Positive leadership in the military: An exploratory study

by Butler, James P., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2011, 177 pages; 3478081


This qualitative study explores the topic of positive leadership in the military. 23 senior enlisted military personnel from the Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, RI who experienced working for military leaders, who used positive leadership practices sometime in their past, were interviewed in order to reveal how the use of positive leadership by military leaders affects senior enlisted personnel in the military. Each participant was asked multiple open-ended questions relating to the effects of positive leadership. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed using qualitative research analysis software (MAXQDA 2010). Analysis of the data collected for this study indicated that the use of positive leadership by military leaders affected senior enlisted military personnel in several areas. These areas can be grouped in to two general categories—short-term and long-term reactions. Short-term worker reactions included increased self-esteem, increased morale, reduced absenteeism, increased performance recognition, increased mission accomplishment, a more cohesive work environment, increased trust between followers and leaders, and a feeling of empowerment. The long-term reaction of senior enlisted military personnel to the use of positive leadership by military leaders included the leaders training their subordinates to use positive leadership and the efforts of followers trying to emulate positive leaders. Findings in this study indicate that the use of positive leadership by military leaders enhances job satisfaction of military followers. This is especially important in today's U.S. military which is an all volunteer force. Recommendations from this study included adding positive leadership to military leadership doctrine and to the curriculum taught at military academic institutions.

AdviserJoseph Avella
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Public administration; Military studies
Publication Number3478081

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