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Leadership: The Warrior's Art

As the U.S. Army faces new types of missions and adopts complex technologies, the issue of leadership is more important than ever. In Leadership: The Warrior’s Art, editor and author Christopher Kolenda has gathered nineteen essays which analyze leadership and offer frameworks for better organizational effectiveness. The contributing authors examine leadership using theory, history, and the experiences of seasoned military personnel. The goal of the book is to enhance the education of Army leaders. Readers benefit from a wide range of perspectives on leadership. A common theme that unifies the content is the fact that leaders cannot exist without followers. As a result, a leader’s authority and success lies with the perception of his subordinates.


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Leadership: The Warrior's Art

  1. 2. LEADERSHIP: THE WARRIOR’S ART AUTHORS: Christopher D. Kolenda PUBLISHER: The Army War College Foundation Press DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2010 437 pages
  2. 3. FEATURES OF THE BOOK Even though the nature of warfare has changed dramatically over the ages, one constant is the importance of leadership. In Leadership: The Warrior’s Art , Christopher Kolenda explores military leadership over time using case studies and essays that focus on key concepts.
  3. 4. THE BIG IDEA In Leadership: The Warrior’s Art , editor and author Christopher Kolenda has gathered nineteen essays which analyze leadership and offer frameworks for organizational effectiveness.
  4. 5. INTRODUCTION As the U.S. Army faces new types of missions and adopts complex technologies, the issue of leadership is more important than ever. In Leadership: The Warrior’s Art , editor and author Christopher Kolenda has gathered nineteen essays which analyze leadership and offer frameworks for better organizational effectiveness.
  5. 6. ANCIENT AND MODERN CONCEPTS OF LEADERSHIP What is Leadership? Some Classical Ideas The ancient Greeks and Romans, such as Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero, spent considerable time contemplating human nature and developed enduring ideas about leadership. In 400 B.C., Xenophon led the retreat of the Ten Thousand from Persia to Greece. He defined a true leader as someone people will freely follow even during difficult times. Xenophon did not believe that leaders should rely on force, since coercion is a sign of tyranny. Instead, the ideal leader should use persuasion to influence others and accomplish his mission.
  6. 7. ANCIENT AND MODERN CONCEPTS OF LEADERSHIP Teaching Combat Leadership at West Point: Closing the Gap Between Expectation and Experience A senior level seminar is offered at the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Military Academy which enables students to examine leadership in combat at the tactical level in an interdisciplinary way. One of the course’s assumptions is that experience helps individuals understand the nature of successful combat leadership. Out of this seminar, participants concluded that effective combat leadership relied heavily on the leader’s ability to understand the human aspects of combat and to cultivate cohesion within units.
  7. 8. ANCIENT AND MODERN CONCEPTS OF LEADERSHIP Leadership, Versatility, and All That Jazz Given the uncertainty of the battlefield environment, the U.S. Army places a high priority on versatility. Task organized units must be quickly created and deployed to attain success. To thrive in this atmosphere, Gordon R. Sullivan suggests that military leaders must have skills similar to talented jazz musicians. He compares General Matthew Ridgway, who served in World War II and the Korean War, and musician David Brubeck to illustrate the importance of firm foundations, team-building skills, and the ability to improvise.
  8. 9. ANCIENT AND MODERN CONCEPTS OF LEADERSHIP Living on the Edge: Building Cohesion and the Will to Win Over the last two decades, America’s National Security Strategy has shifted to a global framework and emphasizes force projection. This approach requires the Army to deploy forces to distant locations with little advance notice. To succeed in this environment, soldiers must be physically and mentally prepared.
  9. 10. ANCIENT AND MODERN CONCEPTS OF LEADERSHIP Discipline: Creating the Foundation for an Initiative-Based Organization Christopher D. Kolenda defines organizational discipline as the ability to distinguish between right and wrong behavior and do the right thing in the absence of supervision. This type of discipline underlies trust in organizations. It also enables leaders to manage uncertain situations while remaining focused on the organization’s core values. Discipline, however, does not simply happen. It must be cultivated by leaders.
  10. 11. HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES Alexander the Great: A Study in Character, Vision and Perception In ancient times, Alexander III of Macedon was considered to be one of the most accomplished warriors. He succeeded in conquering many lands, but on several occasions his own troops turned against him. Each of these episodes related to conflicts between Alexander’s vision and his soldiers’ beliefs.
  11. 12. HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES Calculation and Circumstance: The Leadership of Frederick the Great Frederick the Great reigned as King of Prussia from 1740 to 1783. Historians believe that his outlook was influenced by his experiences as a young man, when his father threatened to sentence him to death as a deserter and ridiculed his interest in the fine arts. Frederick’s inexperience and uncertainty as a leader translated into a harsh philosophy which suggested that common soldiers should fear their officers more than the enemy. He took an academic approach to war, believing that Prussia should only engage in battles that were short, brutal, and decisive.
  12. 13. HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES Hard Knocks, Hubris and Dogma: Leader Competence in the American Expeditionary Forces The United States entered World War I in April 1917. By late October 1918, the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) were experiencing many difficulties due to inadequate leadership, such as a dysfunctional supply system.
  13. 14. HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES Heroism Under Fire To help ensure success in battle, commanders must have the right people in positions of leadership. During World War II, the American Army prevailed over the Germans thanks to the leadership of junior officers and non-commissioned officers, as well as intense unit loyalty. Cole C. Kingseed describes three officers who transformed battles into organized chaos for their troops during D-Day on June 6, 1944 and in the months following.
  14. 15. HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES Culture of Confidence: The Tactical Excellence of the Germany Army of the Second World War Even though the German Army in World War II experienced major defeats in 1944, unit cohesion and tactical level leadership enabled it to rebound temporarily. The army’s strength can be attributed to factors such as organization, training, and leadership.
  15. 16. CONTEMPORARY EXPERIENCES AND REFLECTIONS ON LEADERSHIP 21st Century Leadership: The Broadened Attributes of a Soldier Today the American armed forces have broader duties than ever before, with responsibilities as wide ranging as peacekeeping and disaster relief. This calls into question what characteristics leaders need in order to be effective in these diverse roles. The best organizational cultures are built on a foundation of respect for others. As a result, respect is essential for combat readiness and for peacekeeping operations.
  16. 17. CONTEMPORARY EXPERIENCES AND REFLECTIONS ON LEADERSHIP Charisma Charismatic individuals are unique due to their deep understanding of others and their genuine regard for them. Only recently has charisma been considered as an important element of leadership. Unfortunately, as John C. “Doc” Bahnsen notes, the U.S. Army is not comfortable with charismatic leaders because they do not “fit” into the Army’s formal legal and rational authority.
  17. 18. CONTEMPORARY EXPERIENCES AND REFLECTIONS ON LEADERSHIP Battle Focused Training Training is an important way to generate small unit excellence and combat readiness. “Battle focus” is a process that directs training to support accomplishment of wartime missions. Leaders play a central role in identifying which training will have the highest payoff for their troops. Experience has shown that tactical training must be focused on complete mastery of a small number of tasks.
  18. 19. CONTEMPORARY EXPERIENCES AND REFLECTIONS ON LEADERSHIP The Renaissance Force: Selecting Soldiers and Forging Teams for Special Operations Elite military forces have consistently played an important role on the battlefield, often making the difference between winning and losing. Although superior individual performance is the norm for elite forces, the risk is that the team effort will be disjointed. Leadership is essential for transforming strong willed individuals into a high performance team.
  19. 20. CONTEMPORARY EXPERIENCES AND REFLECTIONS ON LEADERSHIP Unleashing Human Potential: The Leader’s Role in Creating the Climate for High Performing Organizations Although technology is now a large part of warfare, the human element on the battlefield still determines success or failure. Leaders must create conditions that enable soldiers to dominate their opposition. High performing teams share a vision, know what is expected of them, and trust their leaders and peers.
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