop subordinate leaders so the Army can continue adapt to a changing world.

Developmental processes, such as that described in the Field Manual (FM) 6-22 Leader Development (Chapter 3), describes how a leader within an organization develops future leaders. “Army leadership requires the establishment of interpersonal relationships based on trust and setting the example for everyone- subordinates, peers, and superiors” (p. 3-1). Consistent with the Army model, the Army fundamentals of development consist of four components: setting conditions for leader development, providing feedback on a leaders actions, enhancing learning, and creating opportunities for succession of leaders.

As an Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant (AIT PSG) I am expected to train individuals not just as a junior ranking Soldier but also as the army’s future leader. Due to the nature of my job I have not focused on one example of a time I used the fundamentals of development but rather the methods in which I consistently use the army’s model.

When I first arrived at Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) as a Platoon Sergeant in training, I watched my peers used minimal time to train Soldiers and I internally believed that I was going to be different. I knew that I would have specific training times set aside to produce the best, most disciplined Soldiers the operational army had ever received. I was going to spend seventy percent of my time on instructional training, twenty percent focusing on Master Resiliency Training (MRT), and ten percent on administrative processes because of course, all my attention would lead to naturally disciplined soldiers. After assuming fulltime Platoon Sergeant responsibilities however, I quickly realized that my Battles were not choosing to use minimal time; they were working within the time constraints imposed upon them. I also realized no matter how much I’d like to focus on other areas, administrative actions require most of my time. I have since learned to be deliberate about having a plan for Soldier leader development.

To set the conditions for optimal leader development I gain knowledge of my subordinates as individuals and believe in the idea that “any opportunity is a training opportunity”. By learning my Soldiers as individuals I am able to use time productively. I not only strengthen their weaknesses but I am able to develop and sharpen their strengths within time allotted. I have done this on multiple occasions by encouraging personal development and innovation by publically acknowledging and rewarding good choices. Today in fact at 0430 (on a Saturday) as usual, purely for Soldier motivation I too attended reconditioning Physical Readiness Training (RPRT) which is held for Soldiers that require additional help passing the Army Physical Fitness Test. I noticed a

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