The Army’s attitude to situational leadership is founded on the principle that leaders must demonstrate leadership in all situations and conform their behavior to suit the changing environments. The Army utilizes the principle of situational leadership as a policy to prepare leaders for the emerging challenges. The Army has taken the initiative of teaching its members on situational leadership, principles of teamwork, and peer leadership. Leaders in the army are currently taught that they should not be rigid while undertaking their work. Instead, such leaders are supposed to be flexible in order to adapt to the changing environments that characterize their work. This paper examines the concept of situational leadership in the Army and how this is critical to their success.
Leadership is often seen as an art especially in the Army. Unlike civilians, people in the Army have to go through life threatening situations that make decision making an important facet of the Army. This explains why leadership must be taught at the Army. Unlike in the conventional setting, the Army believes that leadership is an intricate human behavior and there is no definite way that it can be viewed. In to be efficient, an Army officer must study various leadership models in order to be successful in their work. A situational leader is someone who knows that situations should be dealt with differently if one is to attain success in their undertakings. In order to be successful, young Army leader’s needs to understand how different models work and take steps that can make them deal with the various situations in their career. For leaders in the Army, understanding the need to make accurate leadership decisions is important since the lack of efficient leadership will have dangerous results (Wong, 2010).
The modern theorists on leadership often teach that there is no definite way through which an individual can influence those he is leading. In the Army, this theory points out that the manner in which a leader behaves is dependent on the situation and the environment that one is in. Leadership in the Army is also dependent on the readiness or capability of the Individual team soldier. In the Army, the leadership model that is often utilized is the Hersey and Blanchard Situational Leadership® notes that the leadership style varies as people go up the leadership ladder (Blanchard, n.d). This implies that Army members at the bottom will behave differently from those at the top or those at the bottom. This is important to understand since this means that there is no specific manner in which the army leaders are supposed to behave. The leaders at the junior level often operate at the tactical level. This might involve bombing a target that they have been given or offering support for a definite operation. At this level, the decision to be made is only based on executing the orders given. Most of the decisions taken at this level are only dependent on what the command leaders have said (Blanchard, n.d).
The 21st century has changed the manner in which Army leaders conduct their operations. With the increased threat of terrorism, Army leaders are forced to collaborate with their colleagues at the international level. This means that the decisions taken at this level are operational and higher and the Army leader therefore needs to transform their leadership styles based on the task at hand. At the higher level, the leader should also be careful as his behavior has an effect on his followers. The major reason for this is that Army officers at the junior rank often execute the tasks given by those at the high level (Wong, 2010).
As the Army leader rises up in rank, the interaction with the junior staff is greatly minimized. This is because at this level, the Army will have grown and as such, it will be hard to interact with all the followers. At this level, the leader will be interacting with both senior people in the government and even other nation leaders. Even as such a leader continues to rise, those at the bottom of the rank will look up for leadership. The biggest challenge with this approach, however, is that there will emerge situations when the junior Army officer must make independent decisions. This is important because such a decision might determine the success or failure of an entire mission (Wadell, 1994).
The changing dynamics of the journey of a leader in the Army makes it hard to rely on a central command. While such a central command is important, there arise situations that make it nearly impossible to rely on such a command. An Army leader should therefore understand that there is no specific leadership model. Instead, the decisions that a leader takes are dependent on the situation, as well as the environment that the leader finds himself or herself in. This implies that no leader can succeed in the Army by applying only a certain type of leadership (Wadell, 1994).
Situational leadership is one of the most applied principles in the Army. This form of leadership teaches that an Army leader should adapt to different situations and environments. This means that there is no specific way in which Army leaders should behave. Instead, the behavior of such leaders should be adaptive to the different situations that the Army officer finds him or herself in. The situation of the Army officer to make decisions is even made harder by the fact that the modern Army is affiliated to numerous institutions and hence the need to study and apply different leadership models.