How to Be a Good Commander Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 4
  • Subject: Leadership
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #92334690

Excerpt from Essay :

Six Principles of Mission Command

Trust, understanding, clarity and discipline sit at the heart of the six principles of mission command. Prudence plays a part as well in terms of accepting risk in a mission. One of the most important aspects of successfully accomplishing a mission, however, is the ability to engage with others in effective teamwork. Teamwork amongst officers and enlisted is essential in the military. Effective teamwork relies on a secure platform of trust to serve as its foundation. Embedded in the foundation of strong leadership is the necessity for thorough flow of communication and the consent for deliberation. Providing quality leadership allows for greater influence and effectiveness within mission command.

Teamwork

Teamwork is built on mutual trust and commitment to the team. Every member has to have a sense of his value, of what he brings to the team and why he is essential to the team’s success. A member who does not have this sense is essentially a dead member. He is a drag on the team instead of a help. To get all members of the team on the same page and animated by the same spirit, the leader must develop his emotional and social intelligence skills (Fredrickson, 2001) and engage in the art received during resiliency training: this will help the leader to provide the support that each team member needs to overcome personal issues and challenges and devote himself to the team and to its mission (Reivich, Seligman & McBride, 2011).

The key element in teamwork is to build trust; transparency through open communication contributes to an engaged resilient and effective team. Trust is built by developing a culture and environment of transparency. Openness and honesty are qualities a leader must possess. Followers on the team will recognize and appreciate a leader’s candor, honesty, and ability to be forthright. Trust cannot be established in the dark: it needs the light, which acts as a disinfectant and serves to kill all the hidden bugs that lurk about when thoughts and feelings are covered up. Trust is built by establishing a two-way flow of communication, which allows the light to get in and positive morale to increase. As Mission Command (2012) notes, “two-way communication and interaction between the commander, subordinates, and Soldiers reinforces trust. Soldiers expect to see the chain of command accomplishing the mission while taking care of their welfare and sharing hardships and danger” (p. 19). Nothing creates a better environment for teamwork than the ability of all members to recognize that their leader is sharing their burdens and struggles with them and leading by example in an open, honest and transparent manner.

Trust and cohesion are measures of climate; leaders must understand the dimensions of trust and its impact on its own Soldiers and units. Commanders are the ones who are responsible for the team building process. It is not up to the individual members of the team to…

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…to the vision for the plan. The leader must provide followers with the reason for the plan so that there is no second guessing among followers who may think there is a better way to handle a certain situation or obstacle. While this may seem unnecessary to the leader, the leader must be mindful of the morale and anxieties of followers: the more they are brought into the loop the more comfortable and committed they will be about buying in (Mission Command, 2012).

Still, some of the best lessons are learned through mistakes; leaders should encourage initiative and sanction failures. Commanders want to see their followers acting like leaders even if they are not in a position to make as many decisions as the commander. There are still numerous situations and examples in which soldiers can make decisions that will impact the outcome of the mission—and the commander has to encourage that type of decision-making as it instills responsibility, accountability and mindfulness.

A well-crafted commander’s intent conveys a clear image of the operation’s purpose, key tasks, and the desired outcome. The purpose will be plain, the key tasks will be understood and achievable, and the desired outcome will be properly envisioned so that all recognize it and want it. The freedom to act while adhering to the purpose, key tasks and staying in pursuit of the desired outcome will all work to make the mission that much more powerful for followers. Leaders who can give followers…

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