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Leader Attributes and Competencies in the Army

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To be a great leader, one should have leader attributes that are combined with leader competencies. This creates knowledgeable and impeccable skills to lead your soldiers on the path to success and ensure the accomplishment of the mission. “A leader is anyone who by virtuebyrole or assigned responsibility inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals” (ADP 6-22). Attributes are characteristics and qualities that are individually given to someone or something. While these are skills that can be learned from experience or mentorship, some leaders already have most of these attributes instilled in them. Those who do not have them can learn as they cultivate in their leadership positions and become more effective as they grow. Leader attributes help to define what type of leader a soldier should be. These traits shape a leader and display actions around their superiors, peers, and subordinates. There are three leader attributes in the Leader Requirement Model (LRM), these are Character, Presence, and Intellect (ADP 6-22).

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Character displays who that leader truly is on the inside. It shows what is instilled in them, the confidence they have in themselves, and the moral fortitude to maintain ethics. Integrity is a character trait that all Army leaders should possess. Leaders can also be defined by their character. It is evident in how they treat their superiors and subordinates, how these people react toward them, and their ability to do the right thing at the right time without being prompted to do so. Character in a leader means that they have empathy. They can identify with the soldiers and help them with their issues, whatever they may be. The core of a leader with the character trait are the Army values, empathy, warrior and service ethos, and discipline. The Army values are already instilled in a soldier’s brain from basic training but a leader takes it to another level, they live by these values and believe in every one of them. The warrior and service ethos are the professional attitudes, beliefs, commitment, and pride in the Army culture and heritage. These are supported in the Soldier’s Creed, the Non-Commissioned Officer’s Creed, and the Army Civilian Corps Creed. Leaders are people that have self-discipline, can be in control of their behavior, and pay attention to detail. They obey and enforce good practices that guide the rules and regulations of units and or an organization. One who lacks character is likely to fail as a leader. On the other hand, with much practice, resiliency, consistency, and mentorship, they can succeed.

Presence is the way a leader exhibits themselves to their superiors and subordinates. It is an important attribute to have as a leader. They have to present an appearance of confidence in themselves with military and professional bearing, fitness, and resilience. Soldiers want to have a leader who they can emulate, and superiors want to see leaders who are up to the tasks that are put out. They want a leader who can look and act the part and be presentable. This is where military, professional bearing, and fitness become important. Leaders that stand in front of a formation are expected to look and act the part. They should look professional because they represent both their superiors, peers, and subordinates. They set the example. Also, resiliency in a leader means that they have staying power. They can stand the test of time. The Army comes with everyday stressors. Leaders should be resilient in their effort to accomplish the mission when hard situations arise. They can stand strong, no matter what the situation, and guide their subordinates.

Intellect is the ability a leader has for decision making, sound judgment, knowledge use, and problem-solving skills. According to ADP 6-22, the components that a leader with intellect possesses are mental agility, sound judgment, innovation, interpersonal tact, and expertise. These abilities contribute to making an intellectual leader who is fast on their feet with their decision-making process, uses good judgment, and practices problem-solving skills. Intellectual leaders are very aware of their weaknesses and strengths, so they make a conscious effort to apply these where they fit. They are critical thinkers who take the time to understand orders and information to make sound judgments. This allows them to delegate and execute the task at hand. They create a positive working environment to encourage their subordinates. By so doing, they come together as part of a team. Like a well-oiled machine, they work toward a common objective. Leaders with intellect learn from superiors, peers, and even their subordinates. With innovation, they utilize new ideas to help with their problem-solving skills and develop creative ideas to keep their subordinates involved and interested in the process.

In conclusion, the effectiveness of a leader is dependent on the combination of these three attributes and how they apply them to everything they do as a team. Leaders are required to be critical thinkers, proactive supervisors, disciplined initiators, and examples to their subordinates. While not every leader has the same leadership style, they have these attributes in common. Leaders and soldiers are required to have resiliency because the job comes with a lot of stresses and soldiers and their leaders must bounce back from stresses that come from either the job or their personal lives. Lifelong learning, the development, and practice of these skills cultivate proficiency in their professional lives. Combined with leader competencies, they can grow into effective well rounded leaders. A leader who has these attributes is a good representation of an organization. These are the type of leaders that the Army is looking for in their ranks.

 

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