Organizational Leadership versus Tactical Leadership

This paper on Leadership will compare the primary differences and characteristics between the tactical leader and the organizational leader. I will provide you with the basics for development, characteristics, and the fundamentals that help guide and influence each leader’s style and how they influence Soldiers to follow them. Leaders at all levels demonstrate their values, knowledge, skills, and abilities in many different means and methods in order to get the mission done. Leaders must set the example, continually teach, and mentor their subordinates by displaying a strong moral character in order to meet the challenges that ensure a safe and secure nation. The Oath that any potential leader takes is to have “strong intellect, physical presence, professional competence, high moral character, and serve as a role model.” (Field Manuel, 6-22, Army Leadership, 2006, p.viii).

Balance in our Leadership
Without leadership, we have no balance! As a leader, any decision you make affects the lives and missions of your unit and Soldiers. In order to do this, you must have balance; and by this, you as a leader must be willing and able to take that step back and see how your decision may affect the big picture and not focusing on the less important tasks that seem urgent but are not. As an organizational leader or tactical leader, you have the ultimate goal of providing your subordinates with the power to help them become winners by ensuring that your goals are met by supporting and coaching them while succeeding with them in accomplishing their own goals by supporting yours. According to Field Manuel 6-22, Army Leadership, “an ideal Army leader has strong intellect, physical presence, professional competence, high moral character and serves as a role model. An Army Leader is able and willing to act decisively, within the intent and purpose of his superior leaders, and in the best interest of the organization. Army leaders recognize that organizations built on mutual trust and confidence, successfully accomplish peacetime and wartime missions.” (2006, P. Viii). Balance molds a leader and in turn, an effective leader is a proactive person who works a whole lot smarter. President George Bush (1997) states, “Leadership to me means duty, honor, and country; It means character and it means listening from time to time.” (Adrain, p. 35). Path to an effective Leader

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Leadership goals should always contain methods of a continuous process of learning through education, training, and individual experiences that help ensure that the message will be communicated in a confident and competent manner when leading troops. Soldiers tend to follow leaders that demonstrate and live the Army values, while displaying their confidence in every decision that affects change. Leaders are not born as organizational or tactical leaders; but grown by their genetic determinism, which is inside and the characteristics they work toward; that mold is which type leader they will become. Not just anyone can lead; you must have the desire to lead, be willing to make the commitment to being a leader, and prepare yourself properly, then you have the desire to become a leader.

(Fulton, 1995). Both organizational and tactical leadership styles have proven to be successful methods for success, but the values and core competencies bring out the differences in each type of leadership style. Leaders must be confident in themselves before they can effectively lead Soldiers and manage units. With any leadership style, the focus is mission success, which in turn, helps us remain a relevant, ready, trained, and cohesive force. Leadership means many things, while researching what the true meaning of what leadership means to me, I came across a quote from: Orit Gadiesh (1997) who points out that in order: To achieve excellence, you must stick to your own True North – your own core principles and values. If you do, it will guide you as you make decisions on the margin. It will give you the courage to always find the truth, look it square in the eye and stick to it even when it is hard. If you use and project the power that comes with convictions, then no matter what you face, you will be unique and remarkable. (Adrain, p. 36.) Tactical Leadership

Tactical Leader’s are war-fighting leaders who lead by how we will get to the end state, no matter the consequences. Tactical leaders tend to make decisions based off the here and now and how it relates to future events of the world. Their motivation is chaotic, unorganized in their demands, structure and communication, but still, the end result seems to be a fully prepared and trained readiness of the unit at all levels, no matter the sacrifices they put on Soldiers, or family members. The tactical leader leads by example; their thoughts, their goals and their product; sometimes forgetting others assessment of the situation, which in the end puts the balance between individual, team, mission and loyalty. Tactical leaders take more risks and sacrifice a more cohesive team to get to the bottom- line. Tactical leaders are more “reactive” type people because they tend to be affected by the situation, and it affects their mood and performance if the situation is not going their way. Leaders today must have a strong vision and positive beliefs that support that vision. If they do not, their people will not only lose them, they too will be lost. When the difficulties of decisions arise, they will not be equal to the challenges. (Blancard, 1997). Organizational Leadership

Organizational leaders influence teamwork, a full cohesion of people working together in harmony through direction and intent, with communication being a two way street in all the decisions that made in the unit. Through encouragement, recognition, and interpersonal skills, organizational leaders tend to have a mission statement that entails a clear intent, and are open to feedback on their leadership methods. Organizational leaders observe, assess, and influence decisions based off patterns and successes of others, and, or organizations through systems and practices that have proven effective in the past with highly achievable goals in mind. By influencing people indirectly by developing programs, standards, and plans, the organizational leader reaches a full spectrum of Soldiers by teaching from their own leadership experiences. The modern organizational leader must carefully extend his or her influence beyond the traditional chain of command by balancing their role of warrior with that of a diplomat in uniform. (Field Manuel, 6-22, Army Leadership, 2006, p.11-1). Leaders in this class generally understand their own strengths, weaknesses, mission, and the end state. They have a clear vision and intent while constantly utilizing open communication skills. On a negative side, using the indirect leadership style may affect decision-making, developmental processes, leading and long-term responsibilities, especially in combat. Organizational leaders are more “proactive” type people. Their values drive each situation and as the situation changes, the assessment of the organizational is continually being assessed and modified to meet the end state.

In conclusion, having balance in our leaders provides us with the necessary framework to ensuring that good leaders are committed to helping their subordinates win, and the ability to accept responsibility for failure.


Adrain, A. L (1997). The Most Important Thing I Know. New York, NY: MJF Books. Blanchard, K (1999). The Heart of a Leader. Escondido, CA: The Ken Blanchard Companies. Fulton, R (1995). Common Sense Leadership. United States of America: Barnes & Noble Books

Department of the Army. (2006) Field Manual 6-22, Army leadership. Washingtron, DC.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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Organizational Leadership versus Tactical Leadership. (2016, Dec 24). Retrieved from