Broadening Leaders? Culture Change as the Cure
Civilian Research Paper
TEXAS A AND M UNIV COLLEGE STATION GEORGE BUSH SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SERVICE
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The value of broadening or non-traditional assignments as part of leader development has been recognized by the Army for decades. The current Chief of Staff of the Army has directed the Army to broaden leaders to develop the skills needed to deal with uncertainty, assist in developing flexible adaptable leaders at the junior level and help to develop the attributes required of the Army s future senior leaders. Army senior leaders have consistently said that broadening assignments were the most instrumental in their own development as leaders. Despite the acknowledged importance of broadening assignments, Army culture continues to focus on tactical assignments and often discourages its officers from pursuing broadening developmental assignments. Implementation of three small changes to the Army s current officer personnel management system could easily force a change in the Army s muddy boots culture and would incentivize broadening assignments. By changing the composition of key promotion and selection boards implementing systems that require brigade commanders to send their top performing junior officers to non-traditional assignments and modifying the current assignment cycle process to include a mechanism that formally identifies talent, the Army muddy boots culture would adjust and the Army would move to value broadening assignments as part of leader development.
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