Empirically Based Leadership: Integrating the Science of Psychology in Building a Better Leadership Model
ARMY COMBINED ARMS CENTER FORT LEAVENWORTH KS MILITARY REVIEW
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There are very few tasks in the Army more important than developing effective, competent leaders. As a significant part of this effort, the Army provides Field Manual FM 6-22, which establishes leadership doctrine and fundamental principles to guide leaders at all levels. In support of this important objective, the manual offers a comprehensive framework for leadership that explicitly outlines the highly valued characteristics and competencies all leaders are expected to aspire to and emulate. However, as valuable as this framework may be, much of its content is based upon intuition and experience. As expressed in FM 6-22, the manual combines the lessons of the past with important insights in establishing a model for competent leadership. While this approach has value, it has a significant limitation that potentially overlooks other highly influential factors. Similar to flaws in relying exclusively on anecdotal evidence, empirical literature is absent or lacking emphasis in FM 6-22. Further, certain characteristics or competencies are more important than others depending on the context. These limitations in the FM suggest a review of relevant research is necessary to enhance the Army s current model of leadership. I will identify those empirically based factors most important to a model of influential, competent leadership in this article. Three areas require further exploration. First, I will compare relevant research on key individual characteristics or traits of effective leadership to those characteristics established within FM 6-22. Second, I will examine the contemporary research on leadership psychology, which has placed greater emphasis on social context over individual traits in effective leadership. Finally, in light of this analysis, I look at possible improvements to the Army s current model of leadership as part of the broader effort to cultivate a better understanding.
- Administration and Management
- Military Forces and Organizations