Leading in the Military
Of the all the leadership in organizations, one of the most important is army leadership, for it concerns the safety and security of a whole nation. Bad leadership of the military have caused whole nations to fall; and good leadership caused nations to prosper.
In that sense, one should never take military leadership lightly.
Army leadership is generally directive. This is because your army unit has to move as one upon a command by a leader.
You can’t have a soldier in the battlefield start questioning your orders; it just can’t happen. No matter how bad the leadership is, it could often be worse off if the subordinates don’t know how to obey orders without question.
That’s why the militant nature of training in the army is so important. You need your men to move by your orders instinctively. You need to ingrain it into their nature to move according to your commands. That is why gives an effective army its precision and effectiveness.
The Singapore Army is a world class armed forces and every man, me included, has to go through its rigorous training. I spent two years in the armed forces, and through the two years in there, I have learnt certain points about army leadership that could be valuable for you.
(If you would like read about stories of military leaders, please visit biographies of military leaders.)
What is Good Army Leadership?
1. It is physically demanding
Good leadership in army should inculcate extremely tough training for the soldiers. One of my officers once said that the best form of welfare you can give to your soldiers is tough training.
Some of the soldiers might complain that you are pushing them too hard, but the truth is that you cannot afford anyone collapsing in the middle of a real war because of poor physical fitness. In a real war, conditions will be much worse than training conditions. That’s why soldiers in training should always be pushed to their limits.
2. It teaches discipline
Good leadership in the army should inculcate discipline in the soldiers as well. In the battlefield, a platoon needs to be extremely disciplined if they are to achieve their objectives. They need to observe noise discipline, light discipline and other forms of discipline if they want to remain undetected by the enemy.
As such, discipline in all forms should be practiced by the soldiers in their daily training. This should include things like ensuring their beds are well made, their rifles are clean and they sleep at the appointed time.
All these things contribute to ensuring that the soldiers become disciplined individuals who will be able to endure the rigours of war.
3. It promotes brotherhood
Another important objectives of good leadership in the army is to inculcate values of brotherhood. Brotherhood is one value that will help the whole platoon go through their training times and war times.
To achieve that, the soldiers need to identify themselves as one unit. As such, when the platoon sergeant leads, he should not distinct man and unit.
If there is a need to punish due to bad behaviour, then the whole platoon should be punished together. If there is a need to reward due to good performance, then the whole platoon should be rewarded together.
Acts that show brotherhood and sacrifice should be recognized and duly spoken well of. If someone took the effort to help a fellow soldier in need, you as the leader of that team should make a big deal out of it, so that the whole platoon will get the idea that this kind of behaviour is encouraged in the team.
By doing so, you can bring the team to a ‘we’re in this together’ culture. Soon, your team will realize that in order to succeed, they have to work together as a team.
If you can achieve that, you would have succeeded as leader in the army.