Leadership Doctrine

#1
I'm doing some work on a tool to assist young officers out here in Oz put together their personal Leadership Philosophy. The Doctrine we have here is pretty good. I've had a read of the US FM 6-22 etc but would be interested in seeing what is the current chat in the UK. I read somewhere that Comd RMAS had been directed to revise the extant document?
Any assistance would be gratefully received.
Cheers
OzD
 
#2
OzDuke,

There is no ratified Army leadership doctrine document. Shock.

Previous Comdts tried and failed to get a key document written and published. I have a hard copy draft from 2006 which has still not seen the light of day. The reason they tried was logical: leadership is mentioned in almost every other doctrine pamphlet, but there does not appear to be a coherent doctrine from LCpl to General.

There is a Defence Leadership Centre document "Leadership in Defence" which is aimed at Senior Civil Servants and other grownups.
 
#3
It doesn't help that the word 'leadership' covers a range of sins - you only have to look at the number of books on it in Amazon.co.uk to see that. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.....
 
#4
It doesn't help that the word 'leadership' covers a range of sins - you only have to look at the number of books on it in Amazon.co.uk to see that. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.....
Plenty of resources to read. The US FM reads well and I know other armies have equally good doctrine.

I only hope that all the work done by John Adair is not wasted. Here's the link, old I know, that talks of a Drawing up of a definitive leadership document.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3427997.eke

I'm also just reading Patrick Little's 2009 RUSI paper...like it.

OzD
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
HOW TO BE THE BOSS BABOON
1. Display the trappings, postures and gestures of dominance
2. If challenged, threaten your subordinates aggressively
3. Use your superior information to outwit them
4. If that fails, do not shrink from forcibly overpowering them
5. Stamp out their silly squabbles
6. Buy off your immediate subordinates with status symbols
7. Do not let anybody else persecute the weak
8. Direct group choice of social activities
9. Occasionally jolly the bottom ones along
10. Be seen to defend the Empire
Liberally paraphrased from the 'Ten Commandments of Dominance'
(Desmond Morris, 'The Human Zoo')
 
#10
We do have a doctrine (of sorts) for ORs; it's called CLM. 'Command, Leadership and Management' abilities and skills must therefore be assumed for officers, as it's not a formally recorded TO on any career courses afaik (other than the CC). Hmm.
 
#12
#13
Maybe the original request has expired but anyway...

Don't know if you down in Oz have also suffered from the American tinkering with the semantics of leadership?

Being old school, I stick with how Bill Slim saw it:

“There is a difference between leadership and management. Leadership is of the spirit, compounded by personality and vision: its practice is an art. Management is of the mind, more a matter of accurate calculation of statistics, of methods, timetables and routine: its practice is a science.” - Field Marshal Viscount William SLIM of Burma
That said, the good old Sandhurst publication 'Serve to Lead' (new version) is still IMHO essential reading for cadets/subbies. Maybe someone around here can provide a link if it is online (otherwise message me and I'll email you a copy - 240KB)

You may also find the RAF - Leadership 2nd Edition useful.

Oh yes, and if I may add that I am also in agreement with German Captain Adolf Von Schell when he states in the book 'Battle Leadership':

It is certainly correct that leaders, like great artists, are born and not made; but even the born artist requires years of hard study and practice before he masters his art. So it is with the military leader; if he is to learn the art of war, he must practice the tools of his art.
That's what the AOSB is supposed to be about. Selecting those with the gift of leadership. If you ain't got it ...
 
#14
[snip]That's what the AOSB is supposed to be about. Selecting those with the gift of leadership. If you ain't got it ...
Well, based on the dismal performance of our Army in AFG and Eye-Rack, as well as in Procurement in the last 30 years, it's difficult to avoid the conclusion that the folks we've been busy promoting to the top haven't got "It".
======

Brit Army doesn't have a coherent Leadership doctrine: of course it doesn't - to have such a thing would inevitably point up the massive differences between battalions, let alone capbadges, in the way 'leadership' is exercised.

There's also the scary prospect that - looked at critically - what is approved of as 'leadership' in some units might turn out to be something less impressive?
 
#15
Well, based on the dismal performance of our Army in AFG and Eye-Rack, as well as in Procurement in the last 30 years, it's difficult to avoid the conclusion that the folks we've been busy promoting to the top haven't got "It".
Observing from out here in the colonies we have observed with horror/shock/confusion/disappointment. Can't tell what exactly has gone wrong but perhaps one needs to return to the beginning.

Hugh Murray was involved with the early 'more formal' WOSB from 1940 and his document Transformation of Selection Procedures is probably the place to start.

If I recall correctly there were substantial changes made to the Sandhurst system in the 70s the effect of which would only impact on the greater military decades later. Any study been done on that?
 
#16
You can't go far wrong by understanding John Adair's functional approach. We taught this to the Oz national service officer cadets. When Scheyville closed all the course material was archived somewhere. We used '12 O'clock High' as one of the leadership case studies. Many of the quotes in 'Serve to Lead' can be usefully discussed in Adair's framework.

The problem with leadership training is that it means different things to different people in different circumstances, as some of the previous posts show (quality of tactical or operational decisions are not leadership per se even if they are by leaders), but Adair's functional approach provides good foundations.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Used in civilian life too - the Industrial Society used to teach Action-centred Leadership (Team-Task-Individual), also using 12 O'Clock High.

Adair was Scots guards and then Arab Legion for his National Service.
 
#18
You can't go far wrong by understanding John Adair's functional approach. We taught this to the Oz national service officer cadets. When Scheyville closed all the course material was archived somewhere. We used '12 O'clock High' as one of the leadership case studies. Many of the quotes in 'Serve to Lead' can be usefully discussed in Adair's framework.
Like the Americans I suggest Adair has over analyzed to the extent that it is meaningless in the context of combat leadership where the 'leader' himself is at personal risk. Military leadership is tested in wars and as such needs to be selected for during AOSB and officers course. In what passes for civilian leadership are activities like promoting brands, increasing sales turnover etc and even here those who just don't 'have it' fall apart. Read the book 'The Stress Effect - Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions, by Henry L. Thompson The book is interesting if you accept that leadership is conferred on someone through a promotion or an appointment and has nothing to do with the individuals actual 'leadership ability'.


Out there in a combat situation all the theoretical training in the world gets discarded in the stress of the moment and you are stripped down to the real you. This is the point when you know (and others find out) whether you 'have it' or not.

It is for this reason that during officer training simulated stressful circumstances are used to 'test' the cadet as to his ability to provide leadership stripped of any pretense or pose.

The problem with leadership training is that it means different things to different people in different circumstances, as some of the previous posts show (quality of tactical or operational decisions are not leadership per se even if they are by leaders), but Adair's functional approach provides good foundations.
With respect, there is no such thing as leadership training. Read what Von Schell says again:

It is certainly correct that leaders, like great artists, are born and not made; but even the born artist requires years of hard study and practice before he masters his art. So it is with the military leader; if he is to learn the art of war, he must practice the tools of his art.
The gift of leadership is honed through practice (and not through training courses).

Perhaps its time for the military to ignore the bastardized semantics of the modern usage of the word leadership and qualify the military requirement as be 'military leadership' and not just plain leadership which seems to mean nothing.

Finally a repeat of Slim's quote:
“There is a difference between leadership and management. Leadership is of the spirit, compounded by personality and vision: its practice is an art. Management is of the mind, more a matter of accurate calculation of statistics, of methods, timetables and routine: its practice is a science.” - Field Marshal Viscount William SLIM of Burma
 
#19
Combat situations are actually relatively rare in the overall military scheme of things. UK and others rightly recognise 'maintenance of morale' as a primary principle of war. This demands continuous effective leadership at all levels.
 
#20
Combat situations are actually relatively rare in the overall military scheme of things. UK and others rightly recognise 'maintenance of morale' as a primary principle of war. This demands continuous effective leadership at all levels.
I would have thought that with Iraq and now Afghanistan combat exposure would not be 'rare' in the Brit military.

Combat exposure still remains the definitive test of true leadership ability at all levels.

Again one needs to differentiate between war time morale and peace time morale. In war morale is what is needed to keep men fighting when circumstances become difficult and is built around confidence in the skill of their leaders and their mates... and enough sleep with food in the stomach. In peace time morale is seldom tested and a 'manager' type can quite easily keep the troops 'happy'.
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top