Third Prize Winner, Vincent Astor Memorial Leadership Essay Contest
Junior officers balance seemingly contradictory realities. They are in command of their troops, yet have little control over their own lives and those of whom they, lead. They are the officers in charge; however, they are students to the chiefs, who saiute smartly and then tell them the correct place to stand.
Management of the most complex systems cannot compare to the challenges of leadership. As a junior officer, you are the representative of higher command, and possibly the only visible sign to your troops of that command. Everything they dislike about the command will end up on your desk. You also are the ambassador of your troops up the chain of command. Any problems the command has with your unit's performance will be placed on your shoulders. The ability to inspire confidence, motivate action, and instill a moral guide flows throughout the chain of command. Your ability to work under a myriad of situations with all personality types, from those you lead to those you follow, is crucial to the success of your mission.