Team Leadership for Mission Command

  • Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey A. Norman

Mission command represents a significant cultural shift in the leadership philosophy of the U.S. Army, yet recent studies indicate Army leaders and organizations struggle to implement its fundamental principles. Effective mission command relies heavily on teams and team building, but many Army leaders and organizations demonstrate weak team development and team leadership. This paper explores the Army’s shift to mission command as a leadership philosophy; reviews recent leadership survey results to reveal areas of improvement in the exercise of mission command within the force; and considers contemporary civilian organizational behavior models, such as senior team leadership. The paper concludes by providing recommendations on ways to infuse senior team leadership methods by addressing doctrinal and training shortfalls in team building, reduce leader and team member turnover, and improve leadership feedback to harness the talents of leaders at all levels and more fully exercise mission command.