Veteran as leader: The lived experience with Army leader development

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Human Resource Development Quarterly




John Wiley


Each year at least $50 billion is spent globally on leadership development—more than any other training and development program. Managers are concerned about the leadership shortage faced by their organizations and have been aggressive in their attempts to address the issue. These same organization leaders argue that the leadership and teamwork skills possessed by U.S. military veterans are highly desirable. This article presents findings from a phenomenological study that examined how U.S. Army veterans experienced leader development during their term of service. A purposive sample of 10 lower enlisted Army veterans completed a pre–military leadership autobiography and a face-to-face interview. Four primary themes emerged: (a) consistent first Army experiences, (b) observed leadership, (c) performing is essential, and (d) we are all leaders despite not understanding the process. This article contributes to the field of human resource development by discussing the Army leader development program as experienced by veterans and offering nonmilitary organizations a progressive leadership development methodology based on Army training.


Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Organizational Behavior and Theory

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