Leading Diversity in a High Performance, High Reliability Organization: The US Army as a Case Study
The link between effective leadership and full utilization of the workforce is well documented. The US Army, while not free from ongoing problems with discrimination, bias, and prejudice, stands alone as one of the most highly integrated and simultaneously highly performing American institutions. To look at the US Army is to see the face of America’s diversity at all levels. The US Army is a microcosm of highly diverse people functioning with a very high level of cohesion and teamwork. The progress the US Army has made since the 1970’s in moving women and minorities into positions of leadership and power still outperforms the private sector. Anecdotal and statistical evidence suggest the US Army’s approach to leading diversity may be adaptable to society as a whole. This workshop will focus on the organizational value structures and the specific leadership competencies that support the US Army’s progress in leading a highly diverse workforce. Close attention will be paid to the applicability of successful US Army concepts to the private sector, as well as the transferability of leadership concepts. America’s corporations are not unaware of the military’s accomplishments in leadership training, and the Army in particular, has a long history of leading the way in social change and integration.
Keywords: US Army, Leadership, Leadership Competencies, Diversity, High Performance, High Reliability Organization, Teamwork
Dr. Renee Yuengling
Senior Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Human Capital Solutions, ICF