Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Critically reflect on core values, leader attributes, skills know-how, and actions leaders must do in the context of their volunteer or professional work. Access the Reflectio - Writingforyou

Critically reflect on core values, leader attributes, skills know-how, and actions leaders must do in the context of their volunteer or professional work. Access the Reflectio


  1. Critically reflect on core values, leader attributes, skills know-how, and actions leaders must do in the context of their volunteer or professional work.
  2. Access the Reflection page and record your reflections.
    1. Write clear, compelling responses.
    2. Revise, edit, and proofread your document before submitting.
  3. Submit your Be-Know-Do Critical Reflection

The "Be, Know, Do" Model of Leader Development Donald J. Campbell, Gregory J. Dardis, United States Military Academy

T he U.S. Army provides lead-

ership doctrine for all its

members in the form of a

unified leadership theory

familiar to virtually all their officers

and non-commissioned officers. The

foundation of this general leadership

theory is the Army's "Be, Know, Do"

(BKD) model of leader development

(LD). While the BKD model has

many elements in common with more

well-known academic approaches to

leadership and LD. the BKD model

has some distinctive emphases that set

it apart from these more conventional

treatments. This article examines the

BKD model, evaluating its strengths

and limitations, and then suggests

how organizations interested in

leadership development might adapt

the model to their own particular



In choosing the most appropriate procedures for developing leaders, an organization must t1rst determine what leadership precisely entails. Eor the U.S. Army, leadership is "intluencing peo- ple—by providing purpose direction and motiva- tion—while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization" {EM 22-100, 1999: 1-4). Tbe broadness of this defmition is noteworthy. It does not initially identify the pri- mary sources of influence or distinguish between potentially different influence sources, and one could easily substitute "'management'" for "leader- sbip" and still have a meaningful statement.

While such broadness downplays potential differences between leaders and managers in terms of motivation (Zaienick. 1977), operating perspectives (Bennis & Nanus. !98.'>) and empha- sized processes (Kotter, 1987). there may be little practical value in separating leaders and man- agers when it comes to development (e.g.. Bass. 1990; YukI, 1994). For tbe Army, the implications of a broad approach to leader development are enormous. Leader development H^^^B becomes synonymous with "whole person" development. Because indi- viduals influence others by their character, by their competence, and by tbeir actions (FM 22-100, 1999: viii), effective leader development must focus on the type of person an individual is ("Be"), the kinds of competencies he has ("Know"), and the kind.s of decisions he makes ("Do"). Put slightly differently. "becoming a leader involves developing all aspects of yourself (EM 22-100, 1999: 1-6).

Ft)r HRM practitioners, the BKD model warrants a great deal of attention, given its endorsement and large-scale use by a major, highly diverse organiza- tion whose mission requires tbe ongoing creation of new leaders. Shaped and modified by actual experience in developing officers and non-com- missioned officers in tbe different branches of the U.S. Army, various drafts and versions of the BKD iiKxlel have influenced Army leadership doctrine for over 50 years. Thus, the Army's lotig-lerm. continuing reliance on the model offers strong evi- dence of its robustness. Additionally, because it is the basis for actual leadership training at various organizational levels, the mode! necessarily elabo- rates on LD in specific detail and provides focused points for individuals to consider when executing LD lor themselves, their people, and tbeir organi- zation (FM 22-l(X): ix). With some exceptions

People are sensi-

tive to the values

and attributes

explicitly and

implicitly dis-

played by leaders.

(e.g.. McCauley. et al., 1998; McCall. et al.. 1988). tbis level of pragmatic, "how-to'" detail is rare in LD models.

The "Be, Know, Do" Model Tbe values, attributes, skills, and actions that

fomi the BKD model are necessarily interrelated, and tbe integration of these elements working together produces effective leadership. In this respect, each side of the BKD triangle can prop- erly be understood only in temis of the other two sides. Nonetheless, in the following sections, we discuss each component of the model separately for the sake of clarity.

Be Because the Army sees itself as a values-based

organization (FM 22-100: viii), the BKD model places significant emphasis on "character-based" leadership. This orientation assutiies tbat people are sensitive to the values and attributes explicitly

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ _ and implicitly displayed by leaders, and that they are at least partially influenced by the example leaders set. Thus, tbe specific values and attributes reflected in these potential examples are crucial elements of effective leadership, and require careful cultivation in the leader development process. At a minimum, the values and attributes cultivated must reflect the organization's mis- sion and vision.

The BKD model stresses tbis aspect of leader development under the label of "character," defined as tbe inner strength tbat gives a person "tbe courage to do wbat is right regardless of the circumstances or the consequences"' (EM 22-l(X): 1 -6). As noted, character consists of values and attributes. Values are ctucial to leader develop- tTient because values "tell" the leader what he needs to be. presumably guiding everyday actions. Additionally, institutionally-sbared values can form the very identity of the organization, binding together all members of the entetprise. As a result, the organization is much greater than the simple sum of its parts (FM 22-100: 2-2). The Army as an organization uses seven core values to discern right from wrong in any situation: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and per- sonal courage (see Exhibit I). All its members are expected to endorse these values.


Seven Core Values of the U.S. Army






To bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Cotistitution. the Army, one's unit, and other soldiers

To fulfill one's obligations

To treat people as they should be treated

Selfless Service To put the welfare of the nation, the ArtTiy, and subordinates before one's own

To live up to all the Army values

To do what's right—legally and morally

Personal Courage To face fear, danger, or adversity (physical or moral)

Source: FM 22-100: 2-3-2-9

In addition to core values, the "Be" component of the model focuses on several groups of attrib- utes crucial for leadership, atid therefore for leader development. In the BKD model, attributes are defined as fundatnental qualities and character- istics of a person. Wbile the model acknowledges tbat sotne personal attributes are utichatigeable, it assumes tbat many others can be learned or cbanged. Tbe tnodel groups thtise attributes rele- vant to leadership into three categories: mental, physical, and emotional.

Mental. The model argue.s that leader develop- ment should focus on at least seven mental attrib- utes: will, self-discipline, initiative, judgment. self-cont'idence. intelligence, and cultural aware- ness. Will is the inner drive tbat compels individ- uals to keep going when they are exhausted and when it would be easier to quit. Self-discipline is the mastery of impulse that cotnes from tbe babit of doing the right thing regardless of conse- quences. Initiative is tbe ability to act wben there are no clear instructions. Judgment is the ability to size up a situation, determine what is itnpor- tant. and decide wbat needs to be done. Self-con- fidence is the individual's belief that he will act correctly and properly in any situation, including those that are stressful and atiibiguous. Ititelligenee is tbe ability to think, learn, and reflect, and then to apply wbat bas been learned. Cultural awareness is sen,sitivity to the different backgrounds of individuals and to the customs and traditions of different countries (FM 22-100: 2-10-2-15).

Physical. Three attributes come under tbis umbrelkt: health fitness, physical fitness, and

professional bearing. Tbe BKD model argues that individuals can develop these attributes. Health fitness encompasses the various personal actions a person can undertake to maintain health (e.g.. practicing good hygiene, avoiding substance abuse). Pbysical fitness is tbe individual's ability to engage in various demanding physical activities for appropriate lengths of time, without undue stress or tbe tieeJ for extended recovery periods. Professional bearing refers to tbe individual's ability to convey a professional demeanor, project- ed tbrtiugh tbe person's appearance and carriage (FM 22-100: 2-16-2-17).

Emotional. The final attributes considered by the BKD model are self-control, balance, and stability. Tbe model considers these attributes important for leader development because tbey help tbe leader to influence otbers and make cor- rect ethical cboices. Self-eontrol is the ability to display tbe emotion and passion required to tap into the emotions of others. Similarly, balance is tbe ability to display the appropriate emotion for the situation. Stability is the ability to retnain lev- elheaded under pressure and fatigue, and to display the emotions tbe individual wants others to display (FM 22-100: 2-17 – 2-18). Exhibit 2 summarizes the three sets of leader attributes.

Know Tbe second cotnponent of tbe BKD model

focuses on competence: wbat a leader must know (in tbe sense of both "know what" and "know how"). In (he model, competence links character (knowing the right tbitig to do) and action (doing or influencing others to do tbe rigbt thing). In


Three Sets of Leader Attributes in the BKD Model

Mental Attributes







Cultural Awareness

Physical Attributes

Health Fitness

Physical Fitness

Profes.sional Bearing

Emotional Attributes




The inner drive that compels individuals to keep going

Mastery of impulse coming from habitually doing the right thing

Ability to act when there are no clear instructions

Ability to size up a situation and decide what needs lo be done

Individual's belief that he will act correctly in any situation

Ability to think, leam, and reflect, and apply what has been learned

Sensitivity to the different backgrounds of individuals and to the customs and

traditions of different countries

The various actions a person can undertake to maintain health

Ability to engage in demanding physical activities without undue stress

Ability to convey a professional demeanor projected through the

person's appearance and carriage

Ability to display the proper amount of emotion and passion

Ability to display the right emotion for the situation

Ability to remain levelheaded under pressure and fatigue, and to display the

emotions the individual wants others to display

Source: FM 22-1^:2-11 -2-18.

terms of leader development, the model presumes that leaders are not only responsible for being personally competent, but that they are also responsible for the competence of their subordi- nates. The model argues that competence results from hard, realistic training, and that three areas are particularly relevant for leader development (a fourth area covered by the model relates to combat skills, which are outside the scope of this article). Effective leaders must know the interper- sonal, conceptual, and technical skills that allow them to inOuence others.

Interpersonal Skills Competence in this area means that the indi-

vidual knows how to deal with people. From a leader development perspective, the BKD model underscores the importance of helping leaders acquire general skills In coaching, teaching, coun- seling, motivating, and empowering. In particular, the model emphasizes developing communication skills in order to convey one's intent effectively and motivate others.

The BKD model, consistent with other

approaches to leadership (e.g.. Katz, 1955; Kat/- & Kahn, 1978: 538-559). assumes that situational demands influence the types of skills a leader needs in specific circumstances. Given its devel- opmental orientation, the model distinguishes between the interpersonal skills needed for indi- viduals at the lower and middle levels of the organization and those needed at senior or top levels. For individuals engaged in "direct" leader- ship (i.e., first-line, one-on-one leadership), developmental efforts should ensure that the individual knows the implications associated with one-way and two-way communication, with active listening, and with nonverbal communica- tion. At this level, the individual should also understand the need for a leader to supervise the activities of subordinates, and to know how to strike a balance between checking too much and not checking enough. The model suggests that individuals at this level need to know how to do effective counseling, i.e., produce a gt)al-oriented action outline for helping a subordinate overcome a problem or achieve an individual or organiza- tional coal (FM 22-! 00: 4-2 – 4-6).


The BKD model argues that the interpersonal skills needed at the lower level are still rei|uired at the mid-organizational level, differing in degree but not in kind. Because leaders at this level primarily influLMice others Indirectly (Ihrough the policies they e.stablish and the climate they create), ihe BKD model also contends Ihat such individuals should know and understand psychology and the human dimension. Dcvelopmenfal efforts should concentrate on expanding insight intti human mdtivalion and in encouraging Initiative. Such efforl should alsit focus on enhancing the individual's persuasive communication skills, given the frequeni need at this leel lo overcome resistance and build sup- port. In terms of supervising, the individual needs to develop insighi inio when statistics and reports arc adequate mechanisms, and when personal visits and erbal interactions are more useful or appropriate (FM 22-100: 6-3 – 6-4). ^ ^ ^ ^

Indiiduals engaged in "strateyic"' leadership at the top orguni/ational level require different leadership skills than tht)se at the direct or mid- organizational level. The BKD model rellects these differences in the inter- personal skills it emphasizes for development. While communication retnains a critical skill, individuals at this level must develop an apprecia- tion for how the wide arras of staff and operational componenls (inter- acting with each other and with exter- nal agencies) complicate communica- tion in an environment aliead uncer- tain and unpredictable. Individuals at this level must also appreciate the heightened importance of sytnbolic commtuiicalion. and become sensi- tive to the reality that their messages may have to persuade external as well as internal audiences. Skills in using dialogue, in negotiating, and in knowing how to achieve consensus must also be developed. The BKD model underscores how individuals at this level need to learn how to select subordinates, balance various strengths and weaknesses, and ensure an appropriate mix of Imagination, judgmenl, and practicality {FM 22- KH): 7-2-7-6).

Conceptual Skills riicsc skills include competence in handling

ideas, thoughts, and concepls. Al the direct leadership level, developmental efforts should concentrate on four areas: critical reasoning.

Leaders permit

subordinates to

exercise initiative

when serendipi-

tous opportuni-

ties arise, or

when reality

forces changes in

the original plan.

creative thinking, ethical reasoning, and reflective thinking. Individuals must know how lo find causes, arrive at justifiable conclusions, make good judgments, and learn from experience (i.e.. Cl itical reasoning^. They also need to learn lo use imagination to solve unfamiliar problems, or familiar problem^ In new ways (i.e., creative thinking). Additionally, because the model pre- sumes that leaders at every level strive to do the right things for ihe right rea.sons, and because determining the "Yiglil" thing is often extremely complex, the BKD model includes ethical reason- ing as a skill warranting development. The model also includes reflective thinking as a developmen- tal target: The individual must learn how to accept performance feedback from multiple sources, assess it, apply it, and puz/le out why things worked or did not work (FM 22-1 (K): 4-6-4-10).

Al the mid-organi/alional level. Ihc model ^^^^^- contends that leader development

invokes helping iiidi iduals know how lo establish intent, filter informa- tion, and understand dynamic organi- zational systems. By effectively establishing "intent" (i.e.. the leader's personal expression of a project's end state, itichiding the key tasks that must be accomplished to achieve it), leaders permit subordinates lo exer- cise initiative when serendipitous opportunities arise, or when reality forces changes in ihe original plan. Additionally, the BKD model pre- sumes Ihat mid-organi/ational leaders deal with tremendous amounts of

intbrmalion. Consequently. deeh)pniental effort should also focus on helping them discover and articulate the kinds of information they need for conlrolling their units and accomplishinji tlieir projects. The model argues that individuals at this level need to know how lo conceptualize an orga- nization as a set of interacting systems, under- standing how these systems work together, and how using or modifyinj: one system affects the others (FM 22-100:6-5 -6-7).

At the top of the organization, leader develop- ment should concentrate on helping individuals know how to en ision, know hnw to ile elop frames nf reference, and know how lo deal with uncertainty and ambiguity. The BKD model assumes top leaders spend significant time designing inspiring visions for their organiza- tions, so they must know how to craft, from a complex mixture of ideas, facts, conjeelure. and


personal experience, a compelling image of wbat tbeir organization needs to be. Additionally, they need to know how to create a comprehensive frame of reference that encompasses their organi- zation and the strategic environment in whicb it operates. Developmental eftotts should help them acquire the ability to examine events and discern patterns missed by others. Tbese efforts mttst also help tbem develop the skill to identify information most relevant to a strategic situation, and enable tbem to infer the likely consequences of interven- tions (or non-intervention). Strategic leaders should know how to handle uncertainty and ambiguity, by expanding tbeir frame of reference to fit a situation ratber tban by reducing a situa- tion to fit preconceptions. Developmental efforts must also help them become proficient at analyz- ing complicated cause-and-e fleet relationships in the face of incomplete information (FM 22-100: 7-7-7-10).

Technical Skills In the BKD model, technical skill refers to

skill with tbe "tbings" (e.g.. equipment, systems) necessary for achieving tbe work unit's goals and objectives. At tbe level of direct leadership, the model focuses on developing the individual's competence in knowing tbe primary equipment used for accomplisbing major unit tasks, and in knowing bow to operate this equipment (FM 22- 100: 4-11 -4-12). At the mid-organizational level, the model argues that developmental efforts should help individuals maintain critical, direct- leader skills, and also help develop proficiency in the skill of "resourcing." i.e.. aggressively managing and balancing equiptnent, facilities. budgets, and people to best ensure organizational effectiveness. Individuals at this level should also receive help developing their ability to discern and predict tbe second and third order effects of their own actions on the organization's culture and climate {FM 22-100: 6-9 – 6-10).

At the strategic level, the model identifies two technical skills that warrant developmental atten- tion: efficacy in "strategic art" (i.e., the formula- tion, coordination, and applicatit)n of ways and means to promote and defend organizational interests) and efficacy in leveraging technology to obtain or exploit a decisive competitive advan- tage. (Tbe tbird skill, outside the scope of this discussion, relates to political/military objectives.) A key assumption of the model is that leaders shape the future by translating concepts into action. Developing individuals" understanding of

emerging technologies, specifically as tbey migbt apply to resourcing, allocating, and exploiting systems under tbe leaders' control, is also an important component of tbe model (FM 22-100: 7-10 – 7-11). Exhibil 3 summarizes the various skills leaders must know and develop.

Do The last component of the BKD model deals

with the normal actions of a leader. Tbe model groups these actions into three categories (FM 22-100:2-26-2-28):

1. Influencing: Making deci.sions. communicating those decisions, and motivating people;

2. Operating: Accomplishing the unit's immediate mission, through planning, executing, and assessing;

3. Improving: Inereasing the organization's capabil- ities to accomplish future goals and objectives, by developing subordinates, building teams, and fostering learning and self-improvement.

The model recognizes that these broad cate- gories are not mutually exclusive, and many specific actions clearly have implications simulta- neously spanning all three areas. The model also presumes that the "be" and know" components form tbe basis for the "do" ct)mpt)nent: e.g.. in infiuencing others, the individual may draw upon many of the interpersonal skills discussed above.

Influencing For direct leadership, influencing actions

normally require the individual to communicate using good oral, written, and listening skills, to .solve problems and make deeisions using logical reasoning and sound judgment, and to motivate otbers by empowering and using positive and negative reinforcement (FM 22-100: .'i-l – 5-7).

At the mid-organizational level, the model continues to emphasize communication as a pri- mary influencing action. Because leaders at this level typically move rapidly from one project to another, communications must be accurate right from the start; therefore, the model argues that mid-level leaders must thoroughly know their own persona! idiosyncrasies and biases, and must clearly know what message they want to send. Then, they must know the characteristics of the communication environment, including tbe pref- erences and idiosyncrasies of their bosses, ibe idiosyncrasies and biases of their subordinates, and tbe biases and limitations of relevant staff groups. They must also know the communication


Skills Leaders Must Know and Develop

Interpenonal SklMi


Communicating: Two way

Communicaiing: Nonverbal

Listening actively




Readiniz people

Arousing niDiiviition

Encouraging Initiative


Baliincing supervisory styles

Conceptual Skills


Communicating: Complex

Communicating: Symbolic

Generating dialogue


Achieving consensus

Selecting subordinates

Reasoning criiically

Thinking creatively

Reasoning ethically

Reflective tliinkiiig

Kslablishing inlent

Filtering information

Grasping dynamic systems

Technical Skills

Envisioning Creating frames of reference Dealing with ambiguity

Knowing unit equipment Operating unit equipment

Resourcing Seeing 2nd and .Vd order eftects

Efficacy in strategic art Leveraging technology

network most appropriate for a given type ol' message.

Al ihis level, the BKD model argues that intluenciu^ through decision making means the individual must act to pre-empt problems, not just react to solve them. In terms of inlluencing through motivation, the individual acts to create and sustain an ethical and supportive climate. This involves framitig mistakes as learning opportunities, creating cohesive teams hy devel- oping mist among subordinates, and encouraging openness and frankness among organizational members (FM 22-100: fv!2 – 6-17).

Al the sirategic level, the BKD model assumes leaders aet to influence both the organization and its external environment. They accomplish this by identifying trends. oppt)ilunitie.s. and throats affecting the organization, then using these information threads to weave and communicate a vision that gains widespread support for guiding the organization and motivating a broad organiza- tional audience. In temis of decision-making., the nnxlel contends that individuals at this lce! influ- ence through the use ol' the substantial conceptual resources they have available in the collegial net- works that surround them, with whose members they can share thoughts and plans for the institu- tion's ongoing success. Strategic leaders also inlluence through motivating, by shaping the

organization's culture. They cultivate a challeng- ing, supportive institutional culture while recog- nizing that large organizations have multiple subcultures that require integration. The model argues that strategic leaders accomplish this by emphasizing the best in each subculture, and by ensuring that subcultures complement (rather than compete with) each other. They also ensure that the culture suppt)rts the values inherent in their organizational vision (h'M 22-l(K): 7-13 -7-17).

Operalinji Operating actions focus on planning anil

preparing, executing, and assessing. For direct leadership, the model contends that individuals develop their capabilities in areas by prepar- ing detailed and feasible proposals, executing these proposals, and then objectively assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of tbe execution. These processes in(>lve the individual in setting goals, maintaining standards, conducting in- process and after-action reviews, and assessing ihe strtMigths and limitations of subordinates (FM 22-100: .^-S-5-13).

At the mid-organizational level, the BKD IIUKICI assumes that leaders typically work through their subordinates and require a broad organizational perspectie. Thus, operating actions at this level focus on .sy.sicnis planning


and preparation. Actions involving the individual in building a creative, thinking staff (i.e., by choosing the right people, setting them challenging problems, and giving them clear guidance) are also developmentally important. Because leaders at this level cannot individually control and personally direct all the activities necessary for mission accomplishment, the model argues that willingness to delegate and to empower subordi- nates warrants developmental attention. Similarly, the leader's ability to assess situations accurately and have good intuition (based on experience and learning) about the reliability and validity of vari- ous information sources are also essential aspects of leader development (FM 22-100: 6-1S-6-24).

At the strategic level, individuals perform many of the same planning, executing, and assessing actions as their subordinate leaders, but at a higher level and with the complications of inter-organizational relationships thrown in. The BKD model assumes that the fundamental requirements of strategic-level planning remain grounded in establishing priorities ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ and communicating decisions. The large number of relevant actors who can intluence the organization itieans that the strategic leader needs a sub- stantial capacity for handling multi- ple, conflicting demands, and for see- ing situations from the perspective of these other important organizational actors. Executing actions at this level centers on allocating resources, with the individual making tough decisions about program and project priorities. Such actions may also involve the individual in working out priority differences with partnering or client organizations.

Because strategic leaders must engage in envi- ronmental assessment, developmental efforts should help individuals at this level first assess themselves (their leadership style, their distinctive strengths, etc.) and then their operational environ- ment. In assessing their organization, leaders need