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Fives Bases of Power in Communication- A Case of US Army - Essay Example

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Communication plays an important role in almost every aspect of military. There is no room for lapse in communication as it can bring about drastic outcomes in the seriousness of the situations armies of the world operate in…
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Fives Bases of Power in Communication- A Case of US Army
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Fives Bases of Power in Communication- A Case of US Army Isiah Caradine U.S. Army- Five Bases of Power in Communication Communication plays an important role in almost every aspect of military. There is no room for lapse in communication as it can bring about drastic outcomes in the seriousness of the situations armies of the world operate in. the lives of several people, Army men, and civilians alike, are in the hands of the army leaders who have to ensure that they safeguard the lives of the people and carry forward missions. Utmost clarity of instructions and strategies is essential so that every soldier is clear on the expected target and his role in achieving it. Unity in purpose minimizes the chances of any mishaps and superseding of orders. Leadership skills are one of the most important assessment categories in army recruitment. If a soldier can assume the role of a leader when the situation requires him to do so, is an important factor that contributes toward the professional growth of a soldier and his potential rank. The US Army leadership philosophy’s main attributes are the famous ‘Be, Know, and Do’, (Hesselbein & Cavanaugh, 2004), i.e., it depends upon who they are, what they know (expertise and intellect) and what they do (action). Army leaders are required to have character, values, and ethics along with impeccable communication skills. The leadership style can differ for different ranks, according to the chain of command and level of authority. Some positions require the leader to be authoritative whereas some require him to be slightly empathetic toward his subordinates to motivate and bring them together as a team, working toward the accomplishment of one mission. Efficient Armies of the world require their leader to be good at influencing and directing the soldiers with a main goal of successful missions and building organizational strength. Direct leadership level refers to first-line leadership in the battlefield or during missions. Organizational leadership level consists of leaders who have direct leaders as their subordinates. This also makes the common soldiers a part of their chain of command so they are said to have a higher number of subordinates under them. Last, Strategic Leadership level consists of the highest ranks of the Army and have the most number of soldiers under them. They formulate, approve and implement strategies that are employed by the rest of the Army Leadership and communication go hand-in-hand. This communication, in terms of military can be between a large or small number of subordinates. To provide clarity regarding the bases of power in communication in the US Army, the five bases of power proposed by French and Raven in their book ‘The Bases of Social Power’ are considered. According to these social psychologists, the five bases of power are Coercive, Reward, and Legitimate, Referent, and Expert bases (French & Raven, 1959). As the word ‘coercive’ suggests, this base is authoritative and compliance is indisputable and necessary for all. The strategic level of army leadership falls under this category as they are those forming strategies that are implemented without disputes. The figures under this power head have an authoritative persona so strict compliance is ensured. The soldiers are bound to fear denying the orders dispatched, which has a positive effect on efficiency and performance. Reward base gives the leader the authority to do away with distractions that may be hampering the performance of the subordinates. The direct leadership level of the army hierarchy lies under this base. This is because they have a smaller number of subordinates with whom they can communicate more effectively and have the authority to put the soldiers at ease and also motivate them by simple acknowledgements and appreciation. Army awards and medals for valor and performance are a regular feature in the US army. Legitimate power results in influence and respect in terms of seniority, rank, and organizational status. It may not necessarily be an indication of leadership skills of a person. In the US army the brigadiers, lieutenants, and generals fall under this power status. The above three bases of power are of formal nature. The other two, namely, Referent, and Expert bases are more toward the individual and personal side. Both are a signifier of power that is a result of one’s knowledge, experience, and expertise. Such people are usually at high military ranks and soldiers look up to such inspiring individuals for mentorship and aspire to become like them one day. In conclusion, the level of power and the kind of influence describes the communication pattern of army leaders. In the end what is imperative is that the whole organization, the US Army in this case, works collectively toward the betterment and success of the organization with each member demonstrating the discipline, ethos, and values synonymous with that of his organization. References: French, John., Raven, B. (2001). The bases of social power. Modern classics of leadership, 2, 309-326. Hesselbein, F., Shinseki, E. K., & Cavanaugh, R. E. (2004). Be, know, do: Leadership the Army way. Jossey-Bass. Read More
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