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Democratic Style of Leadership in a Military Environment

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Democratic Style of Leadership in a Military Environment

Theron Charles



Fundamentals of Organizational Communication

Shayne Narjes

December 14, 2011


This paper will document the communication issues associated with dealing with people in a military environment. We will discuss the unique situation leaders are face with when they are accountable to more than one boss in different locations or maybe even different parts of the globe at the same time. Values, Knowledge, Skills and sensitivity will be discussed in relation to how this effect the way military leaders communicate and the challenges involved in trying to manage completion of the mission and the welfare of the soldiers.

Overview of the Organization

The organization covered in this paper is a Military Police Company. This company consist of three line platoons each consisting of 30 soldiers and a headquarters platoon. Each platoon is lead by a first or second lieutenant as the officer in charge and a sergeant first class as the senior enlisted member. The title for the officer is platoon leader (O1) and the title for the sergeant first class (E7) is platoon sergeant. Each platoon does most of the same duties a civilian police force would do only they do it on a military installation. This Military Police Company falls under the control of a Military Police Battalion. A lieutenant colonel is the commanding officer for this battalion. Battalions consist of four line companies and a headquarters company.

Identify and Describe the Situation

The battalion commander needs a new driver for his command vehicle. The 554th Military Police Company has been selected to provide the new driver for the battalion commander (BC). The BCs driver has to be between the rank of private first class (PFC) and specialist four (SP4). This person has to be motivated, able to work unsupervised, sharp looking in his uniform and not have any negative counseling statements.

The platoon leader and the platoon sergeants are at odds over which soldier to send. The platoon leader wants to send the best soldier in the platoon because he wants to impress the company commander with his choice. The platoon sergeant does not want to send his best soldier because he is grooming this soldier for promotion to sergeant in the near future. The BCs driver's position does come with some perks such as being able to choose your new assignment when your time is up. This position does not have standard hours and the driver must be comfortable with being in the presence of senior officers to include the commanding general.


The platoon leader wants to send the best soldier in the platoon to be the battalion commander's driver. The platoon leader being relatively new to the Army wants to stay in the good grace of the company commander and the battalion commander. The platoon leader feels he is doing the right thing by sending their best soldier. The platoon sergeant who has thirteen years of service and knows the system disagrees with the platoon leader's choice. The platoon sergeant wants to send another soldier who meets all the required qualifications.

The platoon leader uses a democratic style of leadership when it comes to making decisions that affect the soldiers who are assigned to his platoon (Shockley-Zalabak 2009). The platoon leader knows that the platoon sergeant has a vast amount of knowledge and values his option. The platoon sergeant knows that the final decision comes down to what the platoon leader says. The platoon sergeant also knows it his job to mentor the new platoon leader and help him or her to make the right choices in personnel assignments. The platoon sergeant is also more knowledgeable in the area of enlisted career path and assignments.

The decision on who to send to be the drivers affects the career of that soldier. The soldier will be taken out of the platoon and will not be able to continue with doing the things that a junior soldier needs to do so they can be promoted to sergeant. There are leadership responsibilities within the platoon that soldiers who are being considered for promotion are given. If a soldier is removed from the platoon then they will not be able to do these things and their chances for promotion are considerable less.

Both the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant want to do the right thing for their soldiers and support the orders that came down the chain of command. The platoon leader and platoon sergeant have to sit down and see what will be in the best interest of the soldier and supporting the overall organizational goal.


The communication problem lies with both the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant. They both want to assign different people and they need to sit down and discuss the merits of both soldiers and what will be best for the platoon and the soldier's career. The decision made will greatly affect one soldier's career more than it will another. One soldier is looking at being promototed and this may affect that possibility.

The reality of the situation is the platoon was selected to provide the driver and only two soldiers meet all the requirements to be the battalion commander's driver. This puts pressure on the two leaders of the platoon to make the right decisions on who they select. The platoon leader and platoon sergeant are both good communicators. They are able to encode information that leaves no question as to the meaning of the message. Both acknowledge that there is a problem that has to resolved and the problem lies with the two of them not agreeing on who should be chosen.


Both principals have very good decision and problem solving



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