The leadership lessons I learned in the military have always been a part of me, throughout my adult life. As I reflect on educational leadership, I recognise the obvious contrasts, but at the same time, have a deep appreciation for a philosophy of leadership that not only pays lip service to the idea that everyone is a leader, but sets out deliberately to develop the leadership capabilities of all its members.
From personal experience, I can truly say that most members of the military see themselves as leaders, think like leaders, and act like leaders. When one considers that only 1 out of every 4 teachers will ever become an educational leader, the question is evident: why do we have a culture that discourages teachers from becoming educational leaders? Are all teachers leaders, if we apply a broader definition of the term, “leadership”?
In the military view, “Organizations have many leaders. Everyone…functions in the role of leader and subordinate. Being a good subordinate is part of being a good leader…(everyone) at one time or another, must act as leaders and followers. Leaders are not always designated by position, rank, or authority. In many situations, it is appropriate for an individual to step forward and assume the role of leader. It is important to understand that leaders do not just lead subordinates—they also lead other leaders.” – Introduction, FM6-22
“As the keystone leadership manual for the United States Army, FM 6-22 establishes leadership doctrine, the fundamental principles by which Army leaders act to accomplish their mission and care for their people. FM 6-22 applies to officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted Soldiers of all Army components, and to Army civilians. From Soldiers in basic training to newly commissioned officers, new leaders learn how to lead with this manual as a basis.” –Army Leadership Manual
LDRSHIP is an acronym. Each letter stands for one of the Army’s core values, they are:
LOYALTY – Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone. A loyal Soldier is one who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow Soldiers.
DUTY – Fulfill your obligations. Doing your duty means more than carrying out your assigned tasks. Duty means being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team.
RESPECT – Treat people as they should be treated. In the Soldier’s Code, we pledge to “treat others with dignity and respect while expecting others to do the same.” Respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in other people.
SELFLESS SERVICE – Selfless service is larger than just one person. The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can contribute.
HONOR – Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.
INTEGRITY – Do what’s right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you.
PERSONAL COURAGE – Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral).