Military Review English Edition September-October 2014 - Page 61

TRANSFORMATIONAL STORIES Articulating a Professional Military Ethic Before we look at how to go about retooling the weekend safety brief, it is vital to show that a change will not be adverse to good order and discipline in the short term. To accomplish this reassurance, it is first necessary to determine that there is a genuine imperative to instill in our soldiers a PME and that the Army values are an acceptable tool for the job. Second, it is relevant to demonstrate that shifting to an Army values focus will build stronger soldiers who are more able to handle the stresses of combat and day-to-day life. Finally, we will show that shifting soldiers from compliance to Army values-commitment is a realistic framework for modifying the originally targeted unsafe behavior. In the end, leaders must still effect improved off-duty judgment within their formations. Consider for a moment an expansion on the definition of leadership from ADRP 6-22, Army Leadership. Under the heading of “Improve the Organization,” the publication expounds, “Improving is an act of stewardship, striving to create effective, efficient organizations.”3 Leaders have a responsibility as stewards of the military service to impart upon their soldiers the established values of our service. This challenge is not merely a matter of moving soldiers from compliance to commitment, but of ensuring that they understand the values to which they are committed.4 Researchers have demonstrated that leaders cannot fully accomplish an improvement of the ethics of subordinates by simply demonstrating ethical leadership. These principles must additionally b e actively promoted through an ongoing dialogue in public and private settings.5 Likewise, in developing “soldiers with military competence and moral character,” leaders need to have at their disposal a standard set of principles-in-virtue from which to draw their lessons.6 The literature on the PME provides a broad set of creedal and philosophical starting points.7 Although legitimate recommendations for expansion of the Army values exist, the list represented by the acronym LDRSHIP (loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage) has significant value as a starting point for expressing a PME to our soldiers.8 The seven values taught to every soldier at basic training capture “important elements of the Army ethic” and provide talking points for leaders initially engaging soldiers’ moral stance.9 MILITARY REVIEW  September-October 2014 Engaging soldiers on ethics goes much further than a simple indoctrination into the profession or behavior modification on and off duty. Changes to Warrior Resiliency Training developed to aid soldiers in post-traumatic growth indicate “Army values, warrior ethos, and leadership are critical foundations of Army resiliency training that can be skillfully integrated into a model promoting internal combat stress control.”10 This kind of development indicates that the greater the foundation a soldier has in moral understanding, the more likely they are to be able to handle combat stress. Likewise, an individual with a stronger moral compass is less likely to engage in behaviors that result in psychologically damaging guilt and regret. Overall, this is an area that deserves more research but leaders cannot dismiss the demonstrated benefits that the Army values have had as an ingredient in our warrior resiliency training. Of course, no leader should accept a recommendation to change the weekend safety brief to a new form if the originally targeted behavior is not being addressed and corrected. Weekend safety briefs, after all, are implemented to remind soldiers not to “embarrass the regiment,” as the expression goes. These concerns are not unreasonable, but a deeper examination of theories of leadership influence might demonstrate that the goal to develop soldiers who understand the PME and the goal to keep them off Monday morning’s blotter report are not mutually exclusive. In Dr. Gene Klann’s essay, “The Application of Power and Influence in Organizational Leadership,” a central theme is the leader’s responsibility to shift subordinates from a point of mere compliance to a point of core commitment.11 These ideas are usually displayed in diagrams with compliance on the left and commitment on the right so we might say for our discussion that we are “shifting soldiers to the right on the values spectrum.”12 The implication of successfully shifting soldiers to the right is that the foundation of their behavior will move away from requiring “hard power” motivation. Instead, soldiers committed to their own standing in a profession will be motivated by an “affiliation” with the Army and the organization. Under a framework in which soldiers become more interested in their own role as members of the profession, the logical consequence is that the originally targeted immature and negative behavior will become less 59