The U.S. Army’s 11 Leadership Principles

The Statue of Liberty - Standing as a Leader

The Statue of Liberty - Standing as a Leader

photo by Torley

Leadership in the military is vital for completing the mission. The military has become known for its development of great leaders. Many presidents were also military men, and a large quantity of other influential people began by serving in the US Military. The US Army put together 11 principles for its leaders to follow. These are valuable principles that every leader, both military and civilian, can learn from. Here are the 11 US Army Leadership Principles and their application to civilian leadership.

1. Be tactically and technically proficient – In whatever business or profession you are in, aim to be the best, or at least have a good understanding of it. If that means doing a little studying, so be it, as long as you set an example of proficiency.

2. Know yourself and seek self-improvement – know your capabilities, but don’t stop there, try to improve on your skills and strengths. Learning is a lifelong task that you should continue no matter what you are doing.

3. Know your soldiers and look out for their welfare – this applies to anyone under you. Take time to get to know them and look out for their health and wellbeing. They will notice you genuinely care about them and probably perform better.

4. Keep your soldiers informed – tell those you follow you what your plans are, accept their insight and suggestions, make them apart of the planning. When someone has a role in planning, they take greater responsibility in its execution. Don’t keep people in the dark about things.

5. Set the example – in everything you do you must do it well and set a good example. You never know what kind of an effect you might have on those under you and one small poor decision might mean the loss of their respect and desire to follow you.

6. Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished – make sure you give clear instructions, ask for feedback on what your followers think you said. Have patience if they don’t quite get what you are trying to communicate. And, of course, supervise to be sure a task is completed, but do it in such a way so that you aren’t hovering above people ready to jump on them when they make a mistake.

7. Train your soldiers as a team – create community and teamwork. Help everyone work together. Take time to do team building exercises. When a group of people work as a team, they work much more quickly, and effectively.

8. Make sound and timely decisions – this one is up to you. You need to make decisions and stick with them. Don’t shy away from making decisions, but look at the options and then make the best choice.

9. Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates – part of this is simply sharing responsibility with those under you. Delegate certain jobs and small tasks. Let others oversee certain activities. In this way, you will be training up new leaders.

10. Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities – don’t overstretch or overuse those who are following you. Everyone has limitations, find what the limitations of your followers are, and then try to avoid exceeding them.

11. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions – ultimately you are responsible. If something good happens, you are responsible, and if something bad happens, you are also responsible. Taking responsibility for things is a key trait of a leader, and fatal flaw if neglected. Be sure to always take responsibility for not only your actions, but also those of anyone under you.

These are powerful principles that could radically change the way you lead. Take some time to evaluate your own leadership and compare to see where you are doing well, and where you are lacking. The object of all of this is to be the best leader you can be. Now go and be a leader.

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