Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Sunday, April 30, 2006

72 Situational Leadership

by Major George W. Yeakey, U.S. Army, Retired

This article examines the effect of the recently updated U.S. Army Field Manual 22-100, Army Leadership, on situational leadership theory. It reviews the development of adaptive leadership models and theory and considers how refinements in situational leadership theory might affect combat leaders in today's contemporary operating environment.

Adaptive leadership in today's Army is increasingly important with technological changes and the force-structure downsizing that all military services are experiencing. Adaptive leadership is necessary in today's complex and ambiguous military environment. Technology and the availability and flow of information contribute to a very fluid operational situation.1 US Army Field Manual (FM) 22100, Army Leadership, has added transactional and transformational leadership styles of directing, participating, and delegating. These styles add to the leader's arsenal of leadership styles that can be used to shape behavior, emotions, and the organizational climate.

FM 22100 stresses that leaders must be able to adjust their leadership style to the situation as well as to the people being led. Leaders are not limited to one style in a given situation and, with the nature of the battlefield today and tomorrow, being able to adapt appropriate styles will influence soldiers' success. Techniques from different styles are used to motivate people and accomplish the mission. A leader's judgment, intelligence, cultural awareness, and self-control "play major roles in helping you choose the proper style and the appropriate techniques for the task at hand."

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