Leader Development The purpose of this essay is to discuss leader development and its importance. This essay will discuss the fundamentals of leader development and how you can incorporate it into your role as a noncommissioned officer. Leader development provides the framework for you as a leader to develop other leaders and to improve your organization. In becoming a noncommissioned officer, you should strive to produce more leaders not followers. Before you can develop other leaders, you must first develop yourself into one through self-development and commitment.
To begin, look at what needs to be present for a successful developmental system. There are three domains that all share responsibilities in leader development; the institutional army, the operational force, and self-development. First, the institutional army is the education and training you will attend to further your knowledge, skills, and abilities. The complexity of today’s environment possesses a vast range of threats upon our military force. Therefore, it requires you to be versatile and knowledgeable in many different areas.
Secondly, the operational force is the organization in which you come from and support. The senior leadership within your organization is composed of a vast range of knowledge, skills and abilities. These components can be used to help us develop as a leader. Lastly, you have self-development. Self-development is how you develop yourself through individual training. Surrounding all these domains are the relationships you develop amongst your peers. As you build relationships it will enhance your growth and development. Furthermore, the relationships you build with your peers will be critical to your development. They may come in different ways such as sharing, counseling, reflection, coaching, and mentoring. These relationships will provide objective feedback from different perspectives, assisting in the development of your self-awareness. As you expand, you need to understand that the backbone of leader development is education, training, and experience. These may be known as the three pillars to development. These three things combined will make a well trained and versatile leader. One who will be prepared to carry out any order provided regardless of the operational environment which they may find themselves. Lastly, as you develop into a leader it becomes your responsibility to assure that you share this knowledge with your subordinates to help them develop. There are a few components of development that you need to take into consideration when developing others. You need to take into consideration the readiness of an individual. You would need to know if the individual is up to the task. Ask yourself if they have the self-discipline and the determination it will take to accomplish the objective. If you do not believe they can complete the objective at hand, then it will end in failure. You will be doing the complete opposite in what you set out to accomplish. Also, challenging experiences can help in leader development. Simply assigning a simple task, will not assist them in development. You need to look more towards the complex task. You need to challenge them to something more difficult; something outside of their norm. The goal is to push their capabilities to the max but not past the point of failure. Expanding one’s knowledge by challenging their abilities and giving them that experience, is one of the keys to development. Another component is reflection. All too often you move on once the objective has been completed. This is doing more harm than good when it comes to your development. This may leave you to self-reflect which is fine, but it does not give feedback from your peers. Getting feedback from multiple perspectives is key to development. You should take the time immediately following a task or assignment to talk about it. You want to know what went well and how can it be improved. This is the time to give criticism where it is needed and mentor them.In conclusion, leader development is a complex system that plays a major role in the development of future leaders as well as yourself. This development is centered around education, training and experience. All of which is gathered from multiple aspects of your daily life. From the way you push yourself in taking on a challenging task, to your organization and senior leadership standing by you. This is what it takes in your development. The military goes to great lengths to assure they are producing competent and confident leaders that are capable of accomplishing any objective that is thrown at them. In doing this, it builds trust through all the ranks of the military. A quote by General Odierno, The best leaders create environments that allow individuals to grow and trust subordinates. The Maneuver Self Study Program (benning.army.mil) and FM 6-22 has additional information that will take you more in depth into leader development.