JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Fit for Command: Leadership Attributes for PSO–COIN Operations

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  • April 2015
    Volume: 
    9
    Issue: 
    2
    Focus

    Peace support operations (PSO)–counter-insurgency (COIN) operations are different and often significantly more complex than conventional operations. Such a complexity places greater demand on military leaders both at the tactical and operational levels. The diversity of tasks and threats, primacy of politics and the decentralized nature of PSO–COIN operations have serious implications for both junior and senior leaders. Although the fundamental leadership attributes for both conventional and PSO–COIN operations are timeless and common, in order to be successful in a PSO–COIN environment, military leaders should be more adept in certain attributes. This article, based on several case studies and a survey of military officers, shows that military leaders who possess and develop seven leadership attributes—adaptability, judgement, sociability, resoluteness, empathy, independence and knowledge/experience—are more likely to be successful at the tactical and operational levels in PSO– COIN.

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