S.A.F.E Model of Leadership

“Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization (ADP 6-22).” In a world of increasing worldly conflict, fluctuating economies and speedier technological trends, change is becoming the norm. That has led organizations to find effective ways of maintaining competitive advantage. Organizations must use their leaders to empower their workforce to combat those problems and deal with new issues as they occur. The missions are changing, therefore, the leaders in the Army must change as well. A staple in the Army is the core values, “LDRSHIP” with leadership at the forefront. However, leadership deserves its own model and focus. The S.A.F.E model that is proposed in this essay is based from experience in the military, non-profit, and private sector workforce. S.A.F.E stands for stewardship, adaptability, forecasting, and empathy. Each value of the S.A.F.E model will be presented separately and in depth to show its importance and relevance. It is also important to note the interdependency of each core value which might differ from other leadership models.
Although no one model fits all organizations, the S.A.F.E model is simple enough to be used and implemented by any organization. Each core value of the S.A.F.E model is interdependent of each other. The Army must do a better job of choosing its leaders rather than letting rank be the determining factor. The S.A.F.E identifies characteristics that are missing from some of our current leaders. These values have been collected from the thoughts of current and former service members. Each value comes with examples of tasks that must be carried out to maximize effectiveness.


The first and most crucial core value of the S.A.F.E Model is “Stewardship.” Not only should leaders be accountable, but those individuals should be the ones who have chosen to be leaders not merely because it is a part of their job description. There are many Soldiers that would rather work alone and not deal with others. This is fine for some colleagues, but not acceptable for leaders. Being a leader requires your assistance in forging the culture of the organization and creating an atmosphere which encourages learning. That cannot be done in a vacuum and in isolation. The most important thing for an open position is not the pay, but the duties. Too many individuals are more concerned with the former than the latter.
Leaders can be from all areas of the organization, not just the executive level. Leadership will communicate and encourage learning. Ideas are welcomed and solicited from all Soldiers.

All decisions are communicated with subordinates along with reasons.


Leaders must be able to adapt to the needs of their Soldiers. For the first time ever there are five generations in the workplace. That brings generational gaps and differences in communication, skills, desires and thought processes. Many Soldiers have conversations that begin with “Back in my day, we did things this way.” Reality will need to kick in for our leaders to deal with the “Here and now”,therefore, leaders must adapt in order to fill in those gaps and differences. Leaders will also have to be open to new methods and ideas to bring these

generations together as well as work in harmony. When leaders show openness to new ideas, when they listen to employees, and create a channel of communication with them regarding their thoughts, they are encouraging everyone in the organization to question, to be creative, and to learn.
Communication flows in all directions. Leadership will express decisions and reasons.
Employees will express thoughts and disagreements freely.

Atmosphere will breed creativity and more opinions from all areas of organization.


The S.A.F.E leadership model suggests that not only will leaders evaluate things going on inside the Army, but they will look outside to gather new information. Forecasting is a very important skill leaders in the Army should possess (or learn) to become more effective. As stated before, we live in a time where many economies worldwide are volatile and conflicts are increasing, those occurrences impact the status quo. There are new trends coming out weekly, and even daily, and leaders must evaluate these trends not only to see if they will affect them, but also for how long. Organizations need to watch political climates as those situations can affect many business decisions. Being informed is not just a matter of being “In the know” but helping the organizations avoid legal matters, wasted time and effort, and possible firing of employees.
Information of local and national communities needs to be taken seriously. Information of how it affects the organization will be communicated to employees. Leadership will use information to extend social responsibility efforts.
Close attention to political climate of this country and others is highly advised.

One of the most important resources organizations have at their disposal is knowledge and information. The S.A.F.E leadership model not only promotes using current information at hand, but also using resources within the organization to find ways of retrieving new information. The information will be relevant to the internal and/or external environment, business trends, economic issues, and information regarding their adversaries. Mentioned previously, organizations can use information to gain competitive advantage over their competitors. They can meet needs before their competitors can or avoid pitfalls that their competitors have made or will make. This phase is an extension of environmental awareness, but also pays attention to internal and external environments but how to gather that information. (Can you delete this or how does this fit?)
Use Soldiers to drive inflow of information and to create newer more efficient ways of doing so. Develop processes to retain and store knowledge.
Use competition’s information to combat their advantages. Do not be afraid to copy or mimic adversaries.
Use data to see potential hazards. Use data to remedy current oversights.

Processes and procedures that worked yesterday might not have the same efficiency today. In addition, by assessing the current state of the organization in this step they will strategize how to move forward and become a better organization.

E-Emotional Intelligence/Empathy

For all of the levels above, emotional intelligence (EI) and empathy are used to accomplish them. Soldiers require constant motivation which may appear simple, but requires a fair load of work. Even a well-run team will require motivation to achieve the results wanted.

Soldiers want to know that their leaders care about them. “The first step is making sure sufficient people act with sufficient urgency – with on-your-toes behavior that looks for opportunities and problems, that energizes colleagues, that beams a sense of “Let’s go” (Kotter, 2002).” Inertia to accomplish the mission can be created from good leadership. Anyone can be the catalyst to cause urgency and energy of the organization.
● Create energy and urgency among staff.

● Management does not have to be the catalyst.

● Must sustain to complete all efforts.


Replication is not a level of the S.A.F.E model, but a significant part of the process that deserves to be noted. The key to many processes being effective is their ability to be replicated. A leader is a Soldier that is consistent is valuable actions (???). Moving forward more will need to be desired and expected of our leaders. They will have to desire the want (???) to be a leader and be expected to do more than just the mission. To combat our evolving adversaries the leaders in the Army will need to evolve as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s