Welcome to Military Leader Developer Assistant (MiLDA)

QUICK INSTRUCTIONS: For a consultation simply state your leadership related query or scenario, and the assistant will strive to offer insightful and practical advice to support your growth as a leader. Click the chat icon on bottom right. In times of high server load or when a lot of text is inserted, the assistant may take a long time to process or even drop the session. When you haven't received a response after 2 min, just repeat the question again. This will "poke" the assistant into action. This is a demonstrator version and intended for trial use.

Introduction

MiLDA is a large language model (LLM) based virtual assistant (VA) designed for military leadership issues, mainly when managing subordinates. The purpose of MiLDA is 1) to analyze cases that are challenging for leaders, 2) help them to understand the situation from multiple facets, 3) to suggest solutions that are in line with the relevant military guidelines, and 4) to provide general reflection for leaders on their leadership skills development.

MiLDA (Military Leadership Development Assistant) is your virtual AI consultant tailored specifically to enhance the leadership skills of military personnel. MiLDA is dedicated to supporting military leaders in grappling with challenging scenarios and refining their decision-making abilities. MiLDA serves as a resource for analyzing complex leadership cases and providing insightful guidance aligned with relevant military guidelines. Its primary objective is to assist military leaders in navigating intricate situations, offering valuable perspectives, and suggesting effective solutions rooted in established leadership principles. MiLDA is not just a chatbot; it's an AI-powered tool built upon military leadership know-how. By leveraging the power of language processing and understanding, MiLDA aims to facilitate leadership development by offering tailored advice, strategic insights, and thought-provoking reflections on various leadership challenges. With MiLDA, military leaders can expect a reliable partner in developing their decision-making skills, tackling scenarios, and fostering continuous growth in their leadership journey. Whether faced with dilemmas or seeking to refine leadership capabilities, MiLDA stands ready to assist and support leaders in the pursuit of excellence in military leadership.


1. Make notes of the leadership challenge from all relevant aspects, including your position, people involved, their positions and the general context. 2. Convey the situation in a written form to MiLDA. State your objectives. Answer all the questions in detail MiLDA asks you, Copy down its advice or game plan.. 3. Execute MiLDA's advice or game plan. Make necessary prepearations that MiLDA asked you to do. This usually involves meeting people involved, follow through it's plan..

Capabilities

Contextual understanding

 MiLDA employs advanced natural language processing (NLP) techniques to comprehend and contextualize the details of challenging cases presented by military leaders. It dissects the nuances of the situation, considering various factors, scenarios, and potential implications.

Data analysis

Upon receiving a case or scenario, MiLDA processes the available information, identifying key components, and assessing the underlying challenges. It utilizes its vast knowledge base to recognize patterns, potential risks, and opportunities embedded within the context.

Decision support

MiLDA doesn’t just provide generic solutions, it offers tailored recommendations aligned with established military guidelines and best practices. By synthesizing the case details with its knowledge repository, MiLDA assists in formulating strategic approaches and feasible action plans for effective decision-making.

Interactive dialogue and guidance

MiLDA engages in interactive conversations with military leaders, guiding them through thought-provoking questions, alternative perspectives, and probing inquiries. It encourages critical thinking and offers a sounding board for leaders to explore diverse angles of the situation.

Ethical and Compliant Recommendations

MiLDA operates within the ethical and legal frameworks relevant to military leadership. It ensures that all suggestions and insights provided align with the ethical standards, values, and regulations inherent in military practices.


Target users

While beneficial for leaders across the board, the assistant is particularly advantageous for junior leaders occupying pivotal roles within military units. Through targeted assistance, MiLDA aims to empower these leaders, enabling them to navigate challenges and make impactful decisions that contribute to their overall success and effectiveness. The primary user groups include the following groups.

1. Sergeants and other Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), including

2. Platoon leaders or platoon commanders and other junior officers, including


Case analysis and problem-solving methods

MiLDA is tailored to be an adept problem-solving companion for military leaders, equipped with the capabilities to navigate through intricate cases and facilitate effective decision-making processes.

Case assessment

Upon receiving a leadership case or scenario, MiLDA dissects and evaluates the presented information. It comprehends the nuances, variables, and potential challenges embedded within the context, ensuring a holistic understanding of the situation.

Identification of key Issues

MiLDA is prioritizing critical issues within a case. It pinpoints underlying problems, recognizes patterns, and highlights factors that require immediate attention or supervised consideration.

Application of military principles and guidelines

Leveraging its extensive knowledge base, MiLDA aligns its analysis with established military principles, protocols, and guidelines. It ensures that the suggested solutions and insights remain consistent with the ethos and best practices of military leadership.


Demonstrator

Click a chat button on bottom right to start the virtual assistant. This is a demonstrator version. During periods of high server load and/or in case of lot of input text, the response may be delayed or left hanging. In such case, after no response in 2 min, repeat the question again. This demonstrator version of MiLDA, is trained to follow U.S. Army leadership guidelines. It leverages a curated collection of training materials to enhance its understanding and guidance in line with established principles and protocols. The following key training materials were included.

MiLDA looks for answers from this set of guidelines (a total of 930pgs):

Additonally, MiLDA is able to retrieve information from the large language model, it's based on (GPT-4-1106).


Instructions

Click the chat icon on bottom right. To make the most out of this tool, here are some guidelines:

1. Ask specific questions. Be as detailed as possible when describing your leadership situation or challenge. The more specific you are, the better the assistant can tailor its advice to your needs.

2. Provide context. Share relevant background information to help the assistant understand the scenario better. Include details about the team dynamics, the nature of the challenge, any constraints you're facing, and your desired outcome.

3. Be clear and concise Frame your questions or requests in a clear and concise manner to ensure the assistant accurately comprehends your needs. Avoid ambiguous language or vague descriptions.

4. Explore different perspectives. Don't hesitate to ask for various approaches or strategies to tackle a particular situation. The assistant can offer different viewpoints to broaden your understanding and decision-making process.

5. Respect confidentiality and security. Avoid sharing sensitive or classified information through this platform. Ensure that the information you provide is suitable for a non-sensitive, educational context.

Remember, while this AI assistant aims to provide valuable guidance, it should supplement, not replace, your own critical thinking and judgment as a leader. Use the advice offered here as a tool to enhance your leadership skills and decision-making process.

 

Photo of Group of People Sitting on Folding Chairs (Pexels)

Example conversation with MiLDA

USER: hi

MiLDA: Hello! How can I assist you today with your leadership scenarios and challenges? Please provide context or specific details so I can help you more effectively.

USER: As a Second Lieutenant, I was trying to lead my team today in patrol, but the sergeant was acting like he does not hear my commands.

MiLDA: To provide you with the most appropriate guidance on how to handle the situation with your sergeant who appears to be disregarding your commands during a patrol, I would like to ask a few clarifying questions:
1 Can you describe the specific context in which the sergeant was not heeding your commands? Was it a stressful situation or a routine patrol?
2 Have there been previous instances where this sergeant or others have not followed your commands, or was this an isolated incident?
3 How did you handle the situation at the time, and what was the immediate outcome or response from the sergeant and the rest of the team?
4 Can you provide insight into your working relationship with the sergeant prior to this incident?
5 What are the established communication protocols within your team during patrols?
Understanding the answers to these questions will help craft a response that addresses both the immediate challenge and the underlying issues that might be contributing to this dynamic.

USER:
1.
this was a training patrol. We were in the woods, 10 hours away from the nearest civilization. we ha a long walk behind us and I ordered the sergeant to make a short 15 minute break. The sergeant acted like I had not said that and continued walking with men.
2.
 this behavior is recurring. he often does this on longer patrols when he wants to get to the finish as soon as possible.
3.
I dismissed the situation at a time.
4. The working relationship is platonic. The sergeant only does what he is required to do.
5. For communication protocols, refer to army guidelines.

MiLDA: Thank you for providing more details. Before proceeding with advice, I would like to understand a few more aspects of the situation:
1 Have you had a private conversation with the sergeant to address the issue of not following your commands? If so, what was the outcome of that conversation?
2 How do the other team members react when the sergeant ignores your commands? Is there a sense of confusion or division within the team?
3 Is there any official documentation or reports on the sergeant's prior conflicts in the other unit that you could reference?
4 What are your specific concerns regarding the sergeant's behavior, and how is it affecting team morale and cohesion?
5 Have you referred to any army regulations or consulted with superiors regarding the sergeant's insubordination?
Based on the answers to these questions, we can explore potential strategies and next steps that align with military protocols and leadership best practices.

USER:
1 I haven't had informal discussions with the sergeant.
2 The other members of our platoon, 15 men are doing what the sergeant tells them. They seem to follow him.
3 There are no official reports on sergeant.
4. I am concerned because the sergeant is undermining my position as team leader.
5. I haven't consulted regulations yet nor consulted with superiors.

MiLDA: With the additional context, we are dealing with a challenge that involves addressing insubordination while maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of your platoon. I would advise considering the following steps:
1 Private Conversation: Arrange a private discussion with the sergeant to address the observed behavior. Express your concerns about his actions and the impact on command authority and unit cohesion. As part of this conversation, it is crucial to listen actively to his perspective to understand his reasoning and to make it clear that while his input is valued, the chain of command must be respected.
2 Document the Behavior: Start documenting instances of insubordination, including dates, times, circumstances, and any witnesses. This can provide a basis for any formal action if necessary.
3 Reaffirm Your Role: Clearly and formally reaffirm your role as the commanding officer of the platoon. Remind the platoon, as necessary, of the importance of the chain of command and each person’s role within that framework.
4 Seek Mentorship/Advice: Consult with your immediate superior or a mentor about the situation for advice. They may have encountered similar situations and can offer strategies that are respectful, professional, and effective.
5 Training and Resources: If you haven't already, familiarize yourself with any available Army leadership manuals or resources that provide guidance on dealing with insubordination and leadership challenges. This could help inform your approach and ensure you're aligned with military protocols.
Remember, leadership challenges in the military can be complex, so it's important to handle them professionally, assertively, and with proper regard for the protocols and policies in place.
Would you like me to provide excerpts from Army field manuals that might be relevant to your situation?

USER: What are the leadership requirements for me as an Army leader, in the context of this case with the sergeant?

MiLDA: As an Army leader, you are expected to fulfill certain leadership requirements, including the ability to inspire and influence people to accomplish organizational goals. These expectations apply to all leaders, military or civilian, and across all ranks and components of the Army. More specifically, you are required to motivate both subordinates and those outside your direct chain of command to pursue actions, focus thinking, and shape decisions that are for the greater good of the organization. As a Second Lieutenant and the commanding officer of your platoon, the Army leadership requirements for you are built around both the character you exhibit and the competencies you apply when leading your subordinates. Here's a summary of these requirements in the context of your situation with the sergeant:
1 Leadership Influence: Your primary role involves influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to achieve the mission and improve the organization. In this situation, it means asserting your command while also working to motivate the sergeant to follow your orders【23†source】.
2 Leadership Requirements Model: You should develop your attributes (character, presence, and intellect) and competencies (leads, develops, and achieves). Given the recurring insubordination, a focus on developing your command presence and refining your leadership approach could be beneficial【24†source】.
3 Core Leader Attributes: Exhibit a strong character, which refers to the moral and ethical qualities that underpin your decisions and behavior. Your presence—which includes how you conduct yourself and are perceived by others—is crucial when asserting your role and addressing the sergeant's conduct【25†source】.
4 Core Leader Competencies: Implement the core competencies of leading (provide direction and motivation, build trust, set an example, and communicate effectively), developing (self-improvement, fostering a positive climate, and developing subordinates), and achieving (executing plans, adjusting as necessary, and getting results)【26†source】.
5 Mission Command Principles: Be a role model in words and deeds, tactically and technically proficient, and develop a comprehensive understanding of your soldiers, the mission, and the operating environment. Additionally, act in a way that is morally and ethically right, and lead decisively from the front【27†source】.
6 Compliance vs. Commitment: Aim to foster commitment rather than mere compliance from your subordinates. While compliance might give you immediate results, lasting change comes from influencing your subordinates' beliefs and values, leading them to take ownership of the mission and tasks【28†source】.
7 Power and Influence: Be aware of the different sources of power you have: positional power, which derives from your rank, and personal power, which comes from the respect and trust your soldiers have for you. Using these sources effectively can help you gain genuine commitment from your subordinates, including the sergeant in question【29†source】.
Given this framework, you should address the issue with the sergeant by setting a professional and respectful tone focused on reestablishing the chain of command. Engage in constructive dialogue, listening to his perspective while also being clear about expectations and consequences. Additionally, collaborate with superiors if necessary and document instances of insubordination to bolster your position during any formal proceedings that may arise from this situation.

USER: Which Army Field Manuals would you reccomend to cite to the sergeant

MiLDA: To address the issue of insubordination and to cite Army regulations to the sergeant, you may refer to the following:
1 Army Regulation (AR) 600-20: This regulation is the Army Command Policy, which includes policies on things like the chain of command, insubordination, and the actions commanders can take in response to such issues.
2 Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Article 92: This article covers the failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation. According to UCMJ, Art. 92, any person subject to the code who—
    - Fails to obey a lawful general order or regulation,
    - Having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by a member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or
    - Is derelict in the performance of his duties; Shall be punished as a court-martial may direct【43†source】.
As a company commander, these regulations provide you with the authority to address issues of insubordination and reinforce the importance of following lawful orders. It is essential to communicate these regulations to the sergeant, emphasizing that the chain of command exists to ensure discipline and effectiveness and that insubordination can negatively impact the ability of the command to accomplish its mission. Additionally, ensure that you are providing clear and lawful orders, and document any incidents of failure to obey these orders as they occur.

USER: Considering all the above, prepare a monologue text for me which I will read to the sergeant when we have a private discussion.

MILDA: Certainly, here is a suggested monologue for your private discussion with the sergeant:
"Sergeant [Name], I requested this private meeting to address a concern that I believe is critical for the functioning and effectiveness of our platoon. Respect for the chain of command is not only a cornerstone of military discipline but also essential for mission success and the well-being of all soldiers under our command.
As you are aware, during recent patrols I have issued commands that have not been followed as expected. These orders, including the recent directive for a short break during our training patrol, were given with the intention of maintaining the platoon's readiness and welfare. When these commands are disregarded, it undermines my authority as the platoon leader, creates confusion among the soldiers, and potentially compromises our operational effectiveness.
I understand that prolonged patrols can be taxing and that there may be a desire to complete the mission as efficiently as possible. However, as a leader, it is my responsibility to balance mission objectives with the health and morale of our soldiers. It's also important for our platoon to operate as a cohesive unit, where orders given by the chain of command are respected and executed faithfully.
The Army values and regulations are clear, and AR 600-20, as well as the UCMJ Article 92, emphasize the importance of following lawful orders. Failure to do so can lead to a breakdown in discipline and could have legal consequences. I want to be certain that there is a mutual understanding going forward that the established chain of command is acknowledged, and that any lawful orders issued are executed without hesitation.
I am open to feedback, and if there are concerns about the orders being given or the manner in which they are communicated, I encourage you to bring them directly to me. It is essential that we maintain open lines of communication to resolve any issues that could impact our operational readiness.
In closing, I value your experience and the leadership you provide to the soldiers within our platoon. It is my aim to empower you to continue making positive contributions to our operations. Let's use this opportunity to strengthen our teamwork and ensure that our platoon upholds the highest standards of conduct and performance expected from us.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I am here to support you as we move forward."
---
This monologue is designed to address the issue respectfully but firmly, focusing on the importance of following orders, the repercussions of failing to do so, and offering an opportunity for open dialogue. It's also vital to strike a tone that underscores the expectation of improvement while still expressing your support and willingness to listen to any concerns the sergeant may have.

USER: Thank you

MILDA. You're welcome! If you have any other questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask. Good luck with your discussion with the sergeant, and I wish you the best in your leadership role.


Example scenario - disagreement between the sergeant and the newly commissioned platoon leader

When a sergeant and the platoon leader hold different opinions, ultimately, the platoon leader, being the commanding officer, would make the final decision, and the sergeant would be expected to support that decision, ensuring unity within the team. Imagine a scenario where the platoon leader has decided to execute a particular strategy during a mission, but the sergeant disagrees with this approach. The platoon leader opts for a direct assault on an enemy stronghold, believing it's the most efficient way to accomplish the mission. However, the sergeant, based on their experience, thinks a more cautious, flanking maneuver would be safer for the team. The sergeant voices their concerns to the platoon leader. They express their reservations about the direct approach, citing potential risks to the team's safety and the mission's success. The platoon leader listens but reiterates the decision, emphasizing the reasons behind it. Despite the platoon leader's orders, the sergeant continues to disagree and refuses to follow through with the given directives. This situation can create significant challenges within the team. The sergeant's refusal to comply with the platoon leader's orders could lead to a breakdown in discipline, confusion among team members, and potentially jeopardize the mission's success and the safety of the unit. When the team sides with the sergeant despite the platoon leader's orders, it creates a complex situation within the unit. The team's support for the sergeant might stem from various reasons, such as a strong bond, shared beliefs, or doubts about the platoon leader's decisions. In such cases, the platoon leader faces a challenging task of regaining control and fostering unity within the team. Rebuilding trust, reinforcing discipline, and reiterating the importance of unity in achieving mission success would be essential steps taken by the platoon leader to prevent a recurrence of such incidents in future missions.


Example case analysis

In this scenario, the disagreement between the sergeant, the team, and the newly commissioned platoon leader, could stem from various factors. The team might question the platoon leader's experience, judgment, or leadership abilities due to their relatively young age and limited practical field experience compared to seasoned veterans. The sergeant and the team's reluctance to follow the platoon leader's commands might arise from a perceived lack of credibility or respect for their authority. This situation can challenge the platoon leader's ability to establish their leadership and gain the team's confidence and respect. Addressing this issue would involve the platoon leader demonstrating competence, effective communication, and a willingness to learn from the experienced sergeant and team members. Building rapport, actively seeking advice, and proving their leadership capabilities through sound decision-making and actions on the field would be crucial in earning the team's trust and acceptance. The platoon leader might also leverage the sergeant's expertise and experience by involving them in decision-making processes, thus fostering collaboration and demonstrating respect for the sergeant's insights. Over time, through consistent demonstration of leadership qualities and mutual respect, the platoon leader could potentially overcome the initial resistance and establish a cohesive, effective team for successful mission execution.


Key skills a team leader might learn from retrospective analysis using digital consultancy

Communication

Effective and clear communication is vital. Ensuring team members understand instructions and the reasoning behind decisions is crucial for mission success. Enhancing communication skills, especially when expressing dissent, is essential. Communicating concerns respectfully ensures they're heard without undermining authority. Advocating for the team's welfare while balancing it with mission objectives is vital. Supporting decisions for the team's benefit, even when not aligned with personal opinions, contributes to overall success.

Adaptability

Flexibility in approach and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances are essential qualities. Sometimes, original plans might need adjustments for better outcomes. Being open to diverse strategies and flexible in approach, even if different from personal beliefs, contributes to the team's resilience and adaptability in varied scenarios.

Balancing experience and leadership

Acknowledging the value of experience while also recognizing the potential of new leadership. Balancing guidance with support for the platoon leader's growth fosters a cooperative environment. Understanding the importance of supporting and respecting the chain of command, even in situations of disagreement, is crucial for maintaining discipline and unity within the team. Building trust and respect among team members is fundamental. Respectful leadership, acknowledging the experience and insights of team members, fosters a cohesive unit.

Informed decision-making

Making informed decisions, even in challenging situations, is critical. Considering various perspectives and gathering input from experienced team members contributes to better decision-making. Understanding the perspectives, concerns, and strengths of team members fosters a supportive environment. Empathy strengthens bonds and enhances teamwork.

Conflict resolution

Developing effective conflict resolution skills is crucial. Addressing disagreements within the team promptly and constructively helps maintain unity and focus on mission objectives. Failure can be a valuable learning opportunity. Conducting retrospective assessments, analyzing mistakes, and implementing improvements are essential for learning from failure.

Building a unified vision

Aligning the team towards a common goal creates unity. A clear vision helps everyone understand their roles, contributing to overall mission success. Maintaining Unity and recognizing the impact of dissent on team cohesion and striving for constructive ways to resolve conflicts to prevent division within the unit. Leading with integrity and demonstrating expected behaviors set a standard for the team to follow.


Author: Tarmo Koppel, Tallinn University of Technology (Taltech), 2.01.2024
Comments and feedback are welcomed to milda01@koppel.ee