High Morale: Lessons from D-Day to the House of Lords …Remember Monty’s pep talks to us on the eve of the invasion? Then the emotional feeling as we threaded our way through the English countryside, heading for our embarkation points. I can recall some barracking dockers as we approached Southampton, shouting to us ‘are you…Details
Field Officer Leadership
A Field Officer has made an important step in the kind of leadership they are required to display. Up until now you’ve been a team leader. You’ve been leading a group of under 150 or so, able to recognise the face of every person you are responsible for. Now (apart from sub-unit command) you’re an organisational leader. The influence you wield over those at the bottom of your organisation is through others. Leadership is exercised much more frequently through writing, policy, planning and creating organisational culture. As a result your influence is wider but can be less satisfying. It also requires some different skills.
This is the Field Officer’s leadership problem: To have the most effect you need to be capable at organisational leadership. To have a happy immediate team you need to use the team leadership skills that your displayed as a junior leader. To go back to John Adair, you need to think about the three circle (task, team and individual) at two levels at once. Organisational leadership will deliver the organisation’s task. But you still have to think about your immediate team’s task, team and individual needs.
If you are tasked to run some leadership development for your subordinates, you’ll find some leadership development videos you can use here. You’ll also find it useful to subscribe to HBR – their business leadership articles are normally focused at the organisational level.
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Make Your Guiding Principles Useful Early in my first tour in the Army I received a copy of an unusual document I’d never come across before. Two sides of A4, typed and headed; it was the Commanding Officer’s Command Philosophy. ‘His philosophy?’, I thought. ‘Does he think he’s Plato?’ Since then I’ve wised up. I’ve…Details
Crossing the Stress Point In the 2003 film Falling Down Bill Foster, Michael Douglas’s divorced and unemployed engineer, descends in a stress induced downward spiral, angrily fighting and shooting his way across LA to make it to his daughter’s birthday. “I’ve passed the point of no return. Do you know what that is, Beth? That’s…Details
Never Off Duty – Are You A Social Role Model Too? Today I watched Padre Johanna Jepson and Lt Col Nick MacKenzie talk at the Centre for Army Leadership. The talk was livestreamed over Facebook. They talked about the inmate rehabilitation programme at Louisiana State Penitentiary in a talk titled ‘Unexpected Leaders: Lessons from Louisiana…Details
Nail Your Meetings! We’ve all sat through horrible meetings. In the Army and in civvie street, no one looks forward to meetings. In the US the average employee spends 37% of their time in meetings and 47% complain that meetings are the number one waste of time in their job. A recent U.K. study showed that the…Details
Trusting Us and Trusting Them – A Leader’s Role – Part 2 In the first part of this article I mentioned the theory that trust is made up of integrity, intent, capability and proven results. In this part I’ll cover the next three ways to build trust between teams. The first, to be honest, is…Details
Trusting Us and Trusting Them – A Leader’s Role – Part 1 In 2015 the NATO Kabul Security Force created a joint UK-US integrated command battalion to provide security in Kabul. With a UK commander and a US Command Sergeant Major, it was the first integrated unit like this since the Korean war. The unit…Details
The Five ‘Universals’ of Great Leaders? “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle I left the Army in 2013 having had an incredible twenty year career. During that time I had the opportunity to lead soldiers in a variety of environments including the most demanding of…Details
Drive The Power Train One of the seven Leadership Code behaviours is ‘Encourage Confidence in the Team’. The guide to the Code says that leaders should inspire and motivate their team by showing confidence in their abilities and talking enthusiastically about success. Inspirational motivation. Fine words. But what does that actually mean? ‘Encourage Confidence in…Details
RSM Common Sense It’s 2002. I’m a newly promoted Cpl in the Vikings waiting to go in front of the CO and be read my Section Commanders’ Battle Course report. I am arrogant, overzealous and thirsty to fight any enemy that comes my way. The only thing that matters in my bubble is the 10…Details
A Junior Officer’s Thoughts on Staff Leadership We are taught to equate military leadership with the adrenaline and tempo of operations in the field, yet the reality is that many of our opportunities to exercise good leadership are actually in the different (but still challenging) environment of a staff headquarters. Staff roles, even staff leadership…Details
Clive Woodward’s Teamship 22nd of November 2003. In the Telstra stadium the Australian Rugby team faced off England in the Rugby World Cup final. Australia, the hosts, took an early lead in a physically brutal match but England gradually pulled ahead towards the end of the first half. There then followed a nail-biting second half.…Details
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Don’t Airbrush Leadership On 15th and 16th of May 2017, 13 members of the Brigade of Gurkhas stood on the summit of Mount Everest, the first serving Gurkhas ever to do so. The Gurkha Everest Expedition 2017 was the culmination of a 5 year journey. It was the most successful mountaineering expedition on Everest in…Details
Five Reflections on Building a Mission Command Culture – Part 2 In Part 1 I gave what I think are the first two rules of thumb for a mission command culture. Rules based on establishing your intent and communicating it. The next three rules are about creating a culture of trust and the freedom to…Details
Five Reflections on Building a Mission Command Culture – Part 1 Mission command is more than just the British and US Armys’ philosophy of command – it’s more or less the NATO philosophy of command. It’s founded on the clear expression of intent by commanders, and the freedom of subordinates to act to achieve that…Details