A leader must possess a handful of distinct traits and moral values. Traits, defined as character, presence and intellect, shape how a Soldier will behave and learn in an environment. Values, including but not limited to loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage, create a baseline standard of expectation for all Soldiers. Leaders must embody and inspire others to live by these values. Besides developing and improving the aforementioned attributes and values, a leader must be able to adapt and overcome complex situations as well as influence their subordinates to accomplish the unit’s mission.
The first trait of an effective leader is character. Character is assessed by an individual’s integrity and strong sense of identity. Integrity is the ability to always do what is morally, ethically and legally right regardless of the audience or the outcome. A strong sense of identity enables confidence, acceptance of responsibility, and initiation of unfavorable (punitive) actions. Character is also described by a leader’s ability to internalize and promote the 7 Army Values. These values “consist of the principles, standards, and qualities considered essential for successful Army leaders”.
The second trait of an effective leader is presence. Presence can be described as “the projection of military and professional bearing, holistic fitness, confidence and resilience”. If a leader does not have a strong presence, subordinates and peers will most likely not follow his/her lead.
The third trait of an effective leader is intellect. Intellect is the ability to practice critical and innovative thought in order to effectively solve a problem. Intellect is critical to planning, preparing and executing a mission. Intellect is also the ability to make well informed sound judgment based on complete and accurate information. Another important but not critical part of intellect is
Bibliography: “ADRP 6-22 ARMY LEADERSHIP.” Headquarters Department of the Army: Washington, DC, 2012.