Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Robert Ricketts

Second Advisor

Jeremy Szteiter


Trust and open communication are interdependent and as a post 9/11 career Army leader, I have witnessed what appears to be the erosion of both within the military ranks. Military quality of life and mental health issues are on the rise, with compliance and prevention programs appearing to be less than impactful solutions. The resulting effects of which is a loss of trust and confidence in leadership. The research and findings presented within this synthesis strongly indicate that targeted training on interpersonal communication skills and counseling would simultaneously foster leader development and underpin a culture of trust and open communication. Through discussion on the Army Counseling Program and related curriculum, I demonstrate that the current apprentice style method of teaching counseling, which directly links to the utilization of interpersonal communication skills, is largely ineffective. Using Action Research as a guiding framework for training development, this synthesis examines the potential organizational benefits of implementing a routine and targeted training approach to interpersonal communication skills in military professionals. This synthesis paper serves as the culmination of my inquiry within the Critical and Creative Thinking Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and as such outlines the critical and creative thinking skills utilized throughout this exploration. Finally, as a concerned leader passionate about generating dialogue and creating a culture of trust, I offer potential course materials for interpersonal communications skills training for leaders interested in developing these skills through their leader development programs.