Army development and self-awareness play an extremely critical role in the transformation of the army it aims at making the army more effective and skillful on matters of the national security, as well as on their personal life. In order to improve the military, the skills and knowledge of the military leaders must be developed through extensive education and operational assignments.
Leader development and self-awareness can also be crucial because, military leaders get an education on to execute their tasks, and the skills they can apply to ensure that they are able to influence the behavior of other people; this is because, a leader must be able to influence other people’s behavior to follow his/her directives willingly.
This document examines the importance of leader development and self-awareness in the transformation of the military and various tools that can be applied to enhance self-awareness. This document also focus on how to analyze the strengths and weaknesses, leader development doctrine, leader self-development as well the prioritization of development needs. This document identifies possible ways of enhancing leader development from a purpose-driven point of view. It precisely shows that leaders with purposeful plan for development can achieve greater versatility in ability and knowledge to handle issues effectively.
In the military, leader development can be described as the deliberate, continuous, chronological, and progressive process, grounded in values of the Army, that nurture soldiers and civilian leaders into skilled and capable leaders who are capable of making critical decision on the course of action (Schirmer, 2008). In the military, Leader development can only be achieved through the lifelong combination of skills, knowledge and experiences which can be achieved through the three domains of operational assignment, institutional training and education, and lastly self-development.
The main purpose of leader development system is to produce leaders who are technically and tactically confident, diligent and competent. Those who can act with courage and initiative in dynamic, complex circumstances to perform missions according to the current and future doctrine, this system develop leaders of competence and character, who can exploit their full potential as a leader. In addition, the military train and develop leaders who can operate as joint and multinational staffs, this enable the military to improve relationships with other partners through continual contracts, combined exercise and national assistance. The main aim is to develop military leaders who can precisely provide direction, purpose, motivation and vision to their subordinates while performing missions in support of intent of their commanders.
Through the combination self-development, education and operational assignment military, leaders gain required skills, knowledge and experience. The military formal development process promotes the individuals growth through training and education, counseling, assessment and feedback, evaluation, selection and reinforcement. This integrated process takes place in army schools, also in units as well as civilian education institutions and organizations.
Self-development can be defined as a planned and goal-oriented learning that expands and reinforces a person’s knowledge level, self- awareness and situational awareness. It play a key role in complementing what a person has learnt in the classroom and on the job, improve individual competence, and it helps a person to achieve his/her objectives. In the military, the self-development training domain recognizes clearly that military service needs continuous, life-long learning.
Self-development allows individuals to pursue both personal and professional development goals. Leaders take the initiative of helping the subordinates to identify areas where self- development will enhance performance of the current assignment as well as areas to prepare them for future career assignments. Military schools offer education and training products which can be applied for self-development. Self-development concentrates on maximizing the strengths, overcoming weaknesses, as well as attaining development goals of individuals. All Soldiers and Army civilians should accept their personal responsibilities to grow, develop, and commit to professional excellence.
The success of self-development depends on self-assessment and performance feedback. In the military individuals must frequently conduct honest assessments of their strengths and weaknesses. First, Leaders must provide feedback on performance regularly and help individuals in establishing an individual development action plan aimed at guiding performance improvement. The other vital component is ensuring homogeneous access to current learning equipment and programs. In the military, self-development domain must be a strong element of the professional development model granting Soldiers and Army civilians with a precise understanding of what success looks like.
There are three types of self-development, these include:
- Structured self development- this can be described as the necessary learning that go on throughout and linked to and harmonized with classroom and on-the-job learning.
- Guided self-development- this refers to the recommended but optional form of learning that keeps the workforce prepared for changing functional, technical, and leadership tasks throughout their career.
- Personal self-development- this can be referred as self-initiated learning where a person defines the objective, process and pace.
Leader development and Army training management process was established and implemented to recommend improvements to leader development and training strategy, policy, and capabilities required to offer trained leaders, Soldiers, and units to combatant commanders.
Tools of enhancing self-awareness
In enhancing self-awareness, various tools can be applied, these include:
Counseling-this can be described as standardized tool that can be used in providing feedback to the subordinates by making a plan that outline actions the subordinate can take in order to attain individual, and organizational goals. Counseling is an extremely vital tool in leader development; it should be part of a broad program for developing the subordinates.
Coaching- this refers to the function of assisting an individual through a set of tasks. In the Army, coaching takes place when a leader guides individual’s development in existing or new skills in practice of those skills. Coaching relies on guiding and teaching to assist in bringing out and improve current capabilities unlike in the case of both counseling and mentoring, where the counselor/mentor has more knowledge than the supported individual. In the military, a Coach assists the people to comprehend and appreciate their current performance level and potential. Also, the coach instructs the individuals on how they can reach the next level of skill and knowledge.
Mentorship- can be said to be a voluntary development relationship existing amongst a person of greater and lesser experience characterized by respect and mutual trust. Mentorship focus on voluntary mentoring, which extends beyond the scope of relationships of the chain of command, and it takes place when the mentor counsel and offer advice over time.
In leader development and self-development process, leaders should be able to achieve the following:
- The leader must identify the developmental needs as well as opportunities
- Comprehend the purpose of change or provide an opportunity
- Determine a way to fulfill a need or pursue an opportunity
- Practice to effect change or engage in learning
- Monitoring, adjust, as well as the change to accomplish needs or take advantage of the opportunity.