The Core Competencies of Effective Leadership

According to the Army Leadership Requirements Model, from here on out referred to as ALRM, there are ten individual competencies the effective leader should possess. The ALRM groups these ten individual competencies into the three categories and labels them core competencies. The core categories of leadership are to lead, develop, and to achieve. The strength and effectiveness of the Army as a whole is determined by the competency of its leadership at all levels.

The Army definition of competency, found in FM 7-22.7 paragraph 2.8, is “the demonstrated ability to successfully perform duty with discipline and to standard.” Discipline is required of all soldiers but the leader is determined by the persons ability to remain disciplined in all situations so at all times they show others the standard. The fate of the organization rest on the shoulders of the leaders and their ability to portray all ten on the following competencies.

The first five competencies are contained in the category of “lead”. These individual competencies are: leads others, extends influence beyond the chain of command, builds trust, leads by example, and communicates. In order to lead, gaining confidence is essential. If confidence in your ability to lead is not established then your directions will be questioned, and often criticized instead of followed. Extending the leaders influence beyond the direct chain of command requires the leader to be knowledgeable and understand how to influence those around them regardless of their background and or military affiliation in general.

Trust also falls back on gaining confidence, if they are not confident in your leadership then trust is out of the question. Leading by example is not simply following the standard but trying in all ways to exceed it. This shows your dedication and will establish in the mind of those you lead, the idea of what is expected and that you also practice what you preach. Communication between leaders enhances understanding and consistency unit wide.

The next four competencies are contained in the category of “develops”. These four individual competencies are: creates a positive environment/fosters esprit de corps, prepares self, develops others and stewards the profession. The overall cohesion within a group is often a direct reflection of their leader. Creating a positive environment is usually done by employing the competencies from the first category. The action or inaction combined with the attitude of the leader either instills pride or can also tear it apart.

Preparing yourself as a leader is a matter of ensuring you are knowledgeable in your duties, squared away and focus strive to improve your skills, mental toughness, total fitness and keep yourself squared away. The ability to develop others is the leaders focus on passing knowledge to those under in their direct supervision. The readiness and effectiveness of those they lead help shape them into who they should be once their time to lead comes. Being a steward of the profession can be simplified to just taking care of the equipment, supplies and facilities. Safeguarding the overall unnecessary waste of resources. Being a good steward of the profession also relates to the direct supervision and passing on of information to potential future leaders.

The last competency also describes the category itself, “achieve.” Which is defined by Oxford Dictionary as, “Successfully bring about or reach (a desired objective or result) by effort, skill, or courage.” To do this, the leader may have to make direct adjustments when needed and do so with the manpower available. When those who look up to the leader there is no option of just saying I don’t know. The leader is a servant leader and there to make sure those he supervises have all necessary means for success, setting them up for failure is not an option.

In conclusion, the ten competencies and their direct application is crucial for the development and success of the leader. In the Army Commanders lead by describing and directing, the Noncommissioned Officer leads by executing those directions. Noncommissioned Officers, in all specialties and at all levels, have a direct role in assisting commanders drive the operations process. In order to do this successfully, they have to apply the core categories; lead, develop, and achieve. The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer clearly states, “Competency is my watch-word.” These three categories, and the ten competencies they contain, when used by the Noncommissioned Officer form the framework that is known as the “backbone of the Army” and also help achieve a unity at all levels for the overall success of the U.S. Army.