The current paper aims to discuss the peculiarities of the leadership practices in the U.S. Army. There is no doubt that values play a huge role in the formation of the leadership culture inside the American military forces. The entire military system is based on the loyalty to such national values as equality and freedom. Consequently, it is impossible to imagine any leader in the Army who has a possibility to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the foundations of the American democracy.
Nevertheless, there are also many specific details, which have a big impact on the leadership practices in the Army. First, there are many military traditions, which are related to the authentic Army culture. For instance, all the leaders have to follow the ethos of a warrior. Second, strict hierarchy and subordination are considered as the crucial elements for the functioning of the Army. Therefore, the system of leadership is built in accordance with the respect to hierarchy and discipline.
Third, the American Army culture highly appreciates patriotism and virtue. Therefore, a leader has to focus on the development of these worldview elements among the soldiers. Finally, the impact of the traditional Western individualism is also common for the U.S. Army. Thus, mutual respect is central to the relations between all military. There exists an axiom that all individuals have to treat their peers in accordance with the general rule of interpersonal relations.
It is possible to use the Hofstede’s cultural dimensions approach to better understand the interconnection between the culture of the U.S. Army and the culture of the nation (Matsumoto 2012). Thus, the power distance index is higher in the Army due to the fact that subordination and hierarchy are crucial for the performance of this organization. On the other hand, the Americans want to live in the democratic society. Consequently, they try to struggle against the unequal distribution of power.
The same situation is with the dichotomy of individualism and collectivism. This index is lower in the Army because excessive individualism is dangerous for the success of a military operation. It is crucial to note that the masculinity vs. femininity seems to be the most unmatched index. The culture of the American Army is extremely masculine while the American society mostly supports many aspects of the femininity culture. It becomes clear that the culture of the Army differs from the mainstream culture. It is obvious that this difference is mostly based on the importance of subordination for the functioning of any military organization.
It is important to note that the above-mentioned difference is regularly criticized by social activists, especially the representatives of the feminist movement. There exists an opinion that it could be better for the Army to become less masculine and make a step towards emotional emancipation. However, all the attempts to change the situation face the serious resistance of the Army’s leaders who protect the traditional values. Consequently, the culture of the American Army is very resistant.
Evidently, the core leader competencies in the U.S. Army for a leader are to lead others by personal example, to communicate the problems, to create a positive and productive environment, to develop others, and to get a perfect result (Sewell 2009). There is no doubt that these competencies brilliantly suit the current Army’s culture. Thus, a leader needs to be a link between officers and soldiers. The accurate and thoughtful implementation of this task gives a chance for an Army to function as a holistic system with the single aim. The absence of good leaders could result in the formation of misunderstanding and mistrust between the different hierarchy links. It becomes clear that leadership is one of the most crucial aspects of the U.S. Army’s performance, especially in conditions of the military action when the role of a leader is especially big.
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Matsumoto, David, Juang, Linda. (2012). Culture and Psychology. Cengage Learning. 524.
Sewell, Gerald. (2009). Emotional Intelligence and the Army Leadership Requirements Model. Military Review, 93-98.