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Comparative Analysis of the Leadership Style of the Bulgarian Cadets – Part in the National Security Education


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As part of the cadets’ tactical leadership training research of the leadership skills of the cadets at Vasil Levski National Military University, Bulgaria was carried out. The current paper presents the results of the analysis of the professional and social components of the leadership style of Bulgarian cadets. The results could be used for the improvement of the future skills of national security experts. The situational leadership theory is used as the basis for the developing of a model for building the cadet’s leadership skills
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Vol. XXIV No 2 2018
“Vasil Levski” National Military University, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Abstract: As part of the cadets’ tactical leadership training research of the leadership skills of the
cadets at Vasil Levski National Military University, Bulgaria was carried out. The current paper
presents the results of the analysis of the professional and social components of the leadership style of
Bulgarian cadets. The results could be used for the improvement of the future skills of national
security experts. The situational leadership theory is used as the basis for the developing of a model
for building the cadet’s leadership skills.
Keywords: national security, leadership training, model
About 2000 years ago when Confucius was asked by the Emperor what was necessary for a
state to be strong and prosperous, he answered: “There are 3 elements essential in the matters of
the State, Food, Military equipment, and Confidence of the people in the ruler. “ [2]
The popular use of the term "security" in
today's dynamic world stems from the fact
that security is perceived as a fundamental
concept in the theories of social relations.
Numerous definitions of its meaning,
summarized and analyzed by security
systems researcher Professor Semerdjiev,
conclude that "security is a basic necessity
of the state and other subjects of social life;
purpose of the State's activity; a state of no
threat to the fundamental values of the state
and the nation; an opportunity for a nation
(society, person) to protect their values
from any threat." [3]
The scope of security and the levels of its
functioning give a clear picture of the
different types of security and their
relationship. These levels are as follows: [4]
- Level 1: security of individuals;
- Level 2: security of groups;
- Level 3: security of a state;
- Level 4: security of a community (of
- Level 5: security of the world (the planet).
According to the author, the first three
levels of security - of the individual, the
group, the state can be united under the
concept of "national security", and the last
three levels of the state, the community,
the world - are referred to as international
Ever since the first use of the term "national
security" in 1904 by US President Theodore
Roosevelt and its first definition proposed
by the American philosopher and publicist
Walter Lipman in 1943 to date, a number of
authors and scientists have considered this
concept a category, status, process, result,
etc. In today's scientific and public space,
there are abundant studies, visions, and
analyses related to security in its diverse
types, forms, classifications and
DOI: 10.1515/kbo-2018-0099
© 2015. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.
It is difficult to state just the definition of
the essence of national security because of
the universality of this category, which also
requires universal tools in defining its
content. The most common is the
understanding of national security as a
dynamic state, which is associated with the
lack of direct danger to the state, the society
and the individual from armed operations,
from political or economic threats. [3]
In this respect, guaranteeing the national
security as a state of protection of the
constitutional state system, the just
enforcement of the laws of the country, the
free functioning of all forms of power and
the inviolability of life, the name and honor
of each person are the primary
responsibility of each state and its leaders.
The training of national security experts is
an extremely popular professional field in
which many higher education institutions
offer educational services. A number of
political, military and public leaders expand
their competences through training in
bachelor and master degree programs in
national security.
For this reason, the mission of the National
Military University is to build the future
officers morally, mentally and physically,
to form individuals and leaders with
leadership skills capable of managing
public and special structures in peacetime
and crises, and of participating in national
and multinational projects to maintain
security, peacekeeping projects and
community development projects. [5]
Research and results
The training of the cadets - future experts in
national security, the so called tactical
training, includes academic, military,
leadership, foreign language and physical
training. The subject Leadership Training is
organized in a modular principle.
Leadership as a basic term in organizational
practice and in the theory of social
governance is seen as a mechanism for
impacting people in order to achieve a
common goal through joint action. In this
line of thought, the training of cadets as
future commanders with leadership
qualities is also a major challenge and a
challenge for the academic staff and for the
command of the University.
Forming the cadets as professionals in the
respective military specialty along with
their training in leadership and obtaining
practical experience is a long and
complicated educational process. This day-
to-day responsibility lies with the military
instructors and all the company and platoon
commanders. The progress in the
development of each cadet is monitored
every year during the complex tactical
sessions and exercises, where skills to work
at a tactical level are demonstrated i.e. how
learners perform leadership tasks and have
direct contact with their subordinates
(cadets from lower years) and how they
perform the assigned tasks.
In order to test the leadership skills of the
cadets, P. Hursi and K. Blanchard base the
developed model for leadership building of
the trainees adopted at the National Military
University of Veliko Turnovo on the theory
of situational leadership. [1] The model
offers criteria for assessing the two aspects
of leadership development of the cadets -
social and professional aspect, which have
been the subject of a long-term research by
the author of this report since 2012. Every
year, military instructors assess the
professional performance of the cadets from
the different training courses according to
the following criteria: dynamics; eagerness;
decision-making; taking responsibility;
communication skills; discipline; readiness.
The platoon and company commanders, on
their part, provide assessments of the social
elements of the leadership behavior of the
learners during the exercises, which are:
performance; emotional sustainability;
intellectual potential (analytical thinking);
striving for improvement; culture of speech;
understanding of duty; display of honor and
The evaluation of these indicators of the
professional and social aspect of the cadets’
leadership behavior is carried out according
to the six-point system, as the scores
between 5 and 6 regarding the expression of
each item under study are viewed as the
desired final ones.
This report presents the results of the
analysis of the social and professional
component of the cadets’ leadership style
indicators received during the complex
practical exercise Tactical Survival in 2017.
The study includes 42 cadets from all
training courses - military specializations
Mechanized and Tank Troops, Intelligence,
Military Police and Signal Intelligence and
Electronic Warfare. It should be noted that
these specializations belong both to the
Military Affairs and National Security
professional fields, as the cadets, apart from
the military professional qualification, also
receive civilian professional qualification of
Expert in National and Regional Security.
The aim of the study is to check the level of
the trainees' leadership skills, to analyze the
results and to propose further work for the
military personnel subject to the
educational and training process. Figure 1
presents the data from the overall average
assessments of the professional aspect of
the leadership style behavior of all the
cadets who have taken part in the study
according to their year of training.
Figure 1: Average values of the cadets’ professional leadership final grades
all courses (years of training
The data shows the high ratings of military
instructors for the professional performance
of the cadets from higher courses. Estimates
between 5 and 6 as a desirable final score of
the demonstration of adequate leadership
performance during the exercise
demonstrate the understanding and
application of the theoretical knowledge in
a real situation, and the making of
appropriate decisions for their subordinates
on the team they lead. At the same time, the
lower scores of the first, second, and third-
year cadets are expected and logical in view
of their little experience and limited
opportunities to take part in the
management and decision-making
processes. These results prove the gradual
development of leadership skills in the
learners as a consequence of the natural
course of professional military training. For
this purpose, Leadership Modules include
consistent upgrading and complicating of
theoretical preparation, and practical
upgrade of case studies and work in the
The results obtained should not reassure
military specialists, but on the contrary,
they should look into the detailed analysis
of the assessments of each batch of cadets
with the idea of timely correction or change
in the teaching methods, opportunities to
influence and motivate for learning, update
the tasks for the practical classes.
For example, the figures shown in Figure 2
and referring to the benchmarking of each
occupational performance indicator of
leadership behavior of second-year cadets
show lower values. Impression makes the
low value of the "responsibility" criterion,
which may be the result of the lack of
responsibility in the activity of some
learners, the impossibility or the
unwillingness to complete the given tasks,
or the misunderstanding of the
consequences of failure of the instructions
given. These analyses would help the
academic staff to properly select how to
work with cadet trainees, as well as to
constantly seek feedback in order to build a
sense of belonging to the team and concerns
about the security of each team member.
Figure 2: Average values of the II year cadets’ components of professional leadership style
The results of the indicators of the social
aspect of the cadets’ leadership style
performance are presented in Figure 3 and
are analogous to the professional aspects.
The building of social skills in the behavior
of the young people - trainees at the
Military University is a process that should
not be considered a constant. Moreover, the
analysis of the social elements in the
cadets’ leadership style in accordance with
the developed model can reveal the essence
and development of such dynamic
constructs of each learner’s mental activity,
such as motivation, the level of
commitment and personal conviction
regarding the ability to handle each
situation. [1]
Evaluations given by platoon and company
commanders to their subordinates reveal
various levels as compared to the desired
end state, namely, according to the results
obtained at the end of the training course at
the Military University, the graduates may
be expected to possess a various knowledge
- professional and general, to have mastered
specific skills, to demonstrate established
values and relationships, to share a desire
for development of one's own personality.
For most commanders, this conclusion
would be evidence of the greater
responsibility and direct involvement of the
command staff in the education process. At
the same time, it should be noted that since
the study involves a representative sample
of each university course, and that each
commander and instructor prefers to
appoint in leadership positions during real
teaching the best and most capable trainees
3,5 44,5 5
decision making
rea diness
Average grade
dyna mics
de c is io n
n skills
Ave rage gra de
and to delegate rights to them, this suggests
that the above results cannot be related to
all the students from the different batches.
In this respect, the role of the educational
effects of the direct commanders increases,
together with the adoption of an individual
approach by them, as well as the demand
for feedback from the subordinates and
maintaining of an adequate communicative
Figure 3: Average values of the cadets’ social leadership final grades
– all courses (all years of training)
The not very large number of trainees at the
Vasil Levski Military University should be
encouraged and supported in the process of
their social development and forming as
personalities. This implies flexibility in
organizing their military duties and caring
for each individual cadet. In the different
years of training, the young people face a
variety of issues that are also significant
factors in their future individual
development. These conclusions are
supported by the assessments made by the
commanders on the individual indicators of
the social aspect of the leadership behavior
of their subordinates during the exercise.
Figure 4 shows the results obtained by
generalizing the second-year cadets’ scores
of the individual indicators of the social
component of their leadership performance.
It is normal, given their younger age as
compared to their senior colleagues, to see
lower values, which can be explained by the
lack of rich experience in social situations.
A closer look at the individual criteria also
reveals the problem areas that may be used
by their commanders for their future work.
Namely, the fact that modern young people
have difficulty in oral communication, they
find it hard to present themselves or do not
yet understand their place in the Army
institution and do not feel involved in the
organization’s activities.
Such peculiarities in the development and
formation of young people as future
professionals are expected in relation to the
information society in which we live, the
widespread use of technology in all areas of
modern life, and the constant changes in
our environment - external and internal.
This is what requires increased attention to
the training of the cadets and continuous
work with each subordinate on the part of
the commanders. These assessments may
also signal faults or lack of competencies to
select the right tools that would influence,
motivate an immature person to direct their
attention to building socially responsible
Average grade
Av er ag e g rade
Figure 4: Average values of the II-year cadets’ components of social leadership style
It can be summed up that all efforts of
direct commanders and instructors can be
successful and at graduation of the military
educational institution only high levels of
social values and professional competencies
be reported only when all participants in
this process consciously and constantly
work as a team in one direction, towards
one goal - building leaders and experts,
guarantees of the security of the state,
society and personality.
The analysis and comparison of the
research results of the aspects of the
different cadets’ leadership style confirmed
some preliminary expectations, along with
the defining of problematic areas and
weaknesses in the process of leadership
forming of future officers and security
experts. This data can assist those
responsible for the educational process in
establishing specific measures and new
practices in the important task of preparing
capable and knowledgeable cadre for the
sphere of national security.
The changing security environment, the
new threats and risks require a new type of
"human resource", trained and skilled, with
a built-in value system and effective models
for leadership behavior. The high quality of
the educational service in the professional
field of national security can be achieved
only by properly selecting the learners,
motivated and highly trained academic staff
and commanders, modern facilities and
experienced command. Only raised
standards in the training and the link with
practitioners and stakeholders will
contribute to the training of qualified staff
for the needs of the national security
[1] Atanasova - Krasteva N., Leadership building of cadets, Veliko Tarnovo, 2012
[2] Semerdjiev Tsv., Strategic leadership and leadership. Leader., Softrade, Sofia., 2007
[3] Semerdjiev Tsv., Theoretical foundations of national security,
[4] Slatinski N., Security dimensions, Publ. house Pradigma”,Sofia, 2000
[5] Vasil Levski NMU,
Average drade -
social aspect, II
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Much previous writing on Sunzi and his book, the Art of war, has focused on strategies and tactics of disguise, deception, and maneuvering for the purpose of winning. In this chapter, however, we study the Art of war from a leadership perspective, namely, how, in the view of Sunzi, military commanders exercise strategic situationalism, namely, situation-making (zhao shi) to lead an army to victory. Based on the analysis of the Art of war, we delve into Sunzi's philosophical views of humaneness, holism, and dialecticism. We then identify the positive and negative attributes of a leader in relation to strategic leadership. Furthermore, we elaborate Sunzi's strategic situationalism into (a) creating positional advantage in the environment, (b) creating organizational advantage within the organization, (c) building morale within the troops, and (d) leveraging and adapting to situations. Finally we discuss theoretical and practical implications of Sunzi's strategic leadership theory in a global environment. Historical background and philosophical foundations. The exact period of Sunzi's life is the subject of debate. Giles believed (Garvin, 2003) that Sunzi was a contemporary of Confucius in the Spring and Autumn Period in Chinese history (771–481 BCE) whereas Griffith (1971), who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the Art of war, concluded that Sunzi was born a generation after Confucius and that the Art of war was written during the chaotic and turbulent period of the Warring States (453–221 BCE) that followed the Spring and Autumn Period.
Leadership building of cadets
  • N Atanasova-Krasteva
Atanasova-Krasteva N., Leadership building of cadets, Veliko Tarnovo, 2012
Theoretical foundations of national security
  • Semerdjiev Tsv
Semerdjiev Tsv., Theoretical foundations of national security,
Security dimensions, Publ. house “Pradigma”
  • N Slatinski
Slatinski N., Security dimensions, Publ. house "Pradigma",Sofia, 2000