Military Group Leadership Activities

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The military wants leaders who inspire their troops and lead by example. Military group leadership activities require would-be leaders to work as a team to ensure their group's success and, when necessary, to take a leadership role. People seeking more responsibility in the military may improve their leadership in the field with group combat and orientation exercises or in the classroom where they may learn ethics and modern leadership theory. In any setting, the most important thing a participant in a military group exercise can learn is to place the success of both the group and mission ahead of his own.

1 Teamwork And The Basic Lesson

Leadership and teamwork are important at every level of the military, and those values are consistently emphasized in military group training. Physically demanding group exercises may be designed to teach one important lesson. A Marine Corps Sergeant assisting a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps drill said his goal was to teach the cadets "that an individual won't make it alone.... but as a team they can make it together."

2 Orientation and Combat Exercises

A common military group leadership exercise involves putting cadets or service members in the woods where they have to read maps, analyze the environment around them and come up with plans of attack against rival groups. In some cases, a group might plan for an attack on urban terrain. The Army's Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) has a program called the Leader's Training Course for students who want to become Commissioned Officers. The program is divided into four week-long phases. By the third week "Cadets learn squad-level operations by taking part in demanding field exercises. During these exercises each Cadet, in turn, is called upon to lead their squad in every part of a mission, from receiving orders and analyzing the terrain to making a plan and attaining the objective. All the while, Cadets receive detailed feedback on their leadership abilities."

3 Classroom Settings

Those who would lead military groups may also learn in a classroom setting. Leaders should be able to communicate effectively and manage group situations. An ROTC website describes a course as offering cadets an opportunity to "Learn/apply ethics-based leadership skills that develop individual abilities and contribute to the building of effective teams of people. Develop skills in oral presentations, writing concisely, planning events, coordination of group efforts."

4 Group Exercises in The Civilian World

In the military, completing the group mission is the highest priority. Leaders encourage a selfless, "group-first" attitude among their subordinates. This kind of leadership leaves little room for error when the mission objective or well being of teammates is on the line. A leader who inspires "flawless execution" on the part of those working under her may also find success in the business world. Some veterans make a career teaching these types of teamwork and leadership exercises. For example, Afterburner, an organization of former fighter pilots teaches clients to make plans as a group, the way fighter-pilots plan missions. Afterburner also teaches their clients to "debrief" after their "mission" in order determine what went well and what should be improved.

Ray Ray Montoya is the son of two English majors and has himself followed suit. He received his bachelor's degree from Northern Michigan University in 2006 and two years later received his M.A. from the same institution. He currently teaches at a community college in Michigan and writes for various websites.