Prototypical Senior Leaders: A New Paradigm for Army Leader Development

  • Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey D. Witt

Institutional education, standardized training, and self-development often supersede leader behavior patterns and social learning as the primary means for Army leader development resulting in missed subordinate leader developmental opportunities. Emerging leaders learn and enhance their skills by observing and emulating successful leaders, and developing leadership styles through experimentation in diverse social settings. A new paradigm for leader development focuses on self-aware and authentic senior leaders enabled by standardized programs of instruction. In realizing this new paradigm for leader development, senior leaders must deliberately and consciously acknowledge their own behavior patterns as the most significant factor in subordinate leader development. This paper applies research on leader prototypes and authentic leadership theory to place greater emphasis on the role that senior leaders in the operational domain fulfill in the context of the Army Leader Development Strategy.