14 Apr 2022


Leadership and Management in US Army

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Academic level: College

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The US military has been mounting leaders since 1776. Thus, given the extreme circumstances that the soldiers encounter, leadership becomes necessary in the army. When it comes to leadership in the military, the two terms cannot be separated. In the previous two hundred decades, the US Army has experienced many changes. Leadership change and military governance have been fundamental concepts in the US army. People can learn numerous lessons of leadership from the individuals who have always been training leaders in the US military for the past two hundred years. Different people have different ideas concerning leadership in the US army. For example, the majority of the individuals believe that leadership in the US Army concentrates a lot on threatening people and yelling at them. However, this does not happen in the US military. Threatening people in the army builds a counterproductive atmosphere. Leadership refers to the practice of influencing people to achieve a particular objective or mission. This is accomplished by providing direction, motivation, and purpose to the followers. If it were not for leadership, US military would not have existed. It can also be defined as the ability to lead a team towards achieving particular organizational objectives (Northouse, 2015). Being a leader means that an individual has power and authority when leading a distinct group of people. The issue of leadership is critical in the US army because a failure of leadership in the US troop does not only result in financial disaster and lost profits but also leads to loss of lives. This essay will focus on the management and leadership issues in the US army. 


One of the leadership problem faced by the US army is the use of coercive leadership. Coercive leadership happens when a leader demands compliance of orders from the subordinates. The manager expects the followers to do what he or she says. The US military uses coercive leadership and management and is not flexible to other leadership styles. This kind of leadership has been used since time in history. Due to the use of coercive leadership, the military is losing talents. Numerous people argue that coercive leadership is required in the army especially in times of hardship (Ulrich & Cook, 2006). That is to mean that when the soldiers are given orders, they should respond without questioning. This is because the lives of people depend on the promptness of their response. It also depends on how they follow the rules. However, coercive leadership is not efficient in all situations, and it can hinder the attainment of goals and objectives of the organization. A recent study that was carried out in the US military has shown that many bright and capable men and women who are young are leaving the US army at an alarming rate (Ulrich & Cook, 2006). While the flow of the millennials into and out of the US army is constantly a strong tide, the current drain of skilled millennial officers departing the US Army has raised a lot of concern. If the US army does not change its leadership style, many officers will continue leaving the army. 

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Recently, there exists many problems in the personnel system of the US Army. This has been a longstanding subject in the army (Ulrich & Cook, 2006). For instance, the majority of the junior officers do not know about their next work assignment. Besides, such officers do not also know whether their job assignment will match with their strengths, interests, and talents. Further, the US Army does not trust their commanders in hiring subordinates. Relatively, junior army officers are restricted to the base localities they prefer. Similarly, the administrators are confined to creating a by-name appeal of some of the officers. The work supply is harmonized with the labor ultimatum by the large governments that had not experienced many changes since the 1950s when Harry Truman was the president. 

The management in the US army is not sufficient. Recently, promotion system in the US troops has become a major problem. The management does not consider the strengths and abilities of the officers when it comes to promotion. No matter the skills and abilities an officer possesses, he or she has to wait for his or her turn. For example, an officer can be selected as a major and that can translate to staying in that rank for more than sixteen years before attaining the middle organization levels. The promotion system in the military is currently based on seniority, especially for the officers. For an Army officer to be promoted, he or she has to undergo numerous things such as being commissioned, attending a mandatory course, leading a team, attending an advanced course, among others Other officers are promoted into certain management positions without being ready. In the determination to save finances, the US military is shifting to internal promotions or depending on the young leaders to train the new managers. 

Another current event in the US Army is the decline of the military life. A survey was done in the United States by the army times where 2,300 soldiers were interviewed. The study indicated the deterioration of almost every aspect of the army life (Ulrich & Cook, 2006). The army officers claimed that the job satisfaction was low, lessened respect for the superiors, and a diminishing fear re-enlistment as compared to the past five years. Today, many army officers claim that they are not paid well and are not appreciated. This problem has persisted for many years


I believe that the US army should change its leadership and management style. Coercive leadership should not always be used. The leaders should comprehend the need of adapting to various leadership styles due to the ever-changing conditions. They should apply coercive leadership with a lot of caution. If they are not cautious, they may continue losing the young talents. The leaders should only use coercive leadership in situations where the military is faced with a crisis. For example, when the military is having issues with the employees using hazardous job practices, the leader may be allowed to use coercive leadership to gain submission with the welfare standards of the military. This type of leadership has been found to have an adverse impact on the military. The coercive style is not flexible and rewarding. Thus, many officers have found this method to be unbearable, and this is one of the primary reasons as to why there has been a high turnover rate in the military. The leaders in the military apply different leadership styles. They should understand that coercive method is most efficient when the turnaround is required or when they need an immediate compliance with a certain order. Further, they should know that the coercive style has the utmost adverse effects on the employees. Therefore, it should be used for a short time. Once the crisis is over, the leaders should adopt another style such as democratic leadership. 

The US military should change the way in which it promotes its officers. I believe that the officers should be advanced based on their talents but not seniority. The talented officers should be selected and groomed for their achievement. Those who succeed should be promoted to the next rank and be allowed to use their abilities without limit. They should also be exposed to new tasks. In any organization, employees feel that the management is fair when it promotes the workers based on their skills as opposed to rank. When the administration identifies the right talent and practices timely promotion, the experienced officers may be forced to stay in the organization since their skills are recognized (Bensahel, 2015). This aspect leads to the retention of the talented workers in the military. This reduces the rate of hiring new officers and training them each time hence saving money and time. 

Effective leadership and management in the US army are imperative. Firstly, it builds cohesion in the organization. Leadership and proper administration in any organization increase teamwork. Organizations that have powerful leadership tend to have cohesion as opposed to those, which have poor management and leadership. Efficient management and leadership go hand in hand with collaboration, excellence, and trust. Secondly, good management and leadership in the US military can lead to the motivation of the employees. The style of leadership utilized by employers determines whether the employees will be motivated or not. Good leadership can improve the morale and loyalty of the employees to an organization. This can lessen the turnover rates in the military. Employees feel motivated to work towards accomplishing the goals and the objectives of an organization when the management involves them in decision-making. In this case, coercive leadership demotivates the employees, and it should rarely be used in institutions. 

Poor leadership and management have been a primary issue in the military (Ulmer, 1998). This has had a detrimental effect on the US army. Many officers have left the US military due to this problem. A survey that was carried among NCO officers indicated that “poor leadership” was the main reason why a majority of them left the military. As discussed above, the military promotes the employees based on seniority as opposed to their talents. If this trend continues, many officers will keep leaving the army. Poor leadership has also established a mediocrity culture in the US military. Until the management takes an action in solving the leadership problems that exist in the US soldiery, the common culture will persist. The poor leadership in the US military is leading to low employee engagement, reduced morale, and poor performance among the army officers. When the leadership is weak, it has adverse effects on the employees. It leads to misunderstanding, lack of unity, reduced morale, mediocrity culture, the decay of professional values, employee dissatisfaction, among others. 

In conclusion, the US military has been faced with various issues such as poor leadership. As discussed above, US military has not been flexible in the utilization of leadership style. It has been using coercive leadership. Employees work best when their input in an organization is valued. When the employers demand that the employees do what they say, many of them loose morale of working and many of them may leave their jobs. Therefore, it is advisable for the managers to be flexible in their leadership. That is, they should use different styles depending on the situation at hand. Therefore, US military should change its style of leadership if it needs to retain the bright and young officers in the army. Good leadership should always be practiced in the army because it builds cohesion, improves the motivation of the employees and reduces the turnover rates. On the contrary, poor leadership and management in the US military may lead to many army officers leaving the Army. Besides, it may cause misunderstandings among other issues discussed above. Thus, poor leadership is the primary root of all problems that exist in the US military. Therefore, the only solution lies in the adoption of different style of leadership and management. 


Bensahel, D. (2015). Can the U.S. Military Win Wars If It Keeps Losing Talented Officers? The Atlantic Retrieved 23 July 2016, from http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/us-military-tries-halt-brain-drain/413965/

Grint, K. (2005). Problems, problems, problems: The social construction of ‘leadership’. Human Relations, 58(11), 1467-1494.

Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications

Ulmer, W. F,. (1998). Military leadership into the 21st century: Another" bridge too far?". Parameters, 28(1), 4

Ulrich, M. & Cook, M,. (2006). US Civil-Military Relations since 9/11: Issues in Ethics and Policy Development. Journal of Military Ethics, 5(3), 161-182. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15027570600913320

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