Archive for Army

To All Veterans on This Veterans Day…

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

THANK YOU!!!

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Freedom isn’t free.  Men and women throughout our history have paid the price, sometimes the ultimate price of their lives, to ensure your life of freedom is preserved for you now and long into the future.  On this Veterans Day, we honor…we thank…we celebrate their courage, commitment and sacrifice for us; your fellow Americans.

Freedom Isn’t Free

And, this is why they fight and why we honor:

For freedom, they stand and fight:

Thank a Veteran today! Thank them for paving the road to continued freedom and fighting to ensure that our Country’s ideals are secured.  We owe them more than a dedicated day on the calendar.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , on June 14, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance:

I had planned a post to commemorate the 237th birthday of the United States Army. But, this post celebrates and honors the occasion much better than I could. As a Nation, we are grateful for the Army’s service and sacrifice.
**Additional resource celebrating the U.S. Army’s 237th birthday can be found at the following link:
237th Army Birthday ~ America’s Army: The Strength of the Nation – June 14, 2012:

http://www.army.mil/birthday/237/

HOOAH!!! (It’s an Army thing)

Originally posted on Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid:

On June 14th, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized a force of 10 companies of riflemen.  From those humble beginnings has risen a force that for 237 years has, almost uniquely among armies of the world, stood for the protection of the rights of the population it serves, rather protecting the government that established it.

It has been among the largest armies in the world, and among the smallest. It has at times enjoyed great public support, and times of disdain and apathy. It has been home to the most humble citizens, and some of the greatest men our nation has ever produced.

It has served, fought, built, in virtually every corner of the world. Millions of Americans have served with gallantry and distinction, from the American Revolution to this very day.

It is fitting that this day, this birthday of the Army, is shared with today’s other celebration, Flag…

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Messages from the Top of the Department of Defense for Armed Forces Day/Month

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Armed Forces Day

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta Armed Forces Day Message

“Let me take this opportunity to wish all of our troops and their families the very best on this Armed Forces Day. I hope you know that all Americans join me in gratitude for everything you do to keep us safe. Wherever and however you serve, you are an inspiration to me and to millions of your fellow Americans.

“President Truman was right to recognize this day, and even more right when he said that it is ‘not enough to yearn for peace. We must work, and if necessary, fight for it.’

“You fight for peace so that others don’t need to. You work for peace, at home and abroad, so that others may know a better life. Your families share in that labor and in that sacrifice, so that other families need not endure the pains of separation and of strife. There is perhaps no more admirable calling.

“In keeping with that same spirit of service and leadership, heads of state from across the world are joining together at the NATO Summit in Chicago to affirm our shared commitment to work and to fight to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.

“Our goal is clear: to ensure that Afghanistan will never again serve as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against our homeland. To do that, we have to build an Afghanistan that can secure and govern itself.

“Thanks to your service and that of your international and Afghan partners, we are closer to achieving these goals than we ever have been before. Al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated, the Taliban’s momentum has been thrust back, and the Afghan National Security Forces are increasingly in the lead.

“In the past year, I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of you at installations across the globe. As the war in Afghanistan draws towards its conclusion, you still face difficult tasks ahead. But every day I serve as Secretary of Defense, I have been amazed and impressed by your grit and determination, and your resilience. It’s the same grit that won the day at Gettysburg, that scaled the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc, that sunk four enemy carriers at Midway, that broke the enemy’s back at Inchon and broke through the Berlin blockade.

“You stand on broad shoulders — a legacy of courage going back to this nation’s founding. Yet you have set a new standard while carrying a heavy burden over the last decade of war.

“As Americans take this Armed Forces Day to reflect on your service and that of your loved ones, I hope they also find new ways to show you the admiration and the respect you have so rightly earned. You have made our nation stronger and safer over the past decade of war, and whether in uniform or out, I know that you will continue to lead this country and never stop working to fulfill the dream of giving our children a better life.”

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Source -

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta Armed Forces Day Message – Press Release No. 401-12 – Posted May 18, 2012 – http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=15292 - Accessed 19 May 2012 – U.S. Department of Defense – http://www.defense.gov/
 
Related Articles -
 
Panetta Praises Troops on Armed Forces Day
 
Armed Forces Salute (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)
 
Armed Forces Day ~ May 19, 2012 (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Armed Forces Day ~ May 19, 2012

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Salute Our Military: Armed Forces Day Is May 19, 2012

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department — the Department of Defense. Each of the military leagues and orders was asked to drop sponsorship of its specific service day in order to celebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day. The Army, Navy and Air Force leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League declined to drop support for Marine Corps Day but supports Armed Forces Day, too.

In a speech announcing the formation of the day, President Truman “praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas” and said, “it is vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace.” In an excerpt from the Presidential Proclamation of Feb. 27, 1950, Mr. Truman stated:

“Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense”.

The theme of the first Armed Forces Day was “Teamed for Defense.” It was chosen as a means of expressing the unification of all the military forces under a single department of the government. Although this was the theme for the day, there were several other purposes for holding Armed Forces Day. It was a type of “educational program for civilians,” one in which there would be an increased awareness of the Armed Forces. It was designed to expand public understanding of what type of job is performed and the role of the military in civilian life. It was a day for the military to show “state-of- the-art” equipment to the civilian population they were protecting. And it was a day to honor and acknowledge the people of the Armed Forces of the United States.

According to a New York Times article published on May 17, 1952: “This is the day on which we have the welcome opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces … to all the individuals who are in the service of their country all over the world. Armed Forces Day won’t be a matter of parades and receptions for a good many of them. They will all be in line of duty and some of them may give their lives in that duty.”

The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions, and air shows. In Washington D.C., 10,000 troops of all branches of the military, cadets, and veterans marched pass the President and his party. In Berlin, 1,000 U.S. troops paraded for the German citizens at Templehof Airfield. In New York City, an estimated 33,000 participants initiated Armed Forces Day “under an air cover of 250 military planes of all types.” In the harbors across the country were the famed mothballed “battlewagons” of World War II, the Missouri, the New Jersey, the North Carolina, and the Iowa, all open for public inspection. Precision flying teams dominated the skies as tracking radar were exhibited on the ground. All across the country, the American people joined together to honor the Armed Forces.

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Source -

Salute Our Military: Armed Forces Day Is May 19, 2012http://www.ourmilitary.mil/hot-topic/salute-our-military-armed-forces-day-is-may-19-2012/ - Accessed 19 May 2012 – OurMilitary.mil – http://www.ourmilitary.mil/

Related Article -

Armed Forces Salute

Armed Forces Salute

Posted in Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Armed Forces week has marched along, culminating in the honoring of our military tomorrow; Armed Forces Day (May 19, 2012).  I wanted to kick off this blog’s commemoration of Armed Forces Day with a tribute to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to preserve and protect our country.  In this video, The West Virginia University Band presents our “Armed Forces Salute,” which features a medley of the songs from all branches of our great military, as well as a very special field show that will absolutely amaze you; truly fascinating what they do in this video.  Enjoy!!!

Reading the Professional Soldier

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance:

Highly recommended reading.

Originally posted on Carrying the Gun:

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks reading about the professional soldier and some of the issues faced by the US Army in managing the professional force. The number of articles on the topic suggests there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

These are three good articles to read for junior leaders in the force. They raise hard questions.

Afghanistan: A Gathering Menace (The American Scholar) – a journalist’s take on traveling with US soldiers. Is this just bravado or a toxic culture?

Lost in Translation: How the Army has Garbled the Message about the Nature of Its Profession (Military Review) – Are we soldiers or warriors? Does it matter?

Honor, not law (Armed Forces Journal) – especially relevant in light of the Afghanistan massacre. The author argues that it is honor and values that shape battlefield behavior, not law.

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The United States Military Academy at West Point ~ Established March 16, 1802

Posted in Miscellaneous, Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

United States Military Academy Wall TapestryThe History of West Point is integral to the history of the United States of America. From the day of its founding on March 16, 1802, a favorite expression at West Point is that “much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.” Great leaders such as Grant and Lee, Pershing and MacArthur, Eisenhower and Patton, Schwarzkopf and Petraeus are among the more than 50,000 graduates. Countless others, following military service, have had distinguished careers in business, medicine, law, sports, politics, and science.

The mission of The United States Military Academy at West Point is to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army.

highland falls west point cadetsRenowned as the world’s premier leader development institution, West Point accomplishes its mission by developing cadets intellectually, physically, militarily, ethically, spiritually, and socially. The student body, or Corps of Cadets, numbers 4,400 and each year approximately 1000 cadets join the Long Gray Line as they graduate and are commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Today, The United States Military Academy at West Point celebrates its 210th birthday.
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The Hellcats at the Old Guard Tattoo

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For Freedom We Fight

Tribute to the West Point experience and the Class of 2011

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On Brave Old Army Team

Poor Leadership in the Military and in Corporate America

Posted in Leadership, Toxic Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

An article written last year in Fast Company discussed the effects of poor leadership in the military causing more members to hang up their uniform and leave the military.  The article refers to results of a survey conducted among Army NCO’s and officers about their desire to remain in uniform after completing their service obligations.  The survey revealed that some members of the military are citing ‘poor leadership’ as a reason they are leaving the military.

More than the hardship and strain caused by repeated deployments to combat zones, poor leadership is the main factor in driving active-duty enlisted soldiers from the Army, according to [an] Army Times article, citing research results.  Poor leadership is the third-most popular reason for leaving the service among the active-duty officers surveyed, the article states.  Among noncommissioned officers, leadership concerns were a greater motivation to quit than the relentless pace of deployments.[i]  Although the survey is nearly a year old, I am sure the results would be quite similar, or maybe even higher, as a result of the stress and strains of military life over the past few years.

As we’ve discussed here at Command Performance Leadership, toxic leadership is a very real problem in our military.  Although I believe it is isolated and infrequent, it does still pose a harmful threat to the morale and effectiveness of our fighting men and women in uniform.  And, of course, this isn’t exclusive to the military ranks.  Corporate America is also fighting the battle of poor leadership.

Here is the article, with some follow-up opinions to follow:

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Poor Leadership In Companies Goes Straight To The Bottom Line

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson – July 27, 2011

It’s no wonder that the movie Horrible Bosses is playing to full theaters all across America. Everyone has either had a terrible boss at some point in his or her career or they know someone who has been in this situation. Poor leadership is an epidemic that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

The problem of poor leadership isn’t just reserved for the private sector. In a recent survey by the Army Research Institute, 26 % of sergeants and staff sergeants and 23 % of lieutenants and captains surveyed planned to leave the Army after completing their current service obligations. Of those, 35 % of enlisted and 26 % of officers cited the quality of leadership at their duty stations as a reason for leaving. Among noncommissioned officers, leadership concerns were a greater motivation to quit than the relentless pace of deployments.

Here is how this is playing out in organizations around the world.

Employees are being placed in positions of authority based on seniority, rather than results. Sgt. Kevin Doyle, a two-tour veteran of Afghanistan recently wrote the following on the Army Times website. “Instead of promoting those who create results, we keep in dinosaurs that meet an easy standard and continue to slide under the radar.” The same thing happens in Corporate America, where seniority and internal politics often trumps employee performance and results.

People are promoted into management positions before they are ready. In an effort to save money, organizations are turning towards internal promotions or relying on inexperienced leaders to train new managers. The results can be disastrous if the promotion doesn’t come with training or coaching from a more senior person.

I recently learned of a situation where my 19-year-old nephew is training the boss’s son to take on a newly created management role. Now don’t get me wrong. I love my nephew dearly, but at age 19, how much can he really know about management? My heart goes out to the son of the owner, who will be expected to fly high the moment he is set free in the organization. And then we wonder why most family businesses don’t make it to the third generation.

Lack of role models. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have a good boss then you are usually one of the lucky ones. Getting two or more of these is equivalent to winning the lottery.

We model our behavior on what we observe. If most of what we see is poor leadership then it’s unlikely we will be much better without an intervention.

It’s no secret that people leave their bosses. We also know that employee turnover has a direct impact on the bottom line of organizations. Many people believe that leadership is a trait we all possess. That may be true for some, but for others leadership is something that can be taught. Isn’t it time that we put our knowledge to good use to resolve this problem?

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Louis Johnsick, one of the members of my LinkedIn group, Command Performance: Military and Corporate Leadership, posted a comment soon after I posted this article last year in the group’s discussion board.  He said:

“There is poor leadership everywhere for sure. For the most part, the corporations and military are shooting themselves in the foot by placing the wrong people in charge and for all the wrong reasons.

I think this happens for a few different reasons. The top two that I can think of would be: 1) “It’s how we’ve always done it.” 2) “Their a good person and they deserve a chance.” If these folks aren’t ready for a leadership role, then they aren’t ready for a leadership role. I have known some great people, but their leadership ability and management style were sub-standard, but they were still put in charge or recommended for promotion. It would be much better for the individual and the organization to continue grooming them and get them to a higher level, rather than see them flounder and fail; just because we like them or we don’t want to hurt their feelings. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

As a military retiree and working in the civilian sector, I have seen these scenarios play out in the military and corporate worlds. In order to ensure organizational success, performance has to be a prerequisite for promotion; not just seniority. That was always one of the great things about the military, if you worked for a bad boss, just wait 18 months or officer rotation or 3 years for senior NCO’s to rotate. No such thing is the corporate world.

So what’s the bottom line? Agree with the article, in that, we need to get real and take a hard look at how things are being done and do some serious internal analyses and find a new starting point and develop some measurable metrics for success. Ensure we identify the key performers and train and coach them for future leadership roles. Maybe adopt the mantra, “It’s nothing personal, just business.”

Louis’ comment is echoed by General Martin Dempsey (at the time, Army Chief of Staff) in the May 2011 Army Times article.  In the article, Dempsey blasted the pace of promotions, suggesting that it puts people in leadership positions before they are ready.  “We’re promoting 95 to 98 percent of captains to major, 93 or 95 percent of majors to lieutenant colonel. We shouldn’t be satisfied … because 98 percent of captains don’t deserve to be promoted to major. Statistically, that’s an infeasible percentage. And we’ve got to do the same thing on the noncommissioned officer side.”  Too many soldiers are promoted based on seniority instead of merit.

So, is toxic leadership the new fog of war for our senior military leaders?  Do most not see that this is a poison among our military ranks?  What will the Pentagon do to eradicate toxic leaders from the military?  Is it a matter of eradication, or is it a need to have remedial counseling and training among leaders who possess traits of a toxic leader; to train them to be more empathetic towards their subordinates?

My personal opinion, as stated in other posts, is that fundamental leadership training, and the awareness of what toxic leadership is, and how to avoid being a toxic leader, should start early and often in a person’s career in the military.  Because the military is unique, in that it requires people at all levels to take on certain forms and levels of leadership, I think that what we are seeing in the results of the survey is a lack of training and, dare I say, prevention, early in one’s career.  As important as the training on sexual harassment, I think toxic leadership awareness should be an integral developmental focus of our future leaders, both in the military and in corporate America.  And, I think the results of this survey, and the subsequent departure of some very fine soldiers (and sailors, airmen and Marines), is ultimately the result of our senior leaders either ignoring the facts about toxic leadership, or not knowing how to recognize the signs that toxic leadership is affecting their ranks.  So, the training should be both how to avoid being a toxic leader, and how to recognize one.

I know what you are thinking…more training about things unrelated to killing our enemy.  But, topics like sexual harassment, hazing and toxic leadership, among other things, do have a tangible and lethal effect on the esprit de corps of our teams, and ultimately has an effect on our fitness to fight our Country’s wars.  It all ties together.

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Related Articles -

Survey: Bad Leadership Drives Soldiers to Leave (armytimes.com)

Bad Leaders are Destroying our Military (militarygear.com)

Antecedents and Consequences of Toxic Leadership in the U.S. Army: A Two Year Review and Recommended Solutions (usacac.army.mil)

Leadership Effects (A Guest Blog Post from the Front Lines) (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

(Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Authoritarian Leadership vs. Democratic Leadership ~ The Officer Corps Explained (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Toxic Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Schofield’s Definition of Discipline (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

What Inspirational Leaders Do – Conclusion (cedricj.wordpress.com)

Footnote -

[i] “Survey: Bad Leadership Drives Soldiers to Leave” – Published: May 21, 2011 – http://www.stripes.com/news/army/survey-bad-leadership-drives-soldiers-to-leave-1.144230 - Accessed 8 March 2012 – Stars and Stipes – http://www.stripes.com/

Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

Posted in Leadership, Toxic Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

“The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.”

Major General John M. Schofield
Address to the Corps of Cadets, U.S. Military Academy
August 11, 1879

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Major General John M. Schofield’s quote is required knowledge, and to be memorized and recited verbatim, among Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students, Officer Candidate School (OCS) candidates, Cadets at West Point and at the United States Air Force Academy, and other military leadership institutions.  I thought I would bring to you some background about General Schofield, and a little history about his quote on discipline.  Ultimately, the purpose of this post is to use the quote as a backdrop to the topic of toxic leadership that we’ve been discussing here at Command Performance Leadership.

First, I will provide a biography of Major General John M. Schofield.  For those of you who only know of his quote will be fascinated at his military experience and success.  Then, I will put into context General Schofield’s definition of discipline.

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John M. Schofield, US Army

John McAllister Schofield (September 29, 1831 – March 4, 1906) graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1853, ranking seventh in his class of 52 graduates, and was commissioned a brevet[i] second lieutenant in the artillery.  Schofield served for two years in the artillery, was assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at West Point from 1855 to 1860, and while on leave (1860–1861) was professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.[ii]

When the Civil War broke out, Schofield became a major in the 1st Missouri Infantry, and served as chief-of-staff under Major General Nathaniel Lyon.  During the Battle of Wilson’s Creek (Missouri), Schofield acted with “conspicuous gallantry” during the battle, and received the Medal of Honor for that action in 1892.[iii-a][iv-a][v]

On November 21, 1861, Schofield was promoted to Brigadier General, and placed in charge of all the Union militia in Missouri.  He was again promoted to Major General on November 29, 1862, though the Senate did not confirm the appointment until May 12, 1863.  From 1861 to 1863, he held various commands in the Trans-Mississippi Theater, most of the time in command of the Army of the Frontier.[iii-b][iv-b]

On April 17, 1863, he took command of the 3rd Division in the XIV Corps of the Army of the Cumberland in Tennessee, but returned to Missouri in May of 1863 to command the Department of the Missouri.  In January of 1864, Schofield led the Army of the Ohio during the Atlanta Campaign under Major General William T. Sherman.[iii-c][iv-c]

After the fall of Atlanta, took the majority of his forces on his infamous “March to the Sea” through Georgia.  Schofield’s Army of the Ohio was detached to join Major General George H. Thomas to stop the invasion of Tennessee led by Confederate General John B. Hood.  On November 30, 1864, Hood managed to attack Schofield’s Army of the Ohio in the Battle of Franklin.  Schofield successfully repulsed Hood, effectively crippled Hood’s army, and joined his forces with Thomas.  Two weeks later, on December 15 and 16, during the Battle of Nashville, General Thomas used Schofield and his XXIII Corps to effectively destroy what was left of Hood’s army.  For his service at Franklin, Schofield received a promotion to Brigadier General in the regular army on November 30, 1864.[iii-d][iv-d]

Schofield was ordered to operate under Sherman in North Carolina, and moved his corps by rail and sea to Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  He captured Wilmington on February 22, 1865, and fought at the Battle of Kinston on March 10, before meeting up with Sherman on March 23 in Goldsboro.  Working together with Sherman, Schofield led the Department of North Carolina until the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station.  For his service, he was brevetted to Major General in the regular army.[iii-e][iv-e]

After the war, Schofield went on to become the Secretary of War under President Andrew Johnson; June 1868 to March 1869.  In 1873, he was tasked by Secretary of War William Belknap to investigate the strategic potential of a United States presence in the Hawaiian Islands.  Schofield’s report recommended that the United States establish a naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.[iii-f][iv-f]

From 1876 to 1881, Schofield was superintendent of the United States Military Academy.  From 1888 until his retirement in 1895, Schofield was commanding general of the United States Army. He had become a major general on March 4, 1869, and on February 5, 1895, he was commissioned a lieutenant general. Schofield retired on September 29, 1895, upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 64.[iii-g]

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Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

The foundations of leadership are taught in every military institution, from ROTC students, to OCS candidates and those who attend each of the service academies.  The demonstration of moral and ethical attributes are essential for effective leadership as a commission officer in the United States military.  Leaders of character are defined as one who “seeks to discover the truth, decides what is right, and demonstrates the courage to act accordingly – always.”  Officers in the military are to epitomize humility, self-effacement, and selfless service.  So, at the basic and academic level, before the bars are pinned onto a newly commissioned officer, candidates are taught the importance of equality, dignity and respect.[vi]  Therefore, General Schofield’s quote encapsulates the philosophy to develop relationships that promote mutual respect and trust.  So, there is good reason for an officer candidate to learn Schofield’s Definition of Discipline to the letter.

Schofield’s quote comes from a much longer address on the venerable vice of hazing, and the treatment of new cadets by their seniors in the Corps, that existed at West Point while he was Superintendent there between 1876 to 1881.  Schofield said, “The practice of hazing is both injurious and humiliating to its victims and degrading to those who engage in it.  Your constant associates after you leave the Academy must be the members of higher and lower classes.  The memory of ill-treatment will remain with its victim as long as he lives.  You can never be a ‘brother officer’ to him whom you once degraded.  The stern discipline of a commanding officer will soon be forgotten when it can be remembered that he always treated his subordinates with justice and due respect.  But wanton injustice and contumely can never be forgotten, except by a spirit too mean to feel its sting…The very foundation of civil society is mutual respect for individual rights.  And nowhere is such mutual respect more strictly enjoined and rigidly enforced than in military organizations.  Without it, tyranny on the one hand and disaffection and mutiny on the other must destroy the efficiency of an army…A veteran soldier sees but little difference between the different grades, from his own down to that of a junior cadet, and treats them all with nearly equal respect.  It would be well for young soldiers to profit by such examples.  The road to military honor will be guarded all the way by the hearts of those who may be your subordinates.  You cannot travel that road unless you can command those hearts.”[vii]

The Army defines respect as treating people as they should be treated.  It is the “Golden Rule” principle — do unto others as you would have them do to you.  Attitudes about the worth of people, concepts, and personal belief systems are expressions of their values.  Respect means recognizing and appreciating the inherent dignity and worth of all people.  This concept goes well beyond issues of discrimination and harassment; respect includes the broader issue of civility, the way people treat each other.  Respect involves being sensitive to diversity and the impact of one’s own behaviors on others — behaviors that others may perceive as being insensitive, offensive, or abusive.  Ultimately, the Army fosters a commitment to ethical excellence essential to leaders of character for our military and our Nation.[viii]

Too often in the Army, leaders want unqualified loyalty.  Schofield knew that such loyalty had to be earned. He knew that harsh treatment– the kind too frequently mistaken for authoritative expertise– comes at the expense of performance.  He knew that hard-earned respect– the kind that comes from compassion, empathy, and a commander’s genuine interest in his subordinates– makes men reliable in battle.[ix]  General [Schofield] was trying to tell us that we’d succeed in gaining the discipline necessary for any future overwhelming fight, if we treated our people with respect and in a manner and tone of voice appropriate for American warfighters.[x]

The foundation of discipline is not accountability or punishment, but respect.  A leader must establish trust and credibility, communicate effectively, employ empathy, intimately know their people’s capabilities, and move their people into positions to be most successful.  Nobody should be the ‘bad guy’ when leading people.  No leader should be a bad guy intentionally, or go out of their way to be one.  If a leader is working to perfect his ‘bad guy’ image, he is dishonoring his responsibility as a leader, and is creating a hostile environment for his followers.  If a leader has successfully become a ‘bad guy,’ shame on them.  Their subordinates deserve better than that; and, so does the service they represent and the Command (organization) they are responsible for.[xi]  Ultimately, a good leader will lead through respect instead of leading through fear.  When you treat people right, word gets around.

The poisoning results of harsh and tyrannical treatment can be detrimental to people, teams and organizations.  A leader’s job, along with guiding individuals and groups towards victory and success, is to be a mentor.  All eyes are on the leader; everyone looks up to them.  However, the wrong tone of voice or form of ridicule, no matter how isolated or common, can have a negative impact on individuals and teams.  The results of such toxic leadership can have destabilizing effects on command and control, as well as destroy esprit de corps.

Good leaders seek to develop and nurture relationships that lead to growth and fulfillment.  They:

  • Understand their needs and goals for relationships
  • Are able to take the perspective of another in relationships
  • Are able to transcend or step-out of their own self-interests to serve the good of the relationship
  • Work to establish cooperative relationships so all benefit
  • Seek relationships where they are respected and valued
  • Respect and value others in relationships
  • Seek healthy relationships that provide autonomy and support for growth
  • Meet their responsibilities in relationships
  • Treat others in relationships fairly and honestly
  • Effectively communicate with others in relationships
  • Build relationships based on trust
  • Understand the impact of military service on relationships[xii]

General Schofield’s quote is not very long, but it certainly says a lot.  For the Army, and any organization for that matter, to work properly there must be a bond between the leader and those being led; a bond that rests not on authority alone – but on professionalism, good will, and above all MUTUAL RESPECT.  As I said earlier in this post, there is good reason for an officer candidate to learn Schofield’s Definition of Discipline to the letter.  The knowledge and execution of its very meaning will serve officers well when they are in a position to lead people in the military and in life.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Related Articles -

Schofield’s Definition of Discipline - West Point Association of Graduates – Gray Matter (westpointaog.org)

Bugle Notes: Learn This! (west-point.org)

Why You Should Treat Your People Like it’s 1879 (thoughtleadersllc.com)

Leadership and the Golden Rule (courageouslearning.wordpress.com)

Leadership as Influence (weareallleadersnow.wordpress.com)

Toxic Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Authoritarian Leadership vs. Democratic Leadership ~ The Officer Corps Explained (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

(Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Respect for Others: A Bedrock of Leadership (digital-library.usma.edu)

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Footnotes -

[i] The Articles of War adopted by the United States Army in 1776 and slightly revised in 1806 established the use and significance of brevet ranks or awards in the U.S. Army. When first used, a brevet commission in the U.S. Army entitled the officer to be identified by a higher rank but the award had limited effect on the right to higher command or pay. A brevet rank had no effect within the officer’s current unit, but when assigned duty at the brevet rank by the U.S. President such an officer would command with the brevet rank and be paid at the higher rank. This higher command and pay would last only for the duration of that assignment. The brevet promotion would not affect the officer’s seniority and actual permanent rank in the army (“Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue” by Roger D. Hunt and Jack R. Brown. Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, 1997. “Introduction”, p.v.).  Beginning on April 16, 1818, brevet commissions also required confirmation by the United States Senate, just as all other varieties of officer commissions did (“Civil War High Commands” by John H. Eicher and David J. Eicher. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. p. 34.).  Brevet promotions were quite common because the army had many frontier forts to garrison and other missions to perform but could not always appoint appropriately ranked officers to command these forts or missions. The U.S. Congress permitted only a limited number of each rank of officer. Thus, an officer of lower rank might receive a brevet commission to a rank more appropriate for his assignment. Also, newly commissioned officers often received brevet rank until authorized positions became available. For example an officer might graduate from West Point and be appointed a brevet second lieutenant until a permanent posting opened up (“Brevet [military]” – Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brevet_(military)– Accessed 19 February 2012)

[ii] “Civil War High Commands” by John H. Eicher and David J. Eicher. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. p. 472-73.

[iii-a,b,c,d,e,f,g] “John Schofield” – Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Schofield – Accessed 19 February 2012

[iv-a,b,c,d,e,f] “John M. Schofield” – Civil War Trust (Saving America’s Civil War Battlefields) – http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/biographies/john-schofield.html – Accessed 21 February 2012

[v] “Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas” by Benson Bobrick. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2009. p. 288, states “Much later, as secretary of war (1868-1869), he would award himself the Congressional Medal of Honor (actual award was in 1892) for Undocumented valor at Wilson’s Creek.”

[vi] “The Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS) – Moral Ethical Domain”- United States Military Academy Office of Policy, Planning, and Assessment – http://www.usma.edu/opa/clds/moral_ethical_domain.html - Accessed 22 February 2012 – United States Military Academy – http://www.usma.edu/

[vii] “Schofield’s Definition of Discipline” – West Point Association of Graduates – Gray Matter – Posted 4 November 2010 – http://www.westpointaog.org/page.aspx?pid=4329 - Accessed 19 February 2012 – http://www.westpointaog.org/

[viii] “Cadet Leader Development System” – USMA Circular: 1-101 (page 49) – 3 June 2002 – United States Military Academy – West Point, New York – http://www.dami.army.pentagon.mil/pub/dami-fl/Cr1-101.pdf – Accessed 21 February 2012 – Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2 (Army Intelligence) – http://www.dami.army.pentagon.mil/

[ix] “The Discipline Which Makes Men Reliable” – By Rich Stowell – Posted 29 March 2011 – http://my-public-affairs.blogspot.com/2011/03/discipline-which-makes-men-reliable.html – Accessed 21 February 2012 – My Public Affairs (A Teacher’s Education in the Army) – http://my-public-affairs.blogspot.com/

[x] “Year of Leadership: American-Made Discipline” – Commentary by Lt. Col. Mark Allen, 341st Operations Support Squadron – Posted 10/16/2008 ~ Updated 10/17/2008 – Malmstrom Air Force Base – News/Commentary – http://www.malmstrom.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123119911 – Accessed 21 February 2012 – Malmstrom Air Force Base – http://www.malmstrom.af.mil/

[xi] “(Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership” – By Dale R. Wilson – Posted 01/24/2012 – http://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/hard-lessons-learned-about-leadership/ – Accessed 23 February 2012 – Command Performance Leadership – http://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/

[xii] “The Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS) - Human Spirit Domain”- United States Military Academy Office of Policy, Planning, and Assessment – http://www.usma.edu/opa/clds/domain_of_the_human_spirit.html - Accessed 22 February 2012 – United States Military Academy – http://www.usma.edu/

BookLink: Army Leadership (Organization and Strategic Leadership) {Book 1, Wk. 3}

Posted in Army Leadership, BookLink with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Last week, I took a brief departure from BookLink and our weekly review of The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual.  Instead, I posted Leadership Effects (A Guest Blog Post from the Front Lines), which originated from a comment to this series about the Army’s leadership field manual.  From a weekly reader’s standpoint, it amounted to a virtual field trip to the front lines of military leadership.  If you haven’t taken the time to read that post, please set aside some time to do so.

Our previous assignment had been to read Chapter 10 thru Appendix A (pages 107 thru 155).  But, we are only going to summarize Chapters 10 thru 12, leaving Appendix A (pages 145 thru 155) for next week.  If you are new to the BookLink series, and you want to catch up on our reading of The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual, you can find links to the recent posts below.  Also, below, I have included links to the field manual found elsewhere on the internet for you to view and download.

BookLink ~ The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual – Posted 01/23/2012

BookLink: Army Leadership (BE ~ KNOW ~ DO) {Book 1, Wk. 1} – Posted 01/30/2012

BookLink: Army Leadership (Lead ~ Develop ~ Achieve) {Book 1, Wk. 2} – Posted 02/06/2012

http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/repository/materials/FM6_22.pdf

http://www.scribd.com/doc/6255277/FM-622-Leadership-US-Army

This coming week, our assignment is to finish reading the field manual; Appendix A thru the end of the book (pages 145 thru 216).  Then, on February 27, I will have a post for discussion on what we have read.

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Army Leadership FM 6-22 (FM 22-100) (Paperback) ~ US Army Cover Art

There are many influences and challenges that affect leadership.  Some of these are predictable, based on experiences.  Some are unpredictable, surfacing because of the situation.  As General Dennis J. Reimer, Chief of Staff of the Army (1995-1999) once said, “The role of leadership is to turn challenges into opportunities.”  Obviously, many of the challenges a soldier in the Army may face are a result of evolving threats, and their ability to adapt to those ever-changing challenges.

Stress –

In all walks of life, both military and civilian, stress is a human dimension we all have to deal with.  Leaders play a significant role in managing the stress levels of their subordinates.  The mental discipline and resilience to overcome the contributing factors of stress, and implementing countermeasures to confront it, becomes the responsibility of both the leader and follower.  Here are just a few of the ways to handle stress, as discussed in FM 6-22:

-          Admit that fear exists

-          Ensure communication lines are open between leaders and subordinates

-          Do not assume unnecessary risks

-          Provide good, caring leadership

-          Recognize the limits of a soldier’s endurance

Although the emphasis of FM 6-22 is on Army leadership, and applies to soldiers, there are obvious parallels to managing stress among people in the civilian community.  Stress is a result of varying levels of fear.  Dealing with fear and anxiety is vital to remaining focused and strong; easier said than done, I know.  But, good leadership will recognize the signs of stress among their people and teams, and will employ the necessary measures to manage those stress levels.  As General George S. Patton, Jr. said, “All men are frightened.  The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened.  The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on.”  (War As I Knew It, 1947).

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As a leader grows in knowledge and experience, they are preparing themselves for greater responsibilities, and will become organizational and strategic leaders.  These leaders lead by example, have a wide range of knowledge, and apply their competencies to build teams of teams with discipline, cohesion, trust and proficiency.  They focus their organizations down to the lowest level on the mission ahead by disseminating a clear intent, sound operational concepts, and a systematic approach to execution.  In some cases, these leaders may lead complex organizations, where they would have to apply elements of direct, organizational, and strategic leadership at the same time.  These leaders must be agile.

Now that they’re in charge of a larger organization, these leaders’ influences are more often indirect than direct down the chain of command.  They rely more heavily on developing subordinates and empowering them to execute their assigned responsibilities and missions.  They visualize the larger impact on the organization and mission when making decisions; they look at the big picture.  Lower level personnel and leaders look to their organizational leaders to set achievable standards, to provide clear intent, and to provide necessary resources.

A fitting quote to encompass the leader’s ability to drive the organization and lead by example is a quote by General Gordon R. Sullivan, author of Hope is Not a Method:

“If you are the leader, your people expect you to create their future.  They look into your eyes, and they expect to see strength and vision.  To be successful, you must inspire and motivate those who are following you.  When they look into your eyes, they must see that you are with them.”

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Organizational leaders play a critical part when it comes to maintaining focus.  They are at the forefront of adapting to changes and exploiting emerging opportunities by applying a combination of intuition, analytical problem solving, systems integration, and leadership by example.

Organizational leaders ensure clear and understandable communication.  They share as much information as possible with their subordinates, and allow for a two-way exchange of information to ensure a clear understanding of intent, priorities, and thought processes.  Within the organization, there should be a coordination of communication through multiple channels, creating a more complete picture.  With reliable information, staffs at different levels can productively assist in turning policies, concepts, plans, and programs into achievable results.

Middle level organizational levels also interact with the next-higher staff to gain a better understanding of the superior’s priorities and impending shifts.  This helps set the conditions for their own requirements and changes.  Constantly sensing, observing, talking, questioning, and actively listening helps to better identify and solve potential problems, or to avoid them.

Organizational leaders take a long-term approach to developing the entire organization.  They create a positive environment, they prepare themselves for the future, they develop others by building team skills and processes, they encourage initiative and acceptance of responsibility, and they choose talented staff leaders (middle managers).  Ultimately, they empower their organization to be prepared to take initiative and to make decisions, while holding them accountable for their actions.  They tell their people what needs to be accomplished and why, and leave the details to them.  Known as Pushing Smarts Down, soldiers today have better intellect and education and don’t need to be told how to do certain tasks, or be guided by step-by-step processes.  It is truly the elimination of micromanagement and the establishment of empowerment.

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Strategic leaders are high-level thinkers who sustain an organization’s culture and envision the future of the organization, and then convey that vision to the entire organization.  Strategic leaders apply knowledge, experience, techniques, and skills beyond those required by direct or organizational leaders.  They must think in multiple time periods and apply more adaptability and agility to managing change.  They operate in intricate networks of overlapping and sometimes competing constituencies.  They participate in and shape endeavors extending beyond their span of responsibility.  Strategic leaders must concentrate on the future.  They spend much of their time looking toward long-term goals and positioning for long-term success even as they often contend with mid-term and immediate issues and crises.

The constantly changing World challenges strategic leaders’ decision-making abilities.  Despite the challenges, strategic leaders personally tell the organization’s story, make long-range decisions, and shape the organization’s culture.  Like direct and organizational leaders, strategic leaders lead by example and exert indirect leadership by communicating, inspiring, and motivating.  Providing a clear vision is vital to the strategic leader, and they share this vision with a broad audience, gaining widespread support, and use it as a compass to guide the organization.  Strategic leaders identify trends and opportunities, and threats that could affect the organization’s future and move vigorously to mobilize the talent that will help create strategic vision.

Strategic leaders are skilled at reaching consensus and building coalitions.  They apply these skills to tasks, and routinely bring designated people together for missions.  Using peer leadership rather than strict positional authority, strategic leaders carefully monitor progress toward a visualized end state.  They focus on the health of the relationships necessary to achieve it.  Interpersonal contact sets the tone for professional relations: strategic leaders must be tactful.

And, strategic leaders lead and inspire institutional change.  They accept change in proactive, not in reactive fashion.  They anticipate change even as they shield their organizations from unimportant and bothersome influences.  Ultimately, good strategic leaders can effectively shape change to improve the institution while continuing to deal with routine operations and requirements.  They know that institutional change requires influence grounded in commitment rather than forced compliance.  Commitment must be reinforced consistently throughout the multiple levels of the organization.  While all levels of leaders lead change, strategic level leaders make the most-sweeping changes and ones that focus on the most distant horizon.  Strategic leaders guide their organizations through eight distinct steps if their initiatives for change are to make lasting progress.  The critical steps of the leading change process are:

  • Demonstrate a sense of urgency by showing both the benefits and necessity for change.
  • Form guiding coalitions to work the process of change from concept through implementation.
  • With the guiding coalitions and groups, develop a vision of the future and strategy for making it a reality.
  • Clearly communicate the future vision throughout the institution or organization; change is most effective when all members embrace it.
  • Empower subordinates at all levels to pursue widespread, parallel efforts.
  • Plan for short-term successes to validate key programs and keep the vision credible.
  • Consolidate the successful programs to produce further change.
  • Ensure that the change is culturally preserved.

The result is an institution that constantly prepares for and shapes the future environment.  The strategic leaders’ fundamental goal is to leave the organization better than they found it.  They create a positive environment to position the institution for the future.

When providing direction, giving guidance, and setting priorities, strategic leaders must judge realistically what the future may hold.  They incorporate new ideas, new technologies, and new capabilities.  From a mixture of ideas, facts, conjecture, and personal experience, they create an image of what their organizations need to be and where it must go to get desired results.

The strategic leader’s vision provides the ultimate sense of purpose, direction, and motivation for everyone in the organization.  It is the starting point for developing specific goals and plans, a yardstick for measuring organizational accomplishment, and a check on organizational values.  A shared vision throughout the organization is important for attaining commitment to change.  A strategic leader’s vision for the organization may have a time horizon of years, or even decades.

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