Paying my respect to the Defence Forces

I was presenting a leadership training program recently, and as I did the acknowledgement of country as part of the introduction to our session, one of the attendees asked if I was going to also acknowledge our defence forces, and those people that have given their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom that we do. 

I said that I never have, though absolutely. What a good idea! Their sacrifice has been significant. 

And so we did. And another one of the attendees happened to be ex-military, and of course appreciated the acknowledgement.  

Around the same time as this program was being run, I was in the US, and in that country there really is a high level of gratitude for their service men and women. There are public thanks to their defence force personnel, and they are invited to board planes first, which I think is a great idea. 

It got me thinking. If I was running a leadership program for the defence forces, what would be in one of those programs, and what would it really take to be a strong leader. Leadership is a cornerstone of success in any organisation, but in the defence forces, it must take on a whole new level of significance. Military leaders are entrusted with the lives of their troops and the security of their nation, making their role extremely challenging and demanding. As such, demonstrating the right leadership skills becomes paramount to ensure mission success and the well-being of those under their command.  

I have devoured a range of leadership books from the military from our SAS hero Keith Fennell (Warrior Brothers) to Lief Babin and Jocko Willink (Extreme Ownership), and they are full of grit, determination, and courage.  

I thought I would do more research and see if I could nail some of the leadership skills that are necessary if you were defending our country. Let me know if I got them right! 

1. Decisiveness 

In the defence forces, decisions made by leaders can have immediate and profound consequences. Soldiers look to their leaders for guidance and direction, especially in high-stress and critical situations. Decisiveness is the ability to make timely and sound decisions, even in the face of uncertainty or limited information. 

Defence leaders must weigh the risks and benefits of their choices while considering the potential impact on their troops and the overall mission. The ability to remain calm under pressure and make the tough calls is crucial. Effective leaders in the military understand that not every decision will be perfect, but the key is to act decisively and learn from the outcomes. 

2. Adaptability 

In the ever-changing landscape of military operations, adaptability is a vital leadership skill. Defence forces often face unpredictable challenges, from rapidly shifting enemy tactics to unexpected logistical obstacles. Leaders must be flexible and able to adjust their strategies and plans accordingly. 

Adaptable leaders can thrive in chaotic environments, thinking on their feet and devising new approaches when circumstances evolve. This skill also involves being open to feedback from subordinates, learning from mistakes, and embracing innovation. A leader who can adapt effectively, fosters a resilient and dynamic team that can overcome any obstacle thrown their way. 

3. Integrity 

Integrity is the foundation of leadership in the defence forces. It encompasses honesty, trustworthiness, and ethical behaviour. Soldiers must have complete faith in their leaders, believing that they act with the best interests for their team, and with the mission in mind. 

Integrity also involves leading by example and upholding the core values of the military. When leaders demonstrate a strong moral compass, it resonates with their subordinates and instils a sense of pride and loyalty within the ranks. A leader’s integrity is not only essential in building trust but also in maintaining discipline and cohesion within the unit. 

In summary, in the defence forces, leadership is a matter of life and death. The responsibility of guiding and safeguarding the lives of soldiers, demands a unique set of skills. Decisiveness, adaptability, and integrity are the three most crucial leadership traits that enable military leaders to excel in their roles. 

Have you been in the defence forces, and are the above three leadership skills relevant?

Click the image below to lock in a time to talk through it.  

I partner with leaders who are under pressure, to help them create conscious control, so that they can develop psychologically safe and high performing teams. 

If you would like to work through this with me, please click hereor on the image to book into my calendar.

About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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