Letters to the Editor

Does our leadership meet the Army’s standards?

An interesting article was published in The Los Angeles Times by Prudence L. Gourguechon, M.D. Gourguechon explores the salient question of our president’s fitness for leadership assessed clearly and comprehensively by The U.S. Army’s “Field Manual 6-22 Leader Development.” We need a rational, thorough and coherent definition of the mental capacities required to carry out the powers and duties of the presidency.

From the manual, a few of the desired qualities:

Trust: A leader who is deficient in the capacity for trust may be isolated and aloof, may be apathetic about discrimination, allows distrustful behaviors to persist among team members, makes unrealistic promises and focuses on self-promotion.

The disciplined leader does not have emotional outbursts or act impulsively. The leader who fails to demonstrate discipline reacts “viscerally or angrily when receiving bad news or conflicting information,” and he “allows personal emotions to drive decisions or guide responses to emotionally charged situations.”

A leader with the capacity for critical thinking “seeks to obtain the most thorough and accurate understanding possible,” he anticipates “first, second and third consequences of multiple courses of action.”

When a leader lacks self-awareness, he “unfairly blames subordinates when failures are experienced.”

Empathy. A good leader “demonstrates an understanding of another person’s point of view” and “identifies with others’ feelings and emotions”

Inadequacy in this area: “Shows a lack of concern for others’ emotional distress” and “displays an inability to take another’s perspective.”

It’s a good read, asking some well-reasoned questions. Make your own judgments as to whether our leadership meets the Army standards.

Michael R. Sweeney, Caseyville

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