Canadian Military and Leadership Defining Leadership Issues Essay

  • Length: 12 pages
  • Sources: 9
  • Subject: Leadership
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #31965060

Excerpt from Essay :

Canadian Military and Leadership

Defining Leadership

Issues in Military Leadership

Canadian Military

Situational Leadership Theory

Canadian Military and Situational Leadership

The military organizations have developed a culture that has set standards of increased productivity with declining resources as regards money, workforce and other resources (Towell, 1998). Despite the fact that there have been reductions in the expenditure of military yet there seen an increased in the expectations from military leaders to complete successfully the assigned tasks apart from of limited sources (Fogleman, 1995). These expectations of achieving goals completely with fewer resources have put a significant toll on military leaders (Towell, 1998).

The Canadian Force (CF) is currently undergoing a change and "have already begun a long-term transformation process," (Department of National Defense, 2005, p.2) which will lead Canada's military into the future. In 2005, the DND (Department of National Defense) published Canada's International Policy Statement. The policy statement outlines how the "policy is about change, and providing our military with a bold new vision to deal with an increasingly uncertain world" (DND, 2005, p.2). The Chief of Defense Staff (CNDS), created a vision that "included changing the way the Canadian Forces is structured, equipped, trained and educated" (Edwards, Bentley, & Walker, 2006, p.6) With transformation comes the task of reforming of the CF's philosophy and culture. As values change within society, it is important that they also change within the culture of the CF. Most importantly the CF is evolving from a rules-based organization to a values-based organization. The values-based model is creating a change within traditional CF culture.

A facet of CF transformation requires a change in the values and beliefs of not only the organization, but of the people who make up the organization. "Leaders and employees must change their mindset to implement and function in the organization's new design and strategy successfully" (Anderson & Ackerman Anderson, 2001, p.19). The current essay is aimed at exploring the situational leadership theory in the context of its implication for Canadian military. The author has discussed in detail the current situation of leadership and its requirement in the Canadian Forces as regards the changing warfare, terrorism, inclusion of technology in the military organizations and the changing culture and values of the forces. The author has also discussed in detail the theory of situational leadership and whether it is sufficient in the current situation for Canadian Forces.

Defining Leadership

Van Vugt, Hogan, and Kaiser (2008) stated, "Leadership is crucial, but often misunderstood topic" (p. 193). Although all the definitions of leadership vary in some way or other yet one thing is common in all that is all the definition stress on the importance of task completion (Mohr, 2000). Although a general and fundamental concept of leadership is clear yet the term has been defined in different way by different individuals (Northouse, 2004). Burns (1978) stated, "Leadership is leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and motivations -- the wants and needs, the aspirations and expectations -- of both leaders and followers" (p. 19). Humphreys (2001) contended, "Leadership is an exchange between the leader and the follower" (p. 150). Robbins (2003) asserted, "Leadership is the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of goals and the ability to influence others determined how effective you were as a leader" (p. 314). Northouse (2004) defined leadership as "A process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal" (p. 3). Phillips (1992) defined leadership in his book, Lincoln on Leadership as:

"Leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivations; the wants and needs, the aspirations and expectations of both leaders and followers. And the genius of leadership lies in the manner in which leaders see and act on their own terms and their followers' values and motivations." (p. 3)

These were the early definitions and concepts of leadership but as time passed the scholars continued their efforts to understand the basic essence of leadership. Burns (1978) stated, "If we know all too much about our leaders, we know too little about leadership. We fail to grasp the essence of leadership that is relevant to the modern age and hence we cannot agree even on the standards by which to measure, recruit, and reject it." (p. 2). Then Robbins (2003) stated, "The search for personality, social, physical, or intellectual attributes that would describe leaders and differentiate them from non-leaders goes back to 1930s" (p. 314).

Northouse (2004) expressed, "We have heard statements such as 'He is a born leader' or 'she is a natural leader.' These statements are commonly expressed by people who take a trait perspective toward leadership" (p. 4). However no consistent and universal characteristics of leadership have been defined by scholars no matter whatever organization is (Robbins, 2003). In due course, the leadership research approach shifted from trait specific to attributes specific such as functions of leaders and leadership styles (Northouse, 2004). This shift from trait to leadership styles and leader's functions forced the leader to focus on how to maximize the follower influence

Modern organizations want leaders to appeal to change by highlighting commonplace processes and attitudes to open up a culture which is able to achieve most favorable efficiency (Robbins, 2003). Robbins (2003) further stated, "Overall, the cumulative findings from more than half a century of research lead us to conclude that some traits increase the likelihood of success as a leader, but none of the traits guarantee success" (p. 315). With the aforementioned, Robbins (2003) acknowledged the subsequent limits that are present along with the personal characteristics and traits differentiating leaders from non-leaders: "No universal traits that predicts leadership in all situations; traits predict behavior more in 'weak' situations than in 'strong' situations; The evidence in unclear in separating cause from effect; Traits do a better job at predicting the appearance of leadership" (p. 315).

Compared to the accepting the emergence of leadership as well as the idea of influence, the behavioral or process occurrence assessed effective leaders' behaviors (Robbins, 2003). Robbins further stated, "If behavioral studies were to turn up critical behavioral determinants of leadership, we could train people to be leaders" (p. 316). From the process or behavioral viewpoint it is possible that there is possibility for everyone to learn leadership devoid of having definite physical traits (Northouse, 2004).

Canadian Military Leadership

"Warfare has changed over the last several decades and so has the need to accomplish the defense mission and vision in a modernized and professional manner. The Cold War and the fight against communism is no longer the threat to security. Canada knew who and where the enemy was. Terrorism has brought about a "new world order" (CDA, 2005a, p.2) where the security environment is unpredictable and constantly changing, as the treat can no longer be seen. Part of the modernization process (CDA, 2005a) is the transformation of the CF as an institution to adapt to the changing security climate and challenges of modern warfare.

As described by in the Department of National Defense, "the mission of the Canadian Forces is to defend Canada and Canadian interests while contributing to international peace and security" (DND, 2005b, p.xi) and the vision is as follows: "The CF will continue to maintain modern, combat-capable forces that will become more effective, relevant and responsive, with an increasing ability to provide leadership at home and abroad" (DND, 2005, p.1).

Research has shown that leadership challenges in the 21st century in Canadian Forces were inimitable to the challenges in the 20th century (Fix & Wyly, 2004; Weidman, 2002). As described by Covey (2004), "The challenges and complexities we face in our personal lives and relationships, in our families, in our professional lives, and in our organizations are of a different order of magnitude" (p. 3). Similarly Fiol, Harris and House (1999) pointed out that "we know that charismatic leaders can generate radical social changes and that the performance of charismatic leaders and their followers tends to exceed that of their no charismatic counterparts" (p. 449).

From overarching Canadian Forces perspective, the army, navy and air force have been working to describe and acquire the personnel and equipment capabilities they will require to meet the challenges and demands of the ballet-space in year 2020 in their most recent doctrinal guidance. The CF guidance can be found in Shaping the Future of the Canadian Forces: A Strategy 2020, and is intended to ready a force structure that will provide Canada with a task-tailored military organization that will be prepared to respond to domestic and international events (Department of National Defense/Assistant Deputy Minister Human Resources Military (ADM (HR), n.d). The Navy's blueprint for future operations is found in Navy Landmark -- the Navy's Strategy for 2020 (Department of National Defense Headquarters/Chief of the Maritime Staff, 2001). The Air Force's future organization is outlined in Security above All, Strategic Vector and the Aerospace Capability Framework (Department of National Defense/Air Force Public Affairs).

This new focus by all branches…

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