Free Custom «Leadership, Management and Command in the Military» Essay Sample

Free Custom «Leadership, Management and Command in the Military» Essay Sample


Leadership, management and command are terms described in a plethora of literature in the civilian market. This is more in the business market where there are thousands of books on leadership, management, and other on leadership and management as a dual concept. In the business market, the term command lacks much literature review. On the other hand, the three concepts are widely used in the military with command being more influential in the daily life of the militias (Bennis 1997; Hubbard and Beamish 2010). Leadership and command have more significance in the military with many books being available on leadership, command and leadership and command as a dual concept in the military. There is a little that has been written about management in the military. This presents a limitation in the discussing the three term concept in relation to the military (Barak, Leighton and Flavin, 2010). There are different approaches that are used to enhance strategic leadership and management in the civilian market. This is more because of competitiveness in the international economy that makes the businesses strategic thinkers (Miller and Lessard 2001; Nanus 1992). On the other hand, leadership and command in the military has been fostered through different approaches.


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It is acknowledged that management, leadership and command are terms that are closely interrelated in the military environment. However, the three as a single concept has not been widely discussed in the literature. Research has showed that three terms are of significance in the military (Gerrig et al. 2012). They are crucial for improved military performance and development. This will be discussed in depth, in this research paper, by first understanding each of the concepts well.

The Existing Situation in Leadership, Management and Command

There are military doctrines that exist on leadership, management and command. Command, however, is the most prominent component of the three as seen in the British Defense Doctrine (BDD). The term is widely used in Juniors Officers Command and Staff engagement with the High Commanders in the military (Yarbrough 2008; Petty et al. 2009). 

Understanding Command

According to scholars, command is one of the poorly understood concepts as the subject has been controversial hence it has received different interpretations. In the military, command can mean everything from military computers to the art of the generalship. It depends on what the user of the concepts intends to mean (Liua and Leung 2002). In the military field, there are many definitions of the term command, however, in many documents, such as the Queen’s Regulation for the RAF, the term exists but lacks formal definition (Price and Feinman 2008). At different levels, the term is also used differently and becomes more complex with senior commanders having to impose their will in areas of political, legal and moral confusion. According to the UK Glossary of Terms and Definitions, there are around five definitions of the term command. The first definition puts it as the authority vested to direct, coordinate and control individuals of the military. This is also defined as an order given by a commander whereby they express their will for the purpose of having a certain action taken (Djellal and Galloui 2008). Another definition of the term is a unit or a group of militia under the command of a single commander. In order to understand the term in a simpler way, there are three dimensions that are considered separately as discussed below:

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In the military, command has a legal and constitutional status. In Britain, Her Majesty the Queen is the patron of the military forces. She becomes the commander of all the armed forces. In the different armed forces, we have different high ranked commanders who also have the power to command vested in them. Therefore, commanding begins at the highest level to those at the grassroots (Hubbard and Beamish 2010). This is a legal objective aimed at ensuring that listed missions are accomplished. The higher authorities give commands through the power vested in them to ensure that the missions they have at hand are accomplished.

In this case, the term authority is widely used in understanding the term command as it is in the military. Authority is traditionally defined as the right to command and to induce compliance. This is a term that is used to ensure that direction and control are exerted on individuals in organizations. The term authority is used to mean the power to command and the enforcement of obedience (Djellal and Galloui 2008). Since the high-ranked leaders are put there as a part of authority, they have to show responsibility for their commands. In war, the term command is widely used to ensure that the right actions are put in place.

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Individual Command

Exercising of command will involve making decisions by the commanders as a way of impressing their will and intentions. This will mean that the concept incorporates authority, responsibility and duty to act. It is through the decision making that missions are accomplished and accountability enhanced (Imhoff 1998). Time is also effectively utilized through individual command as only an individual becomes responsible for the actions taken by a group of others.

Organizational command

Organizational command is related to organizational design. In organizations, there must be structures in order to enhance coordination among the workers and to have different activities undertaken (Miller and Lessard 2001). It is through these structures such as the hierarchical ones that organizational command is enhanced. Organizational command works towards division of labour, allocation of authority, span of control, and departmentalisation. In the military, there are organizations through which command is vested to see that there is division of labour, low delegation of authority, narrow spans of control and departments with uniformity of work activities. It is the senior commanders in the organization who have the duty to ensure that there is division of labour, span of control, delegation of authority and departmentalisation. This is assumed to be a strategy in the military that is aimed at establishing healthy relationships in the military. The behaviour of the militia is also tamed through the organizational structures where command is effectively used. This is the main reason why discipline in the military is often compared to other organizations.

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In the modern society, we have seen people struggling so much that they can become managers since this will only mean watching what is been done rather than being the ones to do it. In definition, management is said to be the allocation and control of resources (capital and human) in order to achieve set goals and objectives of an organization. The measure of good management in an organization is an achievement of the right balance. For instance, when it comes to resources, effective management will ensure t their no over-abundance or shortage of resources (Liua and Leung 2002). This means maintaining an equilibrium position so that the organization can continue running. Management may be achieved at personal or group level; however, in organizations management becomes effective when employees are involved in activities of the organization. Some activities, such as decision making, motivate employees and make them appreciate the leadership in their organization. 

Emergence of large organizations in the twentieth century saw developments of management processes and procedures (Welch 2001; Turner 1999). Without effective management, it may be very difficult to run such large organizations, as the uncontrolled dynamic environment may result to chaos. Therefore, the concept of management in organizations brings a degree of order. The human resource management is the concept which is widely used in organizations. This assumes human or personnel as a crucial resource for the organization; thus it has to be well managed so that it gives maximum productivity (Betsch and Held 2012). This is what will make an organization to grow its profits and enhance sustainability. All organizations are usually aiming at achieving the stability and profitability which makes them have no option rather than working effectively on their human resource management.

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In the military, the term management is not often used compared to other terms such as command and leadership (Malakooti 2012). This is because the commanders are aiming at ensuring that missions are accomplished in all means possible without having to involve the militia.


The concept of leadership has been studied widely over the years making it easy and more effective in organizations. When it comes to definition, there is no formal explanation of the term that has been reached (Betsch and Held 2012). There are, however, common features that the concept has to incorporate in order to have a meaning.

Organizations have faced rapid changes in the past mostly because of the changing economic conditions. Leadership becomes one of the crucial tools to ensure that the changes do not affect the performance of an organization negatively. Becoming a leader is itself a process since one must have the right qualifications and experience. In the military, there are many changes that have been experienced in the last three decades probably because of the increased international security and domestic peace (Catalfamo 2007). The world we are living in is unpredictable when it comes to peace since we have seen countries attacking others unawares. Therefore, to be on the safe side, militaries with good leadership will overcome such changes in the international view. Leadership will only be perfect because of its quality rather than its quantity in terms of the number. Many organizations that have failed in one way or the other had troubles with their leadership. It is through leadership that policies, procedures and other important issues in organizations are addressed. The subjects normally have expectations from their leaders. According to Warren Bennis (1997), there are four things that subjects expect from their leaders including strong determination to achieve a goal, trust, a sense of optimism and results.

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Effective leadership can be felt or seen in organizations. This is seen in cases where leaders empower the employees in four significant ways. One of the ways is by making them feel significant through what they do to the organization and seeing it makes a positive contribution to the success of the organization. Another way that employees can be empowered by leadership is learning and competence which has to be catalyzed by the leaders as the mentors in the organization (Barak, Leighton and Flavin 2010). Thirdly, employees are empowered when they are taken as a part of the community. Lastly, employees are empowered through leadership when the work is exciting. Exciting work is one where employees are challenged by their employers and stimulated to work besides having fun in the job.

For leaders to be strategic and future-oriented, they have to set goals and visions. This gives them a direction as they will work to achieve the set goals of the organization via a vision (Petty et al. 2009; Richards 1997). An organization without a vision and goals is like a car without a driver.

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Leadership in the military is very crucial. Militaries that will survive in the 21st century must have effective leadership in place rather than effective management. Leaders and not managers are required in the military. Managers are at times forced to surrender to the bureaucracy, but this is not the case with leaders as they have to die hard in order to achieve set goals via a vision. In order to unlock the immense potentials in the military, effective leadership is required. At command levels, there must be a vision of the future that is attractive, achievable and shared by all in that command (Bennis 19970). The vision in the military has to be incorporated at three levels. The first one is strategic which means the military’s overriding philosophy. The second level is operational which means the philosophy that is in action. The last level is tactical which is the philosophy manifested in the behaviour of the subjects.

When it comes to differentiating bad and good command units in the military we have to consider the kind of leadership in each one of them. Good command units will have effective leadership guided by a clear vision. A unit without a vision is already bad since there is no specified direction to be followed.

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The Relationship between Leadership, Management and Command

As it has been already stated, leadership, management and command are three terms that are closely related to one another. They are interconnected since they all involve human matter to be characterized. When we talk of leadership, we will think of human being, which is also the same case when we talk of management and command. The three terms are also widely used in the military environment (Ladyshewsky 2010). They have much significance in the military environment as without any of them like leadership the military environment may be very chaotic. 

Leadership is more important and the most dominant concept of the trinity. This is because of its wide use in the macro-environment that is said to be competitive and volatile. This is the trend in the 21st century whereby the political, economic, socio-cultural and technological dimensions in the environment are relying heavily on good leadership. However, we have many organizations that are still operating on the old-fashioned form of bureaucracy with the mind-set of control, ordering and predicting being highly upheld. These are things of command and management as managers and commanders work towards full controlling and ordering as they wish (Betsch and Held 2012). This often results to unstable environments compared to a case where leadership is used to move people towards getting solutions to problems and barriers inhibiting achieving their vision. Leadership will also have a positive attribute to the subjects as they are constantly encouraged openly which enhances their intellectual growth. Leadership, therefore, works in favour of the organization, the employer and employees which are contrary when it comes to command and management which will not favour the employees. 

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