The commander is the driving force behind developing a unit’s leaders and is responsible for determining the method, pace, and criteria of the leadership development program. Good commanders not only develop individual leaders but also strive to improve the total Army team and provide good stewardship of the profession. Developing individual leaders means working to expand the specific leadership skills of a single person. Things like self-awareness, motivation, independence, and responsibility. Developing organizational leadership places more emphasis on building social skills to help foster teamwork and interpersonal relationships.
The case study provides good examples of a commander working to develop his leaders. LTC Fullerton first scheduled interviews with his primary staff and senior NCOs to identify their skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Fullerton noted during the interview with MSG Regan that he had gaps in technical expertise regarding the battalion’s mission and made a ...view middle of the document...
Developing leaders within the organization is critical for its success but the Army also charges commanders with stewarding talent to support the whole organization. This means a commander must develop leaders for the good of the Army and not simply for the good of a single unit or mission. Stewardship in this regard may mean placing a leader in challenging jobs where they will face tough, ambiguous situations to help them reach their full potential. However, it may also mean allowing a leader with high potential to leave an organization in order to broaden their range of skills. Fullerton demonstrates good stewardship when he insists his operations officer, MAJ Boone, not delay his attendance to CGSC. Despite his concern at operating without a senior officer for a while, LTC Fullerton understood the benefit to both MAJ Boone and the Army and chose to send him to school for the greater good of the Army.
Finally, good leader development programs must incorporate key principles and planning considerations to ensure their effectiveness. Commander’s programs must emphasize leadership by example and the development of subordinate leaders. Leaders must train to think critically, creatively, and be adaptive. A good program will foster a learning atmosphere for junior leaders and train them in the art and science of mission command. Lastly, leaders must train to know their Soldiers and their families. This builds trust and teamwork. A program that accomplishes all these things does not just happen. It takes careful and considerable planning to achieve. The commander must clearly lay out his expectations and provide opportunities for leaders throughout the organization to experience greater responsibility. The plan should include training and certification programs as well as objectives for subordinate leaders to achieve during scheduled training events. Subordinate commanders should develop similar leader development plans and provide opportunities to retrain their leaders until they master a given task. Finally, leaders need to have the opportunity to attend professional schools to continuously hone their technical skill set. Successful commanders know the difference between leader development and leadership development. They work to develop professional leaders both within their unit and for the Army by managing risk to accomplish their mission.