Importance of Accountabilty in the Military

Topics: Military, Soldier, Army Pages: 5 (1976 words) Published: March 12, 2014
Accountability is defined by answering or accounting for one’s actions and results. It is something every leader should aspire to obtain and uphold. Accountability is easily talked about but can be very hard and uncomfortable to apply to one’s self. You will rarely hear someone stating that they should be more accountable for their actions, yet we do hear that from our peers and leaders on how we should take more accountability for our day to day actions and how they could eventually affect our futures. In the Army it is extremely important to be accountable for one’s self and their soldiers. From the purposes of a squad leader it is always important to know where and what your soldiers are doing. Prime case is if you notice that your soldier is not at accountability formation and they never have missed that formation before it would probably behoove you to try and get in contact with the soldier. Granted their tardiness most likely may be due to something as trivial as oversleeping, forgetting to turn on or wake up to their alarm or being stuck in traffic on slight chances it could be something terribly worse such as hospitalization or death. In my own experience I have seen a stellar soldier who one day did not show up to morning formation and his squad leader failed to recognize his absence and towards the end of the day is when everyone found out that the same soldier had committed suicide the night prior. I am not saying that the squad leader is at fault in any way for the soldier’s choice to take his own life, however his entire chain of command failed to recognize his absence which could have resulted in an earlier reorganization of the tragedy. But I digress from my tangent and shall go on further to discuss the importance of personal accountability ranging from the lowest ranking private to the highest ranking officer. The bottom line is that accountability means letting your actions rise above your excuses. In the midst of everything accountability is really about being specific. Specific expectations and specific outcomes and specific consequences. All soldiers have learned since the beginning of their time in the military that there are certain expectations of them and the core facts are to be in the right place at the right time in the right uniform. If one soldier is constantly late or doing the wrong thing than as a leader it may be easier to turn a blind eye to the actions and dismiss them for forgetfulness but regardless of that one mustn’t sweep poor performance under the rug because it could cause friction in a unit or team. When one person’s performance is not up to par it brings the group down and gives the impression that this behavior is acceptable when in reality it is not, especially in the military world. As a leader you must always make your standards very clear and follow through with rewards and punishments, and that can only be done by being specific. Never beat around the bush about what your expectations are or what information needs to be put out. Failure to inform and plan is planning to fail. We tend to think of our actions and shortcomings as consequences to the now and that they may not have any effect on us in the future. Which in all means could be true but it might just be the seed to bad habits forming. Doing something mistakenly wrong once and never receiving reprisal may give the weak willed the false idea that they may repeat said actions and receive the same results, which could in turn show peers that this same behavior is tolerable and then it becomes a habit in the organization and reflects on leadership. When soldiers realize that their actions no matter how small either help or hinder their unit or organization and not just themselves their personal accountability becomes evident like a slap in the face. Once that becomes clear a soldier will recognize that their performance directly impacts their developmental opportunities which could include promotions, awards or...
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