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Strategy Research Project 


UNDERSTANDING 

LEADERSHIP 

BY 

LIEUTENANT COLONEL PHILIP W. STANLEY 
United States Army 


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USAWC CLASS OF 2011 


This SRP is submitted in partial fulfillment of the 
requirements of the Master of Strategic Studies Degree 
The views expressed in this student academic research 
paper are those of the author and do not reflect the 
official policy or position of the Department of the 
Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government 


U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA 17013-5050 





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Understanding Leadership 


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Lieutenant Colonel Philip W. Stanley 


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Colonel Deborah L. Hanagan 
Department of National Security and Strategy 


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14. ABSTRACT 

The purpose of this paper is to examine accepted U.S. leadership theories and connect these age old theories 
to what the Army believes is needed in the 21 st century Army leader. The paper will go beyond the question of 
whether a leader is born or made by suggesting that from America’s research on the topic, there are key areas 
that can be affected to develop good leaders regardless of their innate leadership gifts. The end result of this 
paper is to strip away some of the mystique of leadership and find the practices at the root of how one 
influences others to achieve an objective. The paper will show that, after examination of several of the major 
theories, one can clearly see the Army is moving along with contemporary trends, while maintaining a legacy of 
commitment to past generational theories. Finally, the paper argues that role competency is the most practical 
approach for officer development, and that the role of most officers is that of a manager. To have great 
competency in one’s primary role will subsequently make it possible to function as an effective leader. 


15. SUBJECT TERMS 

Trait Theory, Behavior Theory, Situation Theory, Transformational Leadership, Leader, Manager 


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USAWC STRATEGY RESEARCH PROJECT 


UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP 


by 


Lieutenant Colonel Philip W. Stanley 
United States Army 


Colonel Deborah L. Hanagan 
Project Adviser 


This SRP is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Master of Strategic 
Studies Degree. The U.S. Army War College is accredited by the Commission on 
Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 
Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (215) 662-5606. The Commission on Higher 
Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of 
Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. 

The views expressed in this student academic research paper are those of the author 
and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, 
Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. 

U.S. Army War College 

CARLISLE BARRACKS, PENNSYLVANIA 17013 




ABSTRACT 


AUTHOR: 

TITLE: 

FORMAT: 

DATE: 


Lieutenant Colonel Philip W. Stanley 
Understanding Leadership 
Strategy Research Project 

16 Feb 2011 WORD COUNT: 5,973 PAGES: 28 


KEY TERMS: Trait Theory, Behavior Theory, Situation Theory, Transformational 

Leadership, Leader, Manager 

CLASSIFICATION: Unclassified 


The purpose of this paper is to examine accepted U.S. leadership theories and 
connect these age old theories to what the Army believes is needed in the 21 st century 
Army leader. The paper will go beyond the question of whether a leader is born or made 
by suggesting that from America’s research on the topic, there are key areas that can 
be affected to develop good leaders regardless of their innate leadership gifts. The end 
result of this paper is to strip away some of the mystique of leadership and find the 
practices at the root of how one influences others to achieve an objective. The paper 
will show that, after examination of several of the major theories, one can clearly see 
the Army is moving along with contemporary trends, while maintaining a legacy of 
commitment to past generational theories. Finally, the paper argues that role 
competency is the most practical approach for officer development, and that the role of 
most officers is that of a manager. To have great competency in one’s primary role will 
subsequently make it possible to function as an effective leader. 




UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP 


Studies show that leadership matters a great deal and makes a difference in the 
success or failure of an organization. As one scholar put it, “In the beginning is the 
leadership act. A leaderless movement is naturally out of the question.” 1 Sun Tzu wrote, 
“The leader of armies is the arbiter of the peoples’ fate, and the man on whom it 
depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.” 2 This extreme description of 
the role of leader clearly shows the importance of the duty. Perhaps because so much 
is riding on good leadership, there have been volumes written about it, so when 
approaching the topic of leadership, one will quickly become overwhelmed with the vast 
amount of information and competing theories. There are thousands of studies, 
journals, and books on the subject; and this is true even when narrowing the topic to 
only Western philosophies. The Handbook of Leadership by Bernard M. Bass cites over 
three thousand studies. 3 To narrow the topic further one may look to his specific 
profession and determine the best model to follow. For the Army, that reference is Field 
Manual 6-22, Army Leadership, and the new emerging publication from the Army’s 
Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) entitled “The Army Leader Development 
Strategy” (ALDS). If one narrows the subject to just these two documents the topic is 
more manageable, yet still comprehensive. However, how did the Army arrive at the 
selected attributes that are listed in these documents? Can they be traced back to 
leadership theories found in society at large, or does the military live within its own sub¬ 
culture and derive theories independent of the wider culture? 

The purpose of this paper is to examine accepted U.S. leadership theories and 
connect these age old theories to what the Army believes is needed in the 21 st century 



Army leader. The paper will go beyond the question of whether a leader is born or made 
by suggesting that from America’s research on the topic, there are key areas that can 
be affected to develop good leaders regardless of their innate leadership gifts. The end 
result of this paper is to strip away some of the mystique of leadership and find the 
practices at the root of how one influences others to achieve an objective. The paper 
will show that, after examination of several of the major theories, one can clearly see 
the Army is moving along with contemporary trends, while maintaining a legacy of 
commitment to past generational theories. Finally, the paper argues that role 
competency is the most practical approach for officer development, and that the role of 
most officers is that of a manager. To have great competency in one’s primary role will 
subsequently make it possible to function as an effective leader. 

In pursuit of this objective, this paper will examine four areas that can impact on 
the effectiveness of 21 st century leaders. First, it is important to look at the operating 
environment in order to frame the role of the Army leader. This is necessary because 
there are many kinds of valuable leaders, such as teachers, scientists, and 
businessmen, but they usually do not have the same set of issues as military leaders, 
and therefore do not require the same set of skills. Next, the paper will examine 
definitions of leadership, it will review the classic leadership theories and it will track 
their influence on current Army leadership theory. The paper will then review some of 
the impediments to achieving the goal of good leadership. Finally, this paper will 
suggest practical development areas and review whether or not the Army is currently 
addressing these aspects of leadership development. 


2 



Characterizing the 21 st Century Environment 

“At the intersection of globalization, environmental calamity, resource scarcity, 
demographic strain, and international political-military competition lies a complex 
interconnected future that will be filled with persistent conflict and instability.” 4 The Army 
officer is expected to coordinate and manage information in a Joint, Interagency, 
Intergovernmental, Multinational (JIIM) environment, which requires skills that include 
working within bureaucratic structures and the understanding of organizational policies 
and procedures. The environment is described as fast paced, requiring mental agility to 
transition from one operation or task to another quickly. In the “Leader Development 
Strategy for a 21st Century Army,” soldiers and officers are reminded that “we must 
learn faster, understand better, and adapt more rapidly” in this environment. 5 To 
function effectively and quickly requires advanced skills in planning, organizing, staffing, 
directing, and controlling; and using human, financial, and material resources. 

In the social environment, future leaders will not act in a homogeneous setting, 
nor will they always lead men and women of their own generation, value system, or 
national origin. Leaders must contend with new technologies and changing attitudes 
about combat and its effects on people, resources, and the environment. Leaders will 
have to be aware of cultural norms and know what society will allow of a leader. 

Military organizations have typically believed in strong, demanding, results driven 
leaders, but as demographics change and international partnerships emerge, leadership 
approaches may require adjustments. Traditionally, Western culture has written about 
military leaders by directly or tacitly acknowledging that armies have been led in 
patriarchal environments, where there was a level of inequality between leaders and 


3 




followers, and views of gender roles that favor men. 6 The future leader will find a 
different demographic and social environment, which is made up of “cross-national” 
transfers and societies that continue to advance gender and sexual preference equality. 
The new environment calls for partnering with cultures that lead in different ways, some 
are more democratic and some more authoritarian. 7 As U.S. Army officers take on an 
expanded role in international partnerships, the social environment has to be 
understood in terms of the complex factors required to lead organizations from various 
cultures, which includes an understanding of other histories, religions, and languages. 8 
Leadership Theories 

With the operational environment in mind, one must consider the foundations of 
the American philosophy of leadership, which directly influence military leadership 
practices, and then look at how it may be evolving to meet the demands of the future. In 
fact, there are few theories the Army has not adopted over time, and which are 
embodied in Army publications, the most comprehensive being FM 6-22. This field 
manual encapsulates nearly all generations of leadership theory, as this paper will 
illustrate. 

American leadership can be understood by looking at U.S. Army and business 
definitions of leadership. There is no doubt that the United States of America puts a 
premium on leaders, and with good reason. Since time has been recorded, leadership 
in military organizations has emphasized that better-led forces are repeatedly victorious 
over poorly-led forces. 9 Therefore, in America’s Army there is little doubt that leadership 
must be a core competency of an officer. The newest version of Army Field Manual 
(FM) 6-22 defines leadership this way: “...anyone who by virtue of assumed role or 


4 



assigned responsibility inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational 
goals. Army leaders motivate people both inside and outside the chain of command to 
pursue actions, focus thinking, and shape decisions for the greater good of the 
organization.” 10 There is no single definition of leadership outside the military. 

Educators, preachers, and civil servants all have their ideas and definitions of 
leadership. The business industry seems to use more comparisons to the military 
environment to characterize its profession, but even it characterizes strategic leadership 
with a slightly different emphasis—an emphasis the Army would do well to integrate into 
its leadership equation. Business emphasizes management skills, which the Army 
seems to avoid. One of the better business descriptions highlights the process of getting 
activities completed efficiently “with and through other people.” 11 It goes on to identify 
the process of setting and achieving goals through “five basic management functions: 
planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling; by utilizing human, financial, 
and material resources.” 12 On the face of it, one can argue the Army could also use this 
definition to describe what commanders and staff officers do on a day to day basis. 

To get a feel for where these definitions evolved, this paper will examine 
leadership theories from recent times. In about the last eighty years, there have been 
four major areas of studies concerning leadership. These theories are commonly 
referred to as “classical theories” 13 and include trait theories, behavioral theories, 
contingency theories, and transformational theories. However, it is worth noting that 
none of these successive generations of theories are exclusive of the other. As John 
van Maurik explains: 

Although it is true that the progression of thinking tends to follow a 

sequential path, it is quite possible for elements of one generation to crop 


5 



up much later in the writings of someone who would not normally think to 
himself or herself as being of that school. Consequently, it is fair to say 
that each generation has added something to the overall debate on 
leadership and that the debate continues. 14 

With Maurik’s point in mind, it is even more valuable to examine these theories because 
it is likely that whatever new ideas emerge, they will be influenced by these classical 
models. 

Until shortly after World War II, nearly all Western theory focused on “traits,” 
such as “trustworthiness” to explain success. 15 The theory came on the heels of theories 
such as “great man” theory which suggested that the capacity for leadership is inherent 
- that great leaders are born, not made. Trait theory is closely related to great man 
theory, but instead of relying on genetic causes, it contends that genetics do not fully 
explain why some people have successes. Trait theory espouses certain identifiable 
character qualities that determine success. 16 This theory has a couple of challenges, 
namely that studies have shown that there is not a great deal of difference between 
traits of leaders and followers, and that people who possess the traits may even be less 
successful. 17 Secondly, simply having these traits does not mean people will be 
universally successful in all situations. In other words, the idea a person with the traits 
would be successful in any situation, be it the battlefield, classroom, or boardroom, does 
not necessarily hold true. 18 More recently there have been studies that look at 
situational leadership as it applies to traits. This approach appears to have more 
acceptability because it lists certain traits for certain situations rather than assuming a 
single list of characteristics will always usher in success. 19 The significance of trait 
theory to military officers is that FM 6-22 relies heavily on these types of lists. A review 
of commonly accepted traits from this theory includes: 


6 



• Physical vitality and stamina. 

• Intelligence and action-oriented judgment. 

• Eagerness to accept responsibility. 

• Task competence. 

• Understanding of followers and their needs. 

• Skill in dealing with people. 

• Need for achievement. 

• Capacity to motivate people. 

• Courage and resolution. 

• Trustworthiness. 

• Decisiveness. 

• Self-confidence. 

• Assertiveness. 

• Adaptability/flexibility. 20 

It quickly becomes obvious by scanning the contents page of FM 6-22 that the 
Army maintains that certain traits are required for success. The traits listed above can 
be found, sometimes using different terms, throughout Army publications, especially FM 
6-22. The FM also provides examples of great leaders who succeeded by using the 
traits outlined in the FM. This approach harkens back to some of the “great man” 
theories, so it is clear that while trait theory is one of the oldest theories of modern 
research, it is still very much a part of the current Army culture. 

The next generation of theory focused on “behaviors” of leaders and followers. It 
took root as early as 1929, but did not become popular for another twenty years. 21 This 


7 




theory takes the opposite approach of “great man” and to some degree trait theory. It 
proposes that leadership is learned behavior and is not a born quality. It portends that 
leadership depends more on how officers and managers behave toward followers and 
that it is possible to teach people how they should act. It is more difficult to find direct 
correlation of this theory to common Army documents, but the influence and practice of 
it was unmistakably the most widely applied form of leadership practiced in the Army 
prior to and during the Cold War. It is arguably still the most practiced form of leadership 
today. Management theories (also known as "transactional theories") fall into this 
category and focus on the role of supervision, organization, and group performance. 
This theory bases leadership on a system of rewards and punishments. Managerial 
theories also use these concepts in business: when employees are successful, they are 
rewarded; when they fail, they are punished in some way. The main thrust of this 
research has been on the observable behaviors of the leaders and how it changed the 
behavior of subordinates. 22 Evidence of how this theory is translated in the Army is how 
it diligently plies soldiers with medals for good conduct and uses the Uniform Code of 
Military Justice to punish poor conduct. This form of leadership emphasizes the impact 
of making the receipt of reward or the avoidance of punishment contingent on the 
subordinate behaving as required. 

It is more common today to use this theory to understand how followers will react 
to leaders’ behaviors. The following list identifies some of the behavior areas into which 
leaders fall: 

• Concern for task (which is sometimes identified as conflicting with the next 
category). 


8 



• Concern for people. 

• Directive leadership (which is usually identified as the opposite of the next 
category). 

• Participative leadership. 23 

The next broad category from which military application can find its roots is 
“situational” theory. Researchers viewed situations along a spectrum; some proposed 
that leadership is usually a product of circumstances. Military literature recounts stories 
about heroes that in some cases become mythical figures (recall “great man” theory). 
FM 6-22 is replete with stories of people who rose to lead based on the situation in 
which they found themselves. Other researchers focused on the styles leaders can 
employ based on their situation. 24 From this initial theory, researchers developed the 
“contingency” approach which identifies three categories of how a leader responds in a 
given environment: 

• The structure of the task, which proposes that leaders will enjoy the 
support of followers if they clearly spell out goals, methods, and standards 
of performance. 

• The position of power, which relates to the authority given to the leader 
that increases his or her influence. 

• The relationship between the leader and the followers, which argues that 
when a leader is “liked” and “respected,” because of the leader’s personal 
attention to the follower, they are more likely to be effective. 

The Army also employs this approach to leadership. In chapter one of FM 6-22, 
the manual states that leaders are responsible for providing direction for completion of 


9 



tasks by “providing clear direction involves communicating how to accomplish a 
mission: prioritizing tasks, assigning responsibility for completion, and ensuring 
subordinates understand the standard.” Later in the manual, in regard to position of 
power, it refers to the “...freedom to modify plans and orders...to adapt to changing 
circumstances. In relations between leader and follower, the manual’s Appendix B 
describes adaptive approaches to counseling. 25 These are only a few examples of how 
the Army applies the situational approach to leadership. The Army Training and 
Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) recent “Leader Development Strategy for a 21 st 
Century Army” repeatedly emphasizes that leaders must adapt their styles, methods 
and techniques to the situation at hand. 26 

Finally, the last theory this paper reviews is transformational theories. In some 
ways, this theory is similar to behavioral theory in that it looks at the reactions of 
followers to leaders. However, the focus differs in that reward and punishment is not the 
motivational goal. Instead, the focal point is on positive motivation; more specifically, on 
the connections formed between leaders and followers. Transformational leaders 
motivate and inspire people by helping group members see the importance and higher 
good of a task. These leaders are focused on the performance of group members, but 
also want each person to fulfill his or her potential. Leaders with this style often have 
high ethical and moral standards. 27 Members of the Army repeatedly demonstrate this 
approach. From the oath taken upon initial entry into service, to the stories of conquests 
that save the nation, soldiers and officers invoke the higher calling of the mission to 
which they are called. 


10 



In FM 6-22, this practice is referred to as “Influence Techniques.” The manual 

states that “influence is the essential element of leadership” and it refers to the “ways in 

which one person’s messages, behaviors, and attitudes effects the intentions, beliefs, 

behaviors and attitudes of another...” 28 An example of a transformational leader was 

given by General of the Army George C. Marshall during a speech to officer candidates 

in 1941, where he identified the elements of leadership that will illicit the right behavioral 

response of followers, but in a positive manner. 

When you are commanding, leading [Soldiers] under conditions where 
physical exhaustion and privations must be ignored; where the lives of 
[Soldiers] may be sacrificed, then, the efficiency of your leadership will 
depend only to a minor degree on your tactical or technical ability. It will 
primarily be determined by your character, your reputation, not so much 
for courage—which will be accepted as a matter of course—but by the 
previous reputation you have established for fairness, for that high-minded 
patriotic purpose, that quality of unswerving determination to carry through 
any military task assigned you. 29 

It is unfortunately in this theory that some have further linked transformational 
concepts with traits or characteristics that have no relation to the premises of 
transformational theory and that are not backed with solid evidence. Such ideas as 
genetic predisposition, or physical attributes such as height and good looks, or 
charming personality have become viewed as causes of effective leadership. Research 
shows these qualities in themselves have mixed effect on leadership effectiveness at 
best 30 and may actually have no effect or even negative effect in some cases. 31 When 
compared to other measures of leadership, such as role competency and empathy for 
others, one finds that appearance and charisma have less reliability when measuring for 
positive causes of leadership. 32 


11 



Impediments to the Goal of Good Leadership 

There are numerous impediments to identifying the root of good leadership, 
because, as mentioned elsewhere in this paper, myths about great men, genetic 
inheritance, God-given charisma, and so forth, have endured and filled Army stories for 
years. This paper has illustrated that the various classical theories positively inform the 
Army profession, and provide a rich narrative of the character of those who have served 
in the past. In FM 6-22, and elsewhere in military publications, one may find numerous 
examples of the leadership theories described in this paper. Soldiers will also find 
information specific to their job, or role, and will be informed he or she must be 
competent in that role. However, the classical theories do not discuss the importance, 
and perhaps even the primacy, a given role plays in being an effective leader. This 
paper argues that if one can fully understand, and then master, the role he has been 
assigned, then becoming an effective leader is more likely. For the average Army officer 
the role assigned is that of a “manager.” If the role of manager can be better 
understood, the function of leadership may become less ambiguous, and self 
development will be more obvious and practical. 

A small example, which makes the point that leadership principles are often 
difficult to grasp, is found in a blog entry from a 101 st Airborne Division soldier, which 
proposed that leadership resembles the descriptions of war provided by Clausewitz. 

The [blog’s] author quotes material used at the Army War College and, while not directly 
stated, the inference one could take from the comments is that the theory and study of 
leadership can be compared to the fog of war. 33 The author cleverly suggested 
replacing the word “war” with “leadership” in one of Clausewitz’s famous observations. 


12 




By following this suggestion one starts to get a sense of the complexity that exists when 

trying to understand how to become a good leader: 

They aim at fixed values; but in [leadership] everything is uncertain, and 
calculations have to be made with variable quantities. They direct the 
inquiry exclusively toward physical quantities, whereas all military action is 
intertwined with psychological forces and effects. They consider only 
unilateral action, whereas [leadership] consists of a continuous interaction 
of opposites. 34 

In attempting to make the meaning of leadership less unclear, it is necessary to 
better understand the meaning of roles and functions, and to understand that before a 
person can “function” as a leader, he or she must master the skills required of the “role” 
he is assigned. This paper has suggested that the role of a typical Army officer is that of 
a “manager.” By combining the earlier definitions of leadership from FM 6-22 with one of 
the accepted business definitions, it becomes obvious that military and business 
managers share many of the same tasks and leader requirements. Therefore, one can 
say the Army employs managers who are leaders based on their roles, functions, and 
authorities. This paper will refer to this position as the “manager-leader.” 

FM 6-22 has many examples that describe the management of processes and 
systems, which require extensive management skills, but never directly acknowledges 
that Army leaders are managers of organizations and process, 35 other than to 
encourage leaders to seif-educate by taking management courses. Perhaps the main 
impediment is the view often held of what a manager is. In the Army, and many other 
organizations, people frequently talk about the differences between a “manager” and a 
“leader” as if they were separate people. Leaders are often described as visionary, 
social, creative, and able to communicate in a wide circle of people and situations. 
However, the description of a manager is of one who is comfortable with the mundane, 


13 



or the dull and tedious routine of daily work. Unfortunately, this separation between 
“manager” and “leader” has caused many to debase the role of the manager. Managers 
are viewed as oppressive and authoritative “bosses” who coerce and micro-manage 
their subordinates. However, there is no evidence to support this opinion. 36 Because the 
Army barely, if ever, mentions the role of manager, it implicitly advances this notion. 

The significance of splicing out the role of manager, and understanding the 
specifics of the role in large complex organizations and environments, is to 
acknowledge that there is no “leader” task that does not require the competency of a 
manager to manipulate the processes to achieve the desired goal. The danger in 
overlooking the leader’s role as a manager is that one may overly depend on 
personality traits to carry the burden of leadership rather than the proficient employment 
of skills. 37 Another reason to study management in the context of leadership is the trend 
toward believing that somehow a person can be a good leader without being a good 
manager first. This tendency to separate the “manager” from the “leader” is a reason the 
concept of a manager is debased in many circles, and also creates a “powerful 
confusion and vagueness about the meaning both of leadership and of managing.” 38 
Another reason to concentrate efforts on being an effective manager-leader is that 
officers, more often than not, function in staff roles which are consumed with 
bureaucratic processes. The most important reason for making the connection between 
leader and manager is that it “demystifies” what it means to be and how to become a 
good and effective leader. 39 Many officers are left with the idea that a good leader 
possesses unique, even God-given, 40 traits that somehow separates those who lead 


14 



and those who do not. This paper thus argues that good leadership is derived from 
competency and not exceptional behavior or inherent traits. 

Recommendations for the Development of Army Leaders 

To fully address the role of an Army officer in the 21 st century, it is appropriate to 
look both within and outside military organizations for examples. The Army culture is 
understandably all about “leadership,” but as Elliott Jaques and Stephen Clement 
argue, one should first understand that there are no “free-standing leadership roles.” 41 
Leadership happens within the confines of established role relationships that are 
constructed for different reasons, such as social positions in the case of community 
leaders, or accountability in the case of an organizational leader. A person serves in a 
position which requires some leadership to do the job. For example, a teacher, 
preacher, commander, or manager firstly teaches, preaches, commands or manages, 
but they are also responsible for influencing others to move toward a particular goal, 
and it is this second part that makes a person a leader. The point to be made is that 
leadership is not the role; it is a characteristic of a role. Therefore, one must first 
understand and be skillful in his role before he is able to effectively lead. Role 
competency is the most practical approach for officer leadership development. 

Because leadership does not stand in isolation from other skills, the expectation 
is that one must be competent in the primary role first. Elliott Jaques, in his book 
Executive Leadership, argues that it is this other competency that allows a person to 
become a leader in the first place. Essentially, he says that people are happy to follow a 
person who is “extraordinarily competent” [in his or her role] and these “feelings” further 
produces feelings that they identify with a leader. 


15 



It is an almost mystical feeling, of everyone’s being at one with everyone 
else. In other words, under circumstances where we have a person 
exercising great competence in a role with leadership accountability, the 
effect is to bind people together; the binding together touches the deep 
recesses of our values for social cohesion, and we are suffused by warm 
feeling that we tend to associate, incorrectly, with personal qualities in our 
leaders rather than with effective competence.” 42 

Soldiers reinforce this perspective since they invariably emphasize that what they 
most desire in superiors is confidence in the superiors’ abilities. General of the Army 
Omar Bradley said, “The American soldier is a proud one and he demands professional 
competence in his leaders. In battle, he wants to know that the job is going to be done 
right, with no unnecessary casualties.” 43 Stephen Zaccaro places emphasis on 
competency in terms of “cognitive intelligence” and “cognitive reasoning” and the 
possession of strong conceptual skills. This trait may take on many forms which include 
the ability to deal with complex thinking, nimbleness in conceptualizing the environment, 
and the ability to build consensus with diverse groups. 44 

A fundamental aspect of leadership is the perception created from competence, 
which reminds us that leadership occurs in “human minds;” it occurs in the mind of the 
leader and the mind of the followers. Martin Chemers, describes leadership as the 
“process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others 
in the accomplishment of a common task.” 45 Therefore, one can conclude that one of 
the key aspects of leadership is not the possession of some phenomenal, or 
unexplainable trait, rather it is the power that emerges from a person acting with great 
competence within his given role. Another way of understanding the concept is to look 
at other kinds of leaders, such as Albert Einstein. Even though he possessed few of the 
traits found in FM 6-22 (and therefore would probably not make a great military leader) 


16 



he was widely viewed as a leader because he was extraordinarily competent in 
physics. 46 

The final area of this paper concerns three aspects of the manager-leader role 
which need to be developed. The aspects are stamina, social intelligence, and mental 
agility. These areas of management are often criticized and attributed to transactional 
models, which is not viewed positively as a description of leadership. 47 The Army 
recognizes the importance of all three of these aspects. Field Manual 6-22 lists a dozen 
leader attributes, which includes such things as fitness, resiliency, mental agility, 
innovation, and interpersonal tact. 48 This paper highlights these three aspects because 
they are often not associated with the idea of “manager,” but more importantly, these 
attributes are common to business and military. 

Stamina is defined as the enduring physical or mental energy and strength that 
allows somebody to do something for a long time. 49 Montgomery Meigs put it this way: 
“Influencing the battle with one’s presence remains a crucial aspect of generalship to 
this day.” 50 Meigs also used a Civil War battle to give an example of leaders with 
“energy,” when he described the second day of the battle of Gettysburg. In short, he 
stated that the Union generals were simply more “aggressive and active” 51 than their 
counterparts. These generals had either fought a hard fight the day before, or in some 
cases had moved several miles to get to the fight. FM 6-22 implies the importance of 
stamina when it identifies the importance of “a leader with presence” and someone who 
possesses bearing, physical fitness, who is resilient, and composed and confident in the 
face of adversity. Army leadership identified this necessity in the 2006 Army Posture 
Statement (APS). The APS described the need to develop a new breed of officer, the 


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"pentathlete" who is a leader, combat soldier, statesman and sociologist. 52 To be all 
these things, at one time, requires the greatest degree of mental and physical stamina, 
but they are often viewed as contradictions to current perceptions of manager-leaders. 

Social intelligence (SI) characteristics are often touted as lack-luster in manager 
type positions, but there is no evidence to support this. 53 The manager-leader should 
convey SI competencies, which includes openness, altruism, agreeableness, and 
emotional stability. It becomes obvious why this particular quality is vital when 
considering the cultural environment within which Army officers work. The person who is 
open typically invites diverse opinions and therefore receives a wide range of courses of 
action for consideration, especially if the manager-leader displays empathy for others. 
Other advantages are that this person is typically a planner and shows due caution in 
risky environments. He is less likely to act spontaneously while maintaining an 
achievement oriented personality which is essential in overcoming challenges 54 in 
volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, or VUCA, situations. Another quality of SI 
is altruism, which is characteristic of a person who possesses unselfish concern for the 
welfare of those in his or her charge. FM 6-22 identifies Army leaders as those who 
have empathy and care enough about the organization to devote time in the 
development of others. 55 Another quality of SI is agreeableness, which is a trait that 
provides advantages that are vital to strategic leaders who work with other cultures, the 
media, and other services and organizations. The agreeable person is described as a 
person who is “compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic 
towards others.” 56 A related quality of SI is one who possesses emotional stability, 
which is a person who tends to be controlled under stressful and complex situations. 


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The calm reaction to challenges often times produces a positive environment where 
people are more effective and moral is high. These people are normally predictable in 
their behavior and moods, which allows for subordinates and all other contacts to 
operate with an understanding of what the senior leader wants or needs to make 
decisions. 

The final aspect of the manager-leader role is mental agility. This capacity is 
usually attributed to leaders, and managers are often criticized as lacking creativity or 
the ability to create new ideas and having flexibility in planning and execution. However, 
there is no reason to doubt a manager-leader can develop this area because it not a 
new concept. Studies as far back as the 1930’s have reinforced the necessity for 
managers to have this ability. 57 And as Gary Willis points out, “It is accepted that 
Napoleon defeated his enemies because he was one of the few that understood that 
Friktion and Wechselwirkung were always at play.” 58 
Conclusion 

The 21 st century operational environment is fraught with complexity and quickly 
changing conditions that are conducted with and among people of diverse backgrounds. 
This requires future leaders to understand themselves and how their leadership must 
adapt to a variety of situations. To accomplish this, Army leaders cannot get stuck in a 
single way of understanding how leadership is employed and perceived by others. 
Therefore, it is helpful to understand how the Army’s philosophy has emerged, what 
past theories influence current thinking, and apply new techniques where there is room 
for improvement. 


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This paper has argued that the U.S. Army is adept at learning and employing the 
most current understanding of what it takes to be a good and effective leader. 
Throughout the last several decades, as modern social sciences have advanced 
leadership theories, the Army has consistently been at the forefront of employment of 
the latest practices. One only has to review FM 6-22 to find that nearly every major 
leadership theme of the past eighty years is represented. However, information about 
this topic is vast and sometimes overwhelms leaders of all ages. The Army’s manual on 
leadership provides specific guidance and examples of attributes and behaviors, but 
does not provide a field of study to assist with the general knowledge and competencies 
an officer should possess, such as “business administration” for the typical business 
person. One can argue that Army officers are first managers and by becoming 
competent in this role (along with specific skills required by branch), they will become 
more competent leaders. Presently, the Army does not provide anything like what is 
offered in America’s colleges for business, such as an “Army administration” field of 
study. It is doubtful this will ever happen, however, the individual officer can still acquire 
many of these skills through advanced education. 

An officer should approach leadership with the understanding that such things as 
personality, physical appearance, and charisma alone will not in themselves be 
sufficient for effective leadership. One should be clear on roles and how to be skillful in 
one’s role in order to gain the respect of others. This approach will lead to the 
emergence of leaders who can influence beyond their chain of command. 59 Along these 
lines, the role of manager-leader should be understood in order to clarify the tasks and 
skills needed to be an effective Army leader. By embracing this concept, the mystery of 


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leadership can be unveiled and the average person can train and educate him or herself 
in the art and science of the Army officer profession and develop into an effective 
leader. 


Endnotes 


1 Robert C. Tucker, Politics and Leadership (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 
1981), 87. 

2 Sun Tzu, The Art of War, http://suntzusaid.eom/book/2 (accessed October 24, 2010). 

3 Bernard M. Bass, Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial 
Applications, 3 rd ed. (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1990). This number includes what was 
cited in volume three, which was published in 1990. To be sure, many more theories have 
emerged since then. 

4 David Kay, “Emerging Global Trends and Potential Implications for National Security,” 
National Security Watch, NSW 09-1, (May 2009), 

http://www3.ausa.org/marketinq/NSW Trends May09.pdf (accessed October 24, 2010). 

5 The U.S. Army TRADOC web page, “A Leader Development Strategy for a 21st Century 
Army,” http://www.army.mil/-news/2009/12/09/31552-new-armv-leader-development-strateqv- 

released (accessed on December 2, 2010). 

6 Gary Wills, Certain Trumpets: The Call of Leaders (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 
1994), 12. 

7 Richard D. Lewis, When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures (Boston, MA: Nicholas 
Brealey Publishing, 2006), 104. 

8 Ibid., 107. 

9 Bass, Handbook of Leadership, 9. 

10 U.S. Department of the Army, Army Leadership, Field Manual 6-22 (Washington, DC: 
U.S. Department of the Army, November 2010), 1 -1. 

11 Credit Research Foundation, Glossary of Terms, www.crfonline.orq/orc/qlossary/m.html , 
(accessed December 13, 2010). 

12 Ibid. 

13 Michele Doyle and Mark Smith, “Born and Bred?,” April 1999, 
http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional leadership.htm (accessed September 12, 2010). 

14 John van Maurik, Writers on Leadership (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2001), 3. 

15 Bass, Handbook of Leadership, 38. 


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16 R. D. Mann, “A review of the relationship between personality and performance in small 
groups,” Psychological Bulletin 66(4) (1959): 241-270. 

17 Peter L. Wright, Managerial Leadership (New York, NY: Routledge, 1996), 35. 

18 Doyle and Smith, “Born and Bred?” 

19 Wright, Managerial Leadership, 35. 

20 Doyle and Smith, “Born and Bred?” 

21 Bass, Handbook of Leadership, 48. 

22 Ibid. 

23 Doyle and Smith, “Born and Bred?” 

24 Ibid. 

25 FM 6-22, 1-2, B-8. 

26 TRADOC, “A Leader Development Strategy for a 21st Century Army.” 

27 Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and 
Leadership, 3 rd ed. (San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons, 1997), 314. 

28 Ibid., 7-4. 

29 FM 6-22, 2-4. 

30 Bass, Handbook of Leadership, 25. 

31 Elliott Jaques and Stephen D. Clement, Executive Leadership: A Practical Guide to 
Managing Complexity (Arlington, VA: Cason Flail Publishers, 1991), 15. 

32 Wright, Managerial Leadership, 221. 

33 Jeff Fenlason, “Fen’s Thoughts,” http://www.fensthoughts.bloqspot.com/ (accessed 
September 15, 2010). 

34 Ibid. 

35 FM 6-22. References made throughout the manual. 

36 Jaques and Clement, Executive Leadership, 17. 

37 Ibid., xxv. 

38 Ibid., 19. 

39 Ibid., 15. 


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40 Bass, Handbook of Leadership, 185. 

41 Jaques and Clement, Executive Leadership, 17. 


43 U.S. Department of the Army, The Army, Field Manual 1 (Washington, DC: U.S. 
Department of the Army, June 2005), http://www.army.miI/fm1/chapter1.html#section5 
(accessed on October 5, 2010) 

44 Stephen J. Zaccaro, Model and Theories of Executive Leadership: A 
Conceptual/Empirical Review and Integration (Washington, DC: U.S. Army Research Institute, 
1996), 128. 

45 Martin Chemers, “Leadership, Change, and Organizational Effectiveness,” 
http://www.almaden.ibm.com/coevolution/pdf/chemers paper.pdf (accessed October 13, 2010). 

46 Howard Gardner, Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership (New York, NY: Harper 
Collins Publishers, 1996), 5. 

47 Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader: The Leadership Classic, 2 nd ed. (New York, NY: 
Pereus Books Group, 2003), 39-40. 

48 FM 6-22, A-1. 

49 Encarta World English Dictionary (New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1998-2007). 

50 Montgomery C. Meigs, “Generalship: Qualities, Instincts, and Character,” Parameters, 
(Summer 2001): 4-17. 

51 Ibid. 

52 U.S. Department of the Army, 2006 Posture Statement (Washington, DC: U.S. 
Department of the Army, February 10, 2006), http://www.army.mil/aps/06/ (accessed October 
13, 2010). 

53 Jaques and Clement, Executive Leadership, 21. 

54 Scott T. Rabideau, “Effects of Achievement Motivation on Behavior,” Rochester Institute 
of Technology, http://www.personalitvresearch.org/papers/rabideau.html (accessed October 13, 
2010 ). 

55 FM 6-22, A-1. 

56 Ibid. 

57 Bass, Handbook of Leadership, 66. 

58 Wills, Certain Trumpets, 87. 

59 FM 6-22, 3-11. 


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