A Military View through Trait Approach Leadership
Analyzing leadership definitions and traits in the military and learning about military world leaders along with reading about Trait Approach to leadership, I have found that the Big Five Personality Factors as represented by Mr. Northouse in Leadership: Theory and Practice (2016, p. 27) to hold a lot value as defined traits. Of course, we will review and learn about many different approaches and theories to leadership during this semester, but Trait Approach is particularly interesting when the base assessment of the defined traits can be applied to military leadership.
Listening to and viewing different documentaries on Winston Churchill, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Adolf Hitler, General George Patton, and working with many U.S. Army leaders, I can find that the Big Five Personality Factors hold true in their definitions. As the Big Five Personality factors are itemized by characteristics and behaviors like decisive, trusting, accepting, creative, informative, assertive, vulnerable, and hostile (Northouse, 2016), Army leadership is characterized by attributes and competencies like character, presence, intellect, leads, develops, and achieves to motivate followers (U.S. Department of the Army, 2012). These approaches to leadership have very like core ideals that describe leaders that possess the ability to influence followers to achieving a common goal.
With Army attributes, words like discipline confidence, military and professional bearing can be seen in leaders like Fidel Castro and General Patton, but they can also show the trait approach factors from the big five personality factors of extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness with the hidden neuroticism when leading a group of people (Northouse, 2016). ADP 6-22 also defines the attributes as characteristics internal to a leader which is very comparable to Mr. Northouse’s text of basic factors that make up what we call personality (2016) and both documents see this as having traits associated with being an effective leader (Northouse, 2016).
Neither of these approaches is positive or negative in nature, just fact bearing in relation to analyzing personality traits or characteristics that make a good or successful leader. I also find it very interesting that both require the intelligence and education to help be decisive in decision-making or developing the environment (U.S. Department of the Army, 2012) to assist followers on the correct course. The documentaries on Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro, Winston Churchill, and many other military leaders along with my current leadership are very educated individuals and continue to read various publications to increase knowledge for critical thinking. My leaders today have the opportunity to increase their education base by attending civil education all the way to achieving a Doctorate that parallels with military education.
The competencies accentuate attributes to further intertwine with the Big Five Personality Factor as they involve leading others, build trust, and lead by example and communication (U.S. Department of the Army, 2012). Learning to apply the trait approach theory with heavy guidance from the Big Five Personality Factors could help the military gather valuable information about leadership and can be applied at all levels (Northouse, 2016, p. 32). Learning about both military and civilian approaches to defining leadership presents with approaches and theories that parallel each other especially when reading and viewing documentaries of military leadership throughout the ages.
Headquarters, Department of the Army. (August 2012). ADP 6-22: Army Leadership. Washington, D. C. Army Doctrine Reference Publications. Retrieved on 16 September 2018 from http://data.cape.army.mil/web/repository/doctrine/adp6-22.pdf
Northouse, Peter G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.