The Molossian Naval Academy

Notes on Military Leadership

Military leadership is the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction, and motivation.

Command is the authority a person in the military service lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of his rank and assignment or position.

The basic responsibilities of a leader are: Accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of the soldiers.

The most fundamental and important organizational technique used by military is the chain of command.

The chain of command is the sequence of commanders in an organization who have direct authority and primary responsibility for accomplishing the assigned unit mission while caring for personnel and property in their charge.

A military leader has three types of duties:

-Specified duties

-Directed duties

-Implied duties

The Professional Military Ethic is:

-Loyalty to the nation, the Military, and the unit


-Selfless service

Selfless service is defined as putting the needs and goals of the nation, the Military, your unit and your soldier ahead of your personal needs and interest.

The four individual values that all soldiers are expected to possess are:

-Courage: overcoming fears of bodily harm and doing your duty (physical courage), and overcoming fears of other than bodily harm (moral courage) while doing what ought to be done

-Candor: is being frank, open, honest, and sincere with your soldiers, seniors and peers

-Competence: is proficiency in required professional knowledge, judgment, and skills

-Commitment: means the dedication to carry out all unit missions and to serve the values of the unit, Military, and the country

The four actions that should be taken in assuming a new leadership position are:

-Determine what is expected of your unit

-Determine what is expected of you

-Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your subordinates

-Determine what other key people whose willing support is necessary to accomplish your job

The four indicators of unit effectiveness are:

-MORALE: A person's state of mind

-ESPRIT DE CORPS: Pride in unit, enthusiasm for unit, and loyalty to unit

-DISCIPLINE: Prompt obedience to orders and initiation of action in the absence of orders

-PROFICIENCY: The unit's ability to accomplish the mission

The factors of leadership are: The Led, the Leader, the situation, and communications.

There are 23 Traits of Character:

Bearing, Confidence, Courage, Integrity,

Decisiveness, Justice, Endurance, Tact,

Initiative, Coolness, Maturity, Improvement,

Will, Assertiveness, Candor, Sense of Humor,

Competence, Commitment, Creativity, Self-discipline,

Humility, Flexibility, Empathy/Compassion.

There are eleven principles of good leadership:

-Be tactically and technically proficient

-Know yourself and seek self-improvement

-Know your soldiers and look out for their welfare

-Keep your soldiers informed

-Set the example

-Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished

-Train your soldiers as a team

-Make sound and timely decisions

-Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates

-Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities

-Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions

Leadership Principles are used as general rules which have guided the actions and conduct of successful leaders in the past.

The decision-making process is a conscious process for selecting a course of action from two or more alternatives for the purpose of achieving a desired result.

The principle forces you should consider when making an ethical decision are:

-Legal standards

-Basic national values

-Traditional Military values

-Actual Military values

-Individual values

-Institutional Pressures

The seven steps in the decision-making process are:

-Identify the problem

-Gather information

-List courses of action

-Analyze and compare courses of action

-Make a decision; Select a course of action

-Make a plan

-Implement the plan

Professionalism is important in the military for two significant reasons. First, the military leader is a public servant responsible for the defense of the nation. Second, the military organization is often responsible for the life of its soldiers.

The four leadership indicators are: Morale, Esprit de Corps, Discipline, and Proficiency.

The three different styles of leadership are Directing, Participating, and Delegating.

Actions that good leaders avoid are: Violation of dignity to individuals, mass punishment or ridicule of the troops, hurry-up and wait formations and similar drills that waste time, resting before his men, shirking the responsibility of checking his men's position, blaming the next higher in command for a rough and unsuccessful mission, blaming subordinates for a squad's failure in satisfactorily completing a specific mission, eating before his men have eaten, favoritism and moral weakness.

A good leader must have a thorough knowledge of command essentials. The command essentials are: Command policies, authority, responsibility, chain of command and other channels, military rank, military discipline and conduct, and the enlisted aspects of command.

A leader must be, know and do. Defined, this means:

A leader must BE:

-A person of strong and honorable character

-Committed to the professional Military ethic

-An example of individual values

-Able to resolve complex ethical dilemmas

A leader must KNOW:

-The four factors of leadership and how they affect each other



-Human nature

-His/Her job

-His/Her unit

A leader must DO:

-Provide direction

-Provide purpose

-Provide motivation

A leader provides direction by:

-Knowing and maintaining standards

-Setting goals


-Making decisions and solving problems

-Supervising and evaluating

One of the essentials of leadership is to seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. Defined, this means to take the initiative in the absence of Orders and accept the responsibility for your actions.

Three factors which tend to shape personality are Heredity, Environment, Experience.

Supervision is keeping a grasp on the situation and ensuring that plans and policies are implemented properly, including giving instructions and continuously inspecting the accomplishment of a task.

The danger of too little supervision is that it can lead to miscommunications, lack of coordination, disorganization or the perception by subordinates that the leader does not care.

The danger of too much supervision is that it stifles the initiative, breeds resentment, and lowers morale and motivation.

Morale is the mental, emotional, and spiritual state of mind of an individual. It is how a soldier feels. High morale strengthens courage, energy and the will to fight.

Esprit is the spirit, the soul, and the state of mind of a unit that the soldier identifies with.

Bearing is an individualís posture, overall appearance and manner physical movement. It is an outward display to others of the state of your inner feelings, fear and overall inner confidence.

Integrity is the utter sincerity, honesty and candor. It is the avoidance of any kind of deceptive, shallow, or expedient behavior.

Justice is the fair treatment of all people regardless of race, religion, color, sex, age, or national origin.

Tact is a sensitive perception of people, their values, feelings, and views which allows positive interaction.

An unselfish leader is one who avoids providing for his own comfort and advancement at the expense of others.

Proficiency as it applies to military leadership means the technical, tactical, and physical ability of the individual and the unit.

Ethics are rules or standards that guide a individual or a group to do the moral or right thing.

Some of the pressures to be unethical are:

-Pressure from self-interest

-Pressure from peers

-Pressure from subordinates

-Pressure from a senior

Formal norms are official standards or laws that govern behavior.

Informal norms are unwritten rules or standards that govern the behavior of group members.

Military Discipline is the prompt and effective performance of duty in response to orders or taking the right action in the absence of orders. A disciplined unit forces itself to do its duty in any situation.

The principles that help ensure good discipline are (but are limited to):

-Ensure norms which contribute to discipline are established and strengthened

-Set high, but realistic, standards in all things that relate to the success of your unit in training and war

-When your standards are not met, analyze the situation and decide on a course of action for handling the situation

Values are attitudes about the worth or importance of people, concepts or things

Beliefs are assumptions or convictions that an individual knows to be true regarding people, concepts or things

You, as a leader, can influence the beliefs and values of your soldiers by setting the example; by rewarding behavior that supports professional beliefs, values, and norms, and by planning and conducting tough individual and collective training.

In order to influence the beliefs and values of your soldiers you must respect your soldiers and have their respect.

The four emotions that you, as a leader, must inspire in yourself and your soldiers that will combat fear, panic and stress are confidence, purpose, meaning, and self-respect.

Communication is the exchange or flow of information and ideas from one person to another.

There are fourteen motivational principals, They are:

-Make the needs of individuals in your unit coincide with the unit tasks and missions

-Reward individual and team behavior that support unit tasks and missions

-Counsel or punish soldiers who behave in a way that is counter to unit tasks, missions an standards

-Set the example in all things

-Develop morale and esprit in your unit

-Give your subordinates tough problems and challenge them to wrestle with them

-Have your subordinates participate in the planning of upcoming events

-Alleviate causes of the personal concerns of your soldiers so that soldiers can concentrate on their jobs

-Ensure your soldiers are properly cared for and have the tools they need to succeed

-Keep your soldiers informed about mission and standards

-Use positive peer pressure to work for you and your unit

-Avoid using statistics as a major method of evaluating units and motivating subordinates

-Make the jobs of your subordinates as challenging, exciting and meaningful as possible

-Do not tolerate any form of prejudicial talk or behavior in your unit

The two types of authority are command authority and general military authority.

The nine leadership competencies are:



Teaching and counseling

Soldier team development

Technical and tactical proficiency

Decision making


Use of available systems

Professional ethics

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