DIRECTOR GENERAL LEADERSHIP
Developing Leaders A British Army Guide
Conditions of Release This information is Crown Copyright and the intellectual property rights for this publication belong exclusively to the Ministry of Defence (MOD). No material or information contained in this publication should be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form outside MOD establishments except as authorised by either the sponsor or the MOD. This information may be subject to privately owned rights. Edition 1 January 2014 Authorisation This guide is written on behalf of Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst who is also Director General (DG) Leadership. As DG Leadership he is responsible for leadership development in the British Army up to Lieutenant Colonel Level. Readers wishing to quote this guide as reference material in other work should confirm first with SO2 Leadership at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Comments to improve the guide should be sent to; SO2 Leadership Academy Headquarters, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 4PQ Email: RMAS-HQ-SO2LDRSHIP
Thanks to; The contributors named elsewhere in the guide. The Sandhurst Collection, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The Central Library, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Foreword Director General Leadership
Leadership has played a key role, over the centuries, in enabling the British Army to survive, endure and succeed. There are also very clear examples in our history where leadership has been lacking. Developments in the physical and conceptual components have had significant influence and brought about huge changes in the way that campaigns and battles are conducted, but conflict, and land conflict in particular, remains a very human endeavour. It was leadership at all levels that held the thin red line, maintained morale in the trenches, motivated troops on the beaches of Normandy and, more recently, ensured our tactical success in the Falkland Islands and Helmand. Effective leadership will be essential if the British Army is to succeed in the future. It is predicted that the environment in which land forces will operate will become increasingly complex. This complexity will require expert leadership. The Army is clear that the unpredictable nature of future conflict requires that people remain agile, able to adapt, adjust and shape the future battlefield. This guide is written with the intention of ensuring that leadership in the British Army is developed to meet the current and future need. The audience is wide, deliberately so, as the central tenants of Army leadership hold true across regiments, roles and ranks; all leaders need to be true to the Values of the organisation, to have a thorough knowledge of their profession, and to be constantly developing themselves and others, building teams and achieving tasks. The way in which this is enacted will vary, but the essential building blocks remain constant. Leaders should read and understand this guide and use it as the basis of developing themselves and those they lead. It ought to provide the framework for leadership teaching and education on training courses. The application of the guide will vary. For example, at a junior rank an issue may be taught as the basis for Army leadership, but at a more senior rank people may be asked to write / discuss a critique of the same issue or compare it to an academic theory. While some academic leadership theories are reflected in this guide, it is deliberately not tied to a particular theory. Rather, it is born of practice and experience. Inevitably, this guide is imperfect and incomplete. It is designed to give guidance, but also to generate thought and debate. If you find yourself thinking about or discussing leadership because you agree or disagree with what is written here then the aim is being achieved. This is a living document and thoughts on the guide and suggestions for improvement are welcomed; they will help to shape future versions to ensure that the Army leaders receive the best possible material to assist them in improving their own and their team’s performance.
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PART A - PERSPECTIVE Introduction 1 Purpose Audience Structure The Context of Army Leadership 3 The Moral Component Parameters of Leadership Leadership Situations Leadership Framework PART B - WHAT LEADERS ARE, KNOW AND DO What Leaders Are 13 The Core Values Courage Discipline Respect for Others Integrity Loyalty Selfless Commitment The Army’s Standards Lawful Appropriate Professional Additional Characteristics Example Responsible Influential What Leaders Know 29 Professional Competence Problem Solving and Decision Making Innovating Communication What Leaders Do 39 Cross themes Vision Support Challenge Develop Self Others Build Teams Give Purpose Develop Cohesion Raise Standards Empower Achieve
Contents Chapter 6
Appendix 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
PART C - ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP Adaptive Leadership 61 Leading in Stress Leading in Change Leading at Staff Leading without Authority PART D - FOOD FOR THOUGHT Synopsis of a selection of books relevant to military leadership; 77 The Path to Leadership. Field Marshal Montgomery Command in War. Martin Van Creveld On the Psychology of Military Incompetence. Norman Dixon 18 Platoon. Sydney Jary Bad Leadership: What it is, How it Happens, Why it Matters. Brian Kellerman Leadership: theory and practice. Peter G. Northouse Once a Warrior King. David Donnovan From the City from the Plough and The Human Kind. Alexander Baron Quartered Safe out Here. George MacDonald Fraser
Appendix 2 A Synopsis of Professor Richard Holmes’ ’10 Diseases of Leadership’ with suggestions for further discussion.
Appendix 3 A guide for improving decision making through an understanding of the mental processes involved.
Appendix 4 Summary of; How People Think as described in 90 JDN 3/11: Decision-Making and Problem Solving: Human and Organisational Factors. Professor Karen Carr, Cranfield University. Appendix 5 Moral dilemmas for thought and for use as the basis for discussion on ethical decision making.
Appendix 6 Information on the Army’s 360 Degree Self-Awareness Survey designed to improve self-awareness and performance.
Appendix 7 A leadership Decision / Action model for discussion.
Appendix 8 An essay on leadership by the Chaplain General, General J Woodhouse.
Appendix 9 ‘Pointing North’ an essay on leadership at the platoon level by Capt P Bury.
Appendix 10 An essay on Military Ethics by Dr Patrick Mileham.
Appendix 11 Factors in Negotiation.
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‘Some day you may have to lead men into battle and ask them to do their duty, and you will do it through Love. You must always put them first. If you arrive somewhere half destroyed, half exhausted at the end of a hard march, do you worry about your food, your bed, and your rest? No you do not. You must make sure they are fed, rested and have somewhere to sleep. You must make sure arrangements are made for their safety and guards placed, runners sent, whatever is necessary, and it will be a lot. But, if you do this you’ll find that you never have to worry about yourself, because as you look after them, so they will look after you. As they come to know that you love and care for them, so they will love you, and through love for you and for one another they will be the best soldiers the world has seen.’ General Sir Patrick Howard-Dobson
Purpose 101. Leadership is the life blood of an army. This guide is intended to be of practical use for leaders. It emphasises the moral element of Army leadership, highlights what is expected of Army leaders and aims to shape Army leader development to improve individual and collective performance. It does not purport to be the sole source of information on leadership. Indeed, it is intended to encourage further broad study of leadership by Army leaders and contains many recommendations of how to take such development further. Audience 102. This guide is intended for all Privates to Lieutenant Colonels, the group for which DG Leadership is the leadership proponent.
Part A : Chapter 1
Structure 103. This guide consists of 5 further chapters and appendices designed to stimulate further thought: PART A - PERSPECTIVE a. Chapter 2 The Context of Army Leadership explains the unique demands of Army leadership and why Army culture is different from elsewhere. It summarises the development of the traditions and ethos on which Army leadership is built. PART B - WHAT LEADERS ARE, KNOW AND DO b. Chapter 3 What Leaders Are demonstrates that Army leadership is founded on the Core Values and Standards. It then outlines the three other elements; that Army leaders must set the Example and be Responsible and Influential. c. Chapter 4 What Leaders Know looks at key areas of the profession that facilitate effective leadership. These things are not leadership behaviours in themselves, but they enable leadership in the Army environment. d. Chapter 5 What Leaders Do examines the three key activities of a leaders; Developing themselves and others, Building Teams and Achieving results. PART C - ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP e. Chapter 6 Adaptive leadership covers four areas where leadership will be required and tested in specific ways; Leading in Stress, Leading in Change, Leading at Staff and Leading without Authority. PART D - FOOD FOR THOUGHT f. Appendices designed to enable a deeper examination of issues raised in the guide and to encourage and signpost options for further study. 104. Caveat. It should be stressed that this guide is not prescriptive or exhaustive. Nor is it Doctrine. The Army is not seeking to change personal leadership styles – it is a guide, not an order. As J F C Fuller highlights below, even doctrine is designed to provoke thought, not suppress it. “In itself the danger of a doctrine is that it is apt to ossify into dogma, and to be seized upon by mental emasculates who lack virility of judgement and who are only too grateful to rest assured that their actions, however inept, find justification in a book, which if they think at all, is, in their opinion, written in order to exonerate them from doing so”. Major General JFC Fuller
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‘Man is still the first weapon of war’ Field Marshal Montgomery
Part A : Chapter 2
The context of Army Leadership
201. Components of Fighting Power. The ability to operate - fighting power can be broken down into 3 components; conceptual (the ideas behind how we operate and fight), physical (the means to operate and fight) and moral (the ability to get people to operate and fight)1. 202. The Moral Component. Leadership underpins the moral component - the human element - of fighting power. Success on operations is dependent on the human component to a greater degree than equipment or tactics; an enduring theme reflected in Montgomery’s quote opposite. People determine not only the outcome of an individual engagement, but whether or not a force retains its moral legitimacy. Army leaders need to be the cutting edge of the force, leading by example from the front, innovating and shaping values and behaviours to ensure that the force performs well, without moral blemish. In so doing the Army can retain its legitimacy and the support of the Nation. Higher Level Doctrine (Philosophy & Principles)
Lower Level Doctrine (Practices & Procedures)
Understanding of Conflict & Context
Education, Innovation and Lessons
Conceptual Component Motivation
Moral Component Moral Cohesion
Sustainability Capability Development
The Components of Fighting Power – taken from ADP Operations, Chapter 2.
‘The moral component provides the Army’s ability to get its people to fight. It is built upon 3 priceless commodities: ethical foundations, moral cohesion and motivation.’ ADP Operations, Chapter 2, Paragraph 0218
203. Army Leadership. Effective leadership in the British Army is characterised by the projection of personality and purpose onto people and situations in order to prevail in the most demanding circumstances. For this to be moral, just and acceptable it must be underpinned by moral values and to be truly authentic, practised by all ranks.
The components of Fighting Power are covered in greater detail in ADP Operations Chapter 2.
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204. Leadership Scope. Leadership is such a powerful yet intangible property that there have been an abundance of attempts to define and quantify it. We all recognise good and bad leaders, but encapsulating its essence has proved elusive, as demonstrated by the range of examples below. This chapter does not seek to limit leadership to a single definition but rather to establish its context and role within the Army.
‘Leadership is the capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which will inspire confidence…but must be based on a moral authority – the truth’.
‘Leadership is the art of achieving more than the science of management says is possible’ Colin Powell. 65th United States Secretary of State
Field Marshal Montgomery
‘Leadership is about the ability to inspire, develop and reinforce in ourselves and others the Core Values of the British Army so that we ‘Do the right thing on a difficult day, when no one is watching’
‘I would define it [leadership] as the projection of personality. It is that combination of persuasion, compulsion and example that makes other people do what you want them to do.’
ARTD Values Based Leadership handbook
Field Marshal Slim2
205. Command, Leadership and Management. The relationship between the concepts of command, leadership and management is often blurred. Command has a legal status as the authority vested in an individual for the direction, coordination and control of military forces. Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) Operations states that ‘The 3 classical constituents of command, which overlap, are decision-making, leadership and control’3. Thus leadership is requisite for those who exercise the function of command, but it also operates where there is no command authority. Unlike command, the power of leadership is not established through military law and vested authority. Rather, leadership achieves ends by ‘persuasion, compulsion and example’4. It is dynamic and inspirational. The quotation below shows how empathy, a personal touch and inspiration augmented Napoleon’s command authority with charismatic leadership;
‘No examination of Napoleon’s qualities as a commander can be even partially complete without a reference to his formidable abilities as a leader of men. A good understanding of the native qualities of the French soldier, a knack for resounding phrases, an encyclopaedic memory for faces, often assisted by careful, but wellconcealed homework and a talent for stage management - all these are indispensable for understanding why so many followed him for so long. A hard task master, Napoleon was as sparing of praise as he was generous (and prompt) to reward when rewards were called for…he demanded the impossible so as to extract the possible…on the whole few men were better served by their subordinates.’ Martin Van Creveld, Command in War5
In the Army, management and leadership are important and are interdependent. Some see management as the business of resources, efficiency, and certainty and leadership as the source of vision, support and challenge. It can be useful to consider management as taking people in a direction that they would follow naturally in an organised manner and leadership as inspiring people to take a journey against their instincts. However, the two overlap. Appraisal reports illustrate this. By completing them on time, a management function has been fulfilled; by investing effort in an individual and his career a leader is building trust and fostering loyalty. The following example shows how a popular and charismatic leader was ultimately undermined by his poor management; ‘There was a captain I served with at regimental duty who was one of the most humorous, approachable and charismatic officers we knew. He made a very strong first impression on the men in his company; he was a natural leader and soon they adored him. We envied this rapport and he was often invited into that inner sanctum of regimental life, the Sergeants’ Mess. Unfortunately, he was idle when it came to administration and harboured contempt for “bureaucracy”. Unsurprisingly, the soldiers and noncommissioned officers cottoned onto this. Once appraisal reports were late and warrant officers had to cover his armoury checks, the atmosphere changed. His invitations dried up and by the time he was posted, they were bad-mouthing him. For all his affability, he never earned respect.’ An anonymous Captain at Regimental Duty
There is also a symbiotic relationship between leadership and management at the organisational level. If there is an imbalance, then the establishment suffers. Organisations where there is leadership, but a lack of management, tend to depend too much on a charismatic figure and have great ideas, but
Field Marshal Slim, Australian Army Journal, September 1957, pp. 5-13. Command is covered in greater detail in ADP Operations Chapter 6 and not considered further in this guide. Field Marshal Slim. Matin Van Creveld, Command in War, Harvard University Press, London, England, 1985. P64.
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be too chaotic and without the structures to implement them. Where management exists without leadership, the organisation is generally dependable, but resistant to change and lacking inspiration and vision. While civilian companies tend to be management heavy, the significance of leadership in the Army can wrongly lead to a lack of focus on, or even a disparaging view of, management. 206. Unique Circumstances. The Military Covenant reflects the unique responsibilities, roles and requirements of the Armed Forces. a. Armed Forces. The Armed Forces are the only organisations that have the right to bear arms in deliberate offensive action. All members of the Armed Forces swear an Oath of Allegiance that recognises a contract of Unlimited Liability6. This liability to both risk and take life is no small matter and places the most demanding pressures on leadership.
b. Land Warfare. The land environment differs from the others as combat on land typically involves closer and more human interaction than stand-off, platform-centric sea and air based operations. This places specific demands on our leaders.
Unlimited Liability: a term coined by General Sir John Hackett in 1983. It describes the fact that, on becoming a soldier one gives up individual rights, accepts collective standards which contribute to the common good, and undertakes, in the last analysis, to kill or be killed for a purpose in which one may have no personal interest.
207. Ethos. The unique demands placed upon the Army have carved its ethos. The source is rooted in the Army’s past, in the society from which it springs and the enduring requirements of the profession of arms. In return the Army’s ethos binds the Army together and shapes its Values and Standards, the substance of which has been exemplified time and again in the history of the Army. The essence of this ethos is duty - to subordinates, peers, superiors, the mission and the Crown. This is epitomised by General Wolfe’s dying words at Quebec in 1759; ‘Thank God I have done my duty.’
Painting of General Wolfe’s last moments in Quebec
208. Environment. Leaders at every level set the tone, or environment, of the Army. In order to achieve an environment that is considered ‘ethical’ where there is a shared understanding and practice of what is considered ‘right’ by the Army and nation - the ethos, and Values (Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless Commitment) and Standards (Lawful, Appropriate and Professional) need to be routinely articulated, discussed and supported. The environment of the Army can be broken down into two subsets; a. Culture. The culture of the Army is the environment experienced in general across the organisation; it is relatively stable and resistant to short term changes. It is maintained and overseen by the Army’s strategic leaders, but, over time, will be shaped by the views and behaviour of the individuals in the organisation.
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b. Climate. The climate of the organisation is the environment experienced in specific parts, teams or units of the Army; it can change relatively quickly and is highly dependent upon the situation and people. The smaller the team the more quickly this change may occur. For example a Section Commander can change the climate of their organisation within hours, whereas it would take a Battalion or Brigade commander much longer. 209. Reputation. The ethos and environment of the Army - and hence conduct - shape its external reputation. The Army’s status as a legitimate force is, therefore, predicated on all soldiers’ behaviours being driven by the Core Values and Standards. Army leaders are responsible for ensuring that this is the case.
Leadership situations 210. Overview. Leadership is always necessary, but it is likely that leaders will come to the fore during times of change where there is instability and uncertainly. Conversely in stable environments the charismatic leader may find their effect deadened in the face of management certainties which are dependable and maintain the status-quo. 211. Operations. Land operations have always required leaders to overcome fear, stress, privation, fatigue, uncertainty and discomfort to out-think the enemy and to succeed in rapidly changing situations. This will not change. Leaders must be able to filter and absorb complexity and ambiguity to produce clear and coherent direction. The difficulty of this was recognised by Winston Churchill; ‘True genius resides in the capacity for the evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.’ Globalisation, and the proliferation of established and social media, mean that every decision made by Army leaders can have consequences far beyond the battlefield, placing leaders under ever more scrutiny. In such an environment, courageous leaders with strong teams, bound by mutual trust, are necessary to implement scrupulously Mission Command7 and to make wise judgements in ambiguous circumstances. 212. Staff. Dislocation of home-based headquarters to the force in theatre, and of staff from those on the ground, has caused friction throughout history. Wellington certainly felt this, as evidenced in his letter below to the Secretary of State for war during the Peninsular Campaign. Physical separation, can undermine cohesion and the empathy necessary for successful operations. Those at staff should do all they can to develop understanding and must have the moral courage to challenge established norms and the ‘group think’ that can suppress originality.
‘My Lord, If I attempted to answer the mass of futile correspondence which surrounds me, I should be debarred from the serious business of campaigning... So long as I retain an independent position, I shall see no officer under my command is debarred by attending to the futile drivelling of mere quill-driving from attending to his first duty, which is and always has been to train the private men under his command that they may without question beat any force opposed to them in the field.‘ Field Marshal Wellington, 1812
213. Training. Rommel expressed the view that the best form of welfare is training. As the rehearsal for operations, training is where all manner of foundations are laid: professional competence, the culture of organisations and innovative approaches through experimentation. Training is where teams develop trust and comradeship. For a leader, training might seem less challenging than operations, but there are subtle complexities. Training must be well resourced, demanding and realistic, yet if troops are worked too hard then they will lose sight of the objective and resent authority. High standards need to be set for subordinates, but also mistakes tolerated, otherwise the leader smothers initiative and stifles a ‘learning environment’. Recruit training is particularly important in this regard as young soldiers are at their most impressionable and the tone is set for their careers. 214. Barracks. While it may be operational leadership that grabs headlines most Army leadership takes place in barracks. The standards and example set in barracks will determine behaviour in the operational environment and it is here that trust and respect are cultivated. Many of an Army leaders most testing leadership challenges are likely to occur in barracks where discipline and standards have to be maintained without the focus of operations. 7.
Mission Command is covered in greater detail in ADP Operations Chapter 6-9.
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215. Recruiting. Recruiting is an act of leadership. The changing nature of society means that individuals joining the Army today are likely to have a different view of authority to their forefathers. Equally, they may require more training and education to embrace the Army’s Values and Standards. Recruiters must adjust their approach and employ a wide array of leadership tools to be as effective as possible.
Leadership Framework 216. Overview. This guide uses the below framework to describe leadership and as the structure for the next three chapters. There are three components of the framework; a. What leaders are (Chapter 3); The embodiment of Values and Standards, The Example, Responsible and Influential. b. What leaders know (Chapter 4); Professional Competence. c. What leaders do (Chapter 5); Develop, Build Teams and Achieve. What Leaders ‘are’ and what they ‘do’ is what makes a leader in general. The input of Professional Competence is what enables effective leadership in the specific environment of the Army.
WHAT LEADERS ARE
VALUES AND STANDARDS
WHAT LEADERS KNOW
WHAT LEADERS DO
THE EXAMPLE RESPONSIBLE INFLUENTIAL
PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE Effective Intelligence Mental Agility
DEVELOP Develop Self Develop Others
BUILD TEAMS Set Direction Develop Cohesion Raise Standards Empower
ACHIEVE Get Results
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‘All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing’ Edmund Burke 13 |
Part B : Chapter 3
What Leaders Are: the Character of an Army leader
301. Values. Ethos shapes values. Values drive behaviour. The Army’s Core Values distil what it is to be a British soldier. Leaders must fully embody these values and set a consistent and strong example, both on and off duty. To effectively communicate the importance and relevance of the Core Values, leaders should personalise them, speaking of why the Values are important to them and how they impact upon their own lives. However, merely preaching the Core Values will achieve little. It is only by living them that they are effectively conferred. Teams are at their most cohesive, and therefore most effective, where values are shared and trust is implicit.
‘It is singular how a man loses or gains respect with his comrades from his behaviour. The officers too are commented on and closely observed. The men are very proud of those who are brave in the field and kind and considerate to the soldiers under them.’ Rifleman Harris, Recollections of a Rifleman
The Army’s Values set it apart from society. The Army should reflect the society from which it is drawn and that it serves. It ought only to be different where it needs to be. It is the nature of operations that necessitates this difference and that requires those joining the force to ensure their values and behaviours are consistent with the Army’s.
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302. Style. Each leader’s style is their own. And none should deny their own character - they will soon be identified as a fraud and so lack credibility. The situation and personalities involved will shape a leader’s style, as will the manner in which control is exercised. For example, a section commander located with his section may use their personal example whereas a battlegroup commander who controls his sub-units on a radio net from a headquarters might utilise other means. This guide is designed to enable leaders to develop themselves and others, not to dictate a style of leadership.
The Army’s Core Values 303. Courage. Courage can be seen in two sub-categories; moral and physical: an Army leader needs both. a. Moral Courage. The preparedness to ‘do the right thing’ and make the hard decision is the mark of moral courage. ‘Do as you ought, not as you want.’ Major General PC Marriott, Commandant RMA Sandhurst 2012
Moral courage underpins all the other values; it is the catalyst that enables them to be realised. There will be times when a leader’s decisions are unpopular, risk reputation and even life. It is the bedrock upon which fighting spirit and operational success depends. While it can be easy to focus on physical courage, the quotation below shows that moral courage can be harder to find; ‘Over the years many officers have said, and some have shown, that they are prepared to give their lives for their men. However, there appear to be very few who have been willing to sacrifice their career.’ Moral courage is the currency of respect and is most often displayed in everyday situations. It is as much the preserve of life in barracks and on the staff as it is on operations. The more it is practised the more natural and instinctive it becomes. By exercising it in peace time a leader is setting the precedent for operational challenges; establishing standards and making their reputation. Moral courage may be particularly tested when deployed in dispersed and isolated locations, at distance from the chain of command, when it is easy for standards to slip and operational effectiveness to suffer. Knowing that their leader has moral courage will oblige soldiers to act ethically, legally and appropriately and can contribute significantly to generating physical courage.
Case Study: The Battle of Loos, Sept - Nov 1915. Joffre, the French Commander-in-Chief, insisted on a British attack at Loos, to support his own offensive in Artois and Champagne. Sir John French, commanding the British Expeditionary Force, and Haig, commanding 1st Army, were both reluctant to attack in this sector. French was concerned that there were insufficient shells for his guns, and that consequently the artillery preparation would be inadequate. Haig was well aware that the ground at Loos strongly favoured the German defence, with a large slag heap commanding the surrounding countryside, and numerous watchtowers, quarries, pits and miners huts contributing to the strength of the position. Despite these grave reservations, both French and Haig did not object when Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, approved Joffre’s idea. Gary Mead describes French’s dilemma in his biography of Haig: ‘Sir John was in an awkward position: as the now very junior partner of the alliance on the Western Front, he had been committed by Kitchener to fall into line with Joffre’s plans even though his most senior general, Haig, had clearly stated that a frontal assault at Loos would result in needless slaughter… Neither French nor Haig considered resigning in protest against orders they had previously strongly opposed. It was a moment for both when conscience perhaps wrestled with ambition, and ambition - or if we feel generous, duty - won.’ After a haphazard start in which the British gas attack drifted back on their own assembled troops, the offensive did break into the German first line and succeeded in taking the town of Loos. It failed however to break into the strongly held German second line and to break through to the town of Lens. Although the battle dragged on until November, with around 60,000 Allied casualties, the attack had essentially failed in its first two days.
b. Physical Courage. At the heart of physical courage lies tenacity, selfcontrol, the will to win and resilience to endure sustained danger, hardship and privation. Leaders have to face the same extreme physical dangers as everyone else, often more. No leader can expect to put those for whom they are responsible into perilous situations, unless they are prepared to accept the same dangers themselves. Subordinates must know that this is the case. Fear in combat is inescapable, and all will have varying levels of tolerance to it. Leaders must overcome fear, whilst giving individual consideration to its effect on their subordinates. ‘At times I was afraid. I made no bones about it, particularly when talking to the soldiers after the event, because there is no shame in it. The shame lies in not being able to conquer it.’ Squadron leader, Afghanistan
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Corporal Bryan Budd VC PARA assaulting an insurgent position to enable the recovery of wounded personnel. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for this action.8
Fear is contagious, especially from a leader, so it is essential to control and conceal personal fear and retain a calm and confident manner - both faceto-face and on the radio. The mantra; grip self - grip men - grip situation, may assist when dealing with fear. A leader’s gallantry sustains the fortitude of those around him. ‘All men are frightened. The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened. The courageous man is the man who forces himself despite the fear to carry on. Discipline, pride, self-respect, self confidence and love of Glory are attributes which will make a man courageous even when he is afraid.‘ General George S Patton Jr9
304. Discipline. The subordination of personal considerations to the collective interest is the essence of self-discipline. Leaders set the tone and must look to develop self-discipline in others through personal example. Engendering pride in the high standards that set the Army apart can significantly contribute to this process. A balanced approach is needed to ensure that adherence to instruction does not curtail initiative, tactical cunning and Mission Command. Discipline need not be punitive. Leaders should recognise human fallibility and deal with people with humanity and compassion. No-one is perfect and severe punishments for minor misdemeanours can lead to a breakdown in morale. However, when required, leaders must enforce the Army’s discipline processes, which may require moral courage. Subordinate leaders should be educated about the discipline system. Whenever possible their decisions should be supported because overturning their sanctions can lead to a lack of faith in the chain of command and unwillingness to take hard decisions in the future. Painting by Stuart Brown of Skipper Press. http://www.skipperpress.com/default.htm General S Patton, ‘War As I Knew It’, 1947.
305. Respect for Others. Treating others as we would wish to be treated ourselves is not only a legal obligation, it is a creed that builds effective organisations with a positive outlook, where team members feel valued and motivated. We are all different. These differences should not only be tolerated, but lauded and encouraged. The variety of viewpoints within a diverse organisation make it more likely to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, to arrive at innovative solutions or find the most effective approach. There is a difference between being fair and being equal; the key is to treat all fairly and as they deserve, according to their merits, potential and contribution. This should ensure that the right people are selected for roles and advancement for the right reasons and so maximise organisational effectiveness in the short and long term. Treating all fairly also ensures that actions are not only within the letter, but also the spirit, of the law and beyond reproach. This will be tested, particularly on operations where Army leaders must display humanity and compassion to the dead, wounded, detainees, interpreters, local nationals, indigenous forces and others. This moral imperative carries practical implications, as shown in the following example: ‘The Afghan National Army (ANA) part of our patrol was hit by an IED, causing casualties including one soldier killed. The ANA thought that the locals nearby might have had something to do with the IEDs or at least would have known where they were and so could have warned them. They started to round up locals and handle them roughly. They then started to get the locals to pick up the bits of body that were in an area where IEDs were still active and to threaten and hit them with their weapons. I had to step in - and rushed forward to prevent this abuse. It seriously damaged my relationship with the ANA commander, but I just couldn’t let them treat the locals in this manner. Not only did I think that it would damage our relationship with the locals and so make our task harder, but I knew deep down that it was just wrong and so I could not stand by and let it happen.’ Company Commander, Afghanistan
Troops from foreign countries, be they other contributing nations or indigenous forces, can have a different moral outlook. While they might not be under direct command, there is a moral obligation to act in certain circumstances. The local population may see British forces as complicit in any corruption or mistreatment: or at least too weak, morally and militarily, to prevent it. This can damage perceptions of the British Army and endanger mission success. However, so can damaging relationships with allies. These judgements are not always easy.
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An Army’s actions are judged domestically and internationally, not only on whether or not success is attained, but by the methods used to achieve it and the conduct within the organisation. The conduct of our forces in barracks, training and operations directly impacts on the reputation of the organisation, which influences significantly recruiting and national and international credibility. Leaders must educate their subordinates to show them the value of respect for others, thus ensuring that their behaviours are in line with legal statutes and national expectations. We are not above the law.
Case Study: Counter-insurgency in Malaya ‘Then one day a young NCO student attending a course rose to his feet… “Sir, some of us are worried by the behaviour of the police parties which accompany our patrols… they often take such private property as they want [and] make the villagers prepare their meals. I know that on occasion they force the village girls, and the parents are too afraid to report it, or because we let it happen they think we British sanction it and to report it would be useless…”. I’ll include your information in my report which goes direct to GHQ” I said. “Is there anything else?”. “Yes, Sir”, continued this young NCO. “What really worries us is the use of torture to get information.” … when the subject worried a young NCO enough to force him to his feet, it was an indication that he was losing belief in his higher leadership and something had to be done about it. A few weeks later I was on an operation with a battalion to which was attached a Police Major and about ten constables.. of the Malay Police. We surrounded a village at dawn and as usual found only women and children, together with three very old and wizened Chinese men. These were herded into a mob by the police and the Major addressed them in; “We know about forty bandits were sheltering here last night” he said in Malay “Where have they gone?”. No one knew anything about the bandits or if they did they also knew that it was certain death to say so. Who can trust who in guerrilla warfare, unless the whole country is united? “Bring that man out here” ordered the Major, pointing to one of the old men. Two constables grabbed the man and then in front of the villagers, in front of the troops and in front of his own police, the Major tortured the man for the next quarter of an hour until the wretch fainted through fear and pain. I made no move, and watched the whole thing through from beginning to end, and then had an eye-witness report complete with time, date, place and names of those concerned. On receiving this report the General left his HQ and flew down to the Jungle Warfare School, signalling in advance that he wished to address the students personally. “Gentlemen” he began “some weeks ago I received a report that our forces were shooting local civilians out of hand, and were using torture to extract information. I immediately made the most careful enquiries from my heads of departments, and particularly from the Commissioner of the Police himself and I was convinced on their assurances that the report had no factual foundation whatsoever. Two days ago I received a second report, which claimed to be eye-witness, and which I strongly denounce. I assure you gentlemen that the police are doing a splendid job in co-operation with you. Our forces do not use torture or kill indiscriminately, and I hope you won’t listen to the damaging propaganda circulating that we do.” The General concluded with a pep talk. “We’ve got the bandits beaten, gentlemen, and it won’t be long now before the last of them emerges from the jungle and gives himself up. You men have done a splendid job, and I know I can rely on you to keep up the pressure until the end”. I sat back absolutely dumbfounded. Good ends never can justify bad means for the simple reason that it is the means which shape the end, the cause which shapes the effect. “As ye sow so shall ye reap” - we have the free will to sow whatever seed we please, but the harvest is inevitable in accordance with the seed. That is one unchanging law which even a General can not alter, as any gardener knows.’ Maj A Hayter, The Second Step
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306. Integrity. The Army expects all soldiers to be true to themselves, to be honest, to face up to reality, to stand up for what is right, and to uphold moral and ethical values in any situation. This is to be the case even when showing integrity may disadvantage a career or even risk life. By displaying integrity leaders will build trust. Others will know that their leader always makes decisions based on the greater good, not for personal gain or to conform; not to try and cover up mistakes or shift blame elsewhere. They will know that their leader is always open and honest and deals with people fairly - not influenced by discrimination or bias. This will engender a culture of openness where errors are aired early, allowing rapid correction. Leaders with integrity are honest with themselves about their own performance, showing subordinates that they are prepared to own-up to their own shortcomings. To foster integrity leaders need to be careful not to punish people for their honesty; while the shortfall may require disciplinary action, too harsh an approach could deter others from displaying such integrity and lead to future issues being concealed.
Case Study - Lieutenant Terence Edward Waters GC
Lieutenant Waters was captured subsequent to the Battle of the Imjin River, 22-25 April, 1951. By this time he had sustained a serious wound in the top of the head and yet another most painful wound in the arm as a result of this action. On the journey to Pyongyang with other captives, he set a magnificent example of courage and fortitude in remaining with wounded other ranks on the march, whom he felt it his duty to care for to the best of his ability. Subsequently, after a journey of immense hardship and privation, the party arrived at an area west of Pyongyang adjacent to P.W. Camp 12 and known generally as “The Caves” in which they were held captive. They found themselves imprisoned in a tunnel driven into the side of a hill through which a stream of water flowed continuously, flooding a great deal of the floor in which were packed a great number of South Korean and European prisoners-of-war in rags, filthy, crawling with lice. In this cavern a number died daily from wounds, sickness or merely malnutrition : they fed on two small meals of boiled maize daily. Of medical attention there was none. Lieutenant Waters appreciated that few, if any, of his numbers would survive these conditions, in view of their weakness and the absolute lack of attention for their wounds. After a visit from a North Korean Political Officer, who attempted to persuade them to volunteer to join a prisoner-of-war group known as “Peace Fighters” (that is, active participants in the propaganda movement against their own side) with a promise of better food, of medical treatment and other amenities as a reward for such activity - an offer that was refused unanimously - he decided to order his men to pretend to accede to the offer in an effort to save their lives. This he did, giving the necessary instructions to the senior other rank with the party, Sergeant Hoper, that the men would go upon his order without fail. Whilst realising that this act would save the lives of his party, he refused to go himself, aware that the task of maintaining British prestige was vested in him. Realising that they had failed to subvert an officer with the British party, the North Koreans now made a series of concerted efforts to persuade Lieutenant Waters to save himself by joining the camp. This he steadfastly refused to do. He died a short time after.
307. Loyalty. Faithful representation of another’s interests, even above your own, constitutes loyalty. This quality can transform groups of disparate individuals into cohesive teams that achieve far more than the sum of their parts. Army leaders must simultaneously display loyalty in a variety of directions; up, down and sideways. Whilst loyalty to subordinates is a self-evident duty, leaders also owe loyalty to the chain of command: passing down instructions as if they were their own - even when they don’t agree
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with them. Disloyalty, such as undermining a commander or not properly representing those you lead, dismembers teams and leads to infighting. The cancerous effect of disloyalty is shown in the following quote. ‘Our Commanding Officer had the misfortune to follow an extremely popular Colonel. Being a relative unknown quantity, he struggled from the start to command the same level of affection. He found the battalion resistant to his changes and subordinates imbued with an attitude of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. His decisions and orders, largely concerned with the minutiae of in-barracks life, were perceived as unnecessary and fatuous. The Majors and Captains moaned about him in the mess and made up unflattering nick-names. This attitude soon spread to impressionable subalterns and equally rapidly found itself communicated to the soldiers, with orders being passed-on with such caveats as “the CO wants this done”, or, “this isn’t my decision”. It would be false to say that the whole edifice of the battalion came crashing down. It didn’t. It still functioned. But the rot spread quickly, resulting in an unhealthy climate whereby orders were carried out grudgingly. What was most surprising was that it didn’t even occur to otherwise competent officers that, in their casual remarks and desire not to jeopardise their own popularity, they were undermining the whole chain of command and their own authority.’ A Troop Commander.
Loyalty is not blind and must operate within the parameters of the other Core Values; it should not impede appropriate action to prevent transgressions by subordinates, peers or seniors. Equally, unquestioning loyalty provides no service at all. Pre-decision, leaders must encourage constructive discussion in their organisations and exercise it with their superiors. But, once a decision is made, opposition must end and all must commit to and endorse the plan wholeheartedly. They should remember that loyalty can only be earned, not demanded. ‘My Sergeant Major always showed great loyalty to me and to the soldiers. I would discuss issues with him and explain why I had come to certain decisions. If he disagreed he would make his point (sometimes very forcefully) and we would debate the issue. What was always of great assurance to me was that whatever the outcome, whether he agreed with me or not, he would back the plan as if he agreed and sell it to the Company with enthusiasm. This loyalty meant that I trusted him and would happily discuss issues with him and it made a hugely positive difference to the morale and operational effectiveness of the Company.’ A Company Commander
308. Selfless Commitment. The notion of service, not contract, must be at the heart of Army leadership. On joining the Army all personnel accept an open ended commitment of service and pledge to do their duty despite difficulties and dangers. This is expressed in the wording of the Oath of Allegiance in which all soldiers swear to subordinate their own interests to those of the Nation. At its extreme this might involve leaders giving their lives, but more routinely, placing the safety, security and needs of others before their own. This kind of self-sacrifice will earn respect and encourage others to behave similarly. ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ Bible, New International Version. John 15 v 13
Summary 309. The Sum of Values. It is easy to envisage a situation where there is an apparent ‘value clash’, where it seems that one must take precedence over another. For example, should loyalty be shown by keeping quiet about an illegal activity or should integrity and moral courage be exercised in raising the issue to the chain of command? No one value trumps the others. Only by understanding the spirit and totality of the values and the context of a situation can the greater good be recognised and so the best decision made. Some of what the Army is expected to do by the Nation is far beyond what would be acceptable in civil society; Army leaders may have to make hard, life and death, decisions in ambiguous and dangerous situations. ‘Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and discipline . . . Reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness. Exercise of humaneness alone results in weakness. Fixation on trust results in folly. Dependence on the strength of courage results in violence. Excessive discipline and sternness in command result in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a leader.’ Sun Tzu
Useful ways to generate a consideration and deep understanding of the Core Values include; a. A Balloon Debate. Each Value is taken by an individual or team and they have to then argue the primacy of that Value. At the end of the round there is a vote to see which Value has lost i.e. it is seen as the least important. This Value is then cast from the ‘Balloon’ and the debate re-run. b. A Seventh Value. Consider for yourself or ask others to select another Value to add to the current list and then argue for its inclusion.
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Standards 310. Standards. The Core Values of the Army contribute directly to operational effectiveness. The Army’s three standards - Lawful, Appropriate and Professional - are the measure of the application of the Values. They are the lens through which the Values are seen in practice, the compass to the map provided by the values. All personnel must ‘avoid behaviour that risks degrading their professional ability or which may undermine morale by damaging the trust and respect that exists between individuals who depend on each other. For this reason the Army takes a more demanding approach towards personal behaviour that may, in wider society, be regarded as a matter of personal choice.’10 311. Application. The use of the mnemonic ‘LAP’ (Lawful, Appropriate, Professional) and the below diagram may be of use in inculcating a knowledge and understanding of the Army’s Standards. Just because something can be done does not make it lawful. And just because it is lawful does not mean that it is appropriate or should be done. It is the professional application of what is lawful and should be done that defines the Army’s standards.
VIRONMENT N E LIT PABI Y (CA A N C Appropraite (Should do) Professional (Done right)
ADP Operations. Chapter 2, paragraph 0238. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 28.
Lawful (Allowed to do)
Additional Characteristics 312. Overview. The Core Values and Standards of the British Army are established and recognised. They are fundamental to establishing the ethos and culture of the Army. This is why they must be at the heart of an Army Leader. Additionally, if leaders are to be effective and contribute positively to the force they need to be the Example, Responsible and Influential. 313. Example. There is a strong human tendency to adopt the characteristics and behaviours of those around us, particularly those we respect. This happens sub-consciously and potentially against our will. This is why Army leaders must be Authentic; they must do as they say, be genuine and lead by example. Leaders are Role Models, their behaviour and values are judged and assimilated by those they lead. Hence living the Core Values, at all times, and providing moral leadership is indispensable. ‘Authentic; an appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life.’ Oxford Dictionaries
As part of being authentic, leaders should seek continual improvement, of themselves and their team. No leader is ever quite as good as they might be. Self-analysis and study is a continual process that requires humility and a willingness to recognise mistakes and take remedial action. Leadership should, by its very nature, create individual and team growth by establishing an open environment that challenges the status quo. Effective, innovative leadership that tests convention ensures that we do not continue to do what we have always done and so get what we have always got! ‘No man fails who sets an example of high courage, of unbroken resolution, of unshrinking endurance.’ Roald Amundsen, Explorer
314. Responsible. Leaders must accept responsibility for themselves and for their teams. They are responsible for everything that occurs in their organisations. Even when a task is delegated or when something that takes place is not directly the fault of the leader, they remain responsible for what they ‘knew or should have known.’11 The decisions and actions of leaders resonate; through their behaviours they set the climate and the moral framework of their organisation. Great leaders carry this responsibility lightly, not letting their burden overwhelm them or impact on others. In being responsible for individual and team performance, leaders must set high standards and be determined to succeed. The military environment is dynamic, complex and adversarial. Lives depend on the judgment of, and decisions taken by, Army leaders. While self-apparent to a section commander in contact, it is equally applicable to those in recruitment,
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training, procurement and planning. This demands a ruthless pursuit of excellence. Leaders need to be ‘good enough to give something back’ whatever the circumstance. Excellence provides example; ‘example’ is pivotal. As well as welcoming their responsibilities, effective leaders ensure that those they lead accept responsibility for their own behaviour, performance and development. Giving individuals ownership of issues and the freedom to think, experiment, fail and succeed ensures the continued success and progress of people and teams.
315. Influential. Leadership depends on the ability to shape people and so events. Effective leaders extend their influence beyond the chain of command and do not rely on command authority - the authority to give a legal order that must be obeyed. Important traits include being decisive, resolute and confident, but also being able to listen to others and having empathy12. Leaders can accrue influence through their consistent and honourable behaviour, their genuine care for and actions on behalf of their team and by displaying trustworthy judgement. Judgement is a self-evident facet of leadership applied to all decisions, be they formal plans or the myriad of daily human interactions. It is therefore relevant to every paragraph in this guide. At times judgement is the application of intuition; at others a deduction born of analysis - but then judgement is evident in selecting the approach to take! The banner of judgement also covers subtleties of empathy, compassion and even ruthlessness. In sum, if this guide is a bag of tools, judgement is the quality you will exercise to select them.
Empathy - an individual’s objective and insightful awareness of the feelings and behaviour of another person. It should be distinguished from sympathy, which is usually non-objective and non-critical. It includes caring, which is the demonstration of an awareness of and a concern for the good of others. (From Bioethics Thesaurus, 1992).
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‘The funny thing is the more I practise the luckier I get’ Gary Player, 9 time Golf Major winner 29 |
Part B : Chapter 4
What Leaders Know: Professional Competence
401. Introduction. This chapter considers the elements of professional competence that, while not leadership traits or behaviours themselves, provide the catalyst for Army leadership. 402. Approach. In military situations the consequences of poor or mediocre performance can be catastrophic. The relentless pursuit of excellence starts with a detailed knowledge of the profession. While not all Army leaders are intellectuals, they must be prepared to make the most of their innate intelligence through study and professional development. ‘There is no-one who cannot vastly improve their leadership through study…’ Field Marshal Slim
Understand the Profession 403. Study. Learning comes in two main ways; from personal experience and from studying the thoughts and experience of others. Some of the ways of achieving this are; a. Concepts and Doctrine. It is self-evident, but not always the case, that leaders must be well versed in the doctrine that pertains to their profession. But Army leaders should also contribute to the Army’s knowledge and doctrine by communicating their own experiences. Lessons identified only become lessons assimilated if leaders take the time to read, consider and implement them. Leaders are encouraged to expand their understanding of contemporary issues and inform doctrine development. One method of achieving this is by contributing on the Army Knowledge Exchange (AKX)13.
b. Military History. The study of military history allows Army leaders to learn from others, rather than repeating the mistakes of their predecessors. Reading is only the start: battlefield studies will enthuse and bring the issues to life. c. Leadership Theories. There are a plethora of leadership theories. Gaining an understanding of these theories can assist leaders in developing their own leadership style. Appendix 4 includes a review of a book that gives an overview of the variety of styles. d. Psychology of Understanding Self and Others. An understanding of Behavioural Science (the psychology of understanding self and others) can assist a leader in gauging individual and team dynamics. It can also help leaders to understand better how to self-appraise. This knowledge can be used to improve their own performance and that of others.
Army Knowledge Exchange - AKX. www.army.mod.uk
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While some elements of this subject are covered in this document, leaders are encouraged to take this further.
e. Defence Management. Resources will always be limited. Leaders should understand the resource implications of their decisions. While particularly pertinent for leaders at a higher level, it is relevant to all and starts with proper equipment care. Management and sound administration contributes to operational effectiveness. f. Group Discussions. All study can be augmented by group discussion. Debate forces individuals to think more deeply: to articulate their arguments and justify them. Some suggestions for group discussion are included in Appendix 5. 404. Followership. If mis-understood, the concept of leadership can put the entire burden for achieving results on one person, contrary to the primacy of the team on which the Army prides itself. By default, each leader is also a subordinate of others and how this ‘followership’ is conducted is fundamental to the success of teams. Participatory followership is not passive, but replicates all the best behaviours that a leader aims to generate within the teams he or she leads. It involves challenging and encouraging, and undertaking mentoring and coaching responsibilities. Loyalty and obedience will be needed. Leaders should participate fully as followers; in doing so they will contribute to team performance and learn a great deal about leadership from those they follow. ‘Most people in positions of… authority must also follow someone else in the hierarchy, which requires them to assume the complicated dual roles of follower and leader….the most important attributes of highly effective followers are honesty, dependability, competence, courage, enthusiasm, assertiveness and independent critical judgement.’ ‘Exemplary Followership’ J J Matthews. P233-234, 2008
14. 15. 16.
Annex B to, D/DGTE/4/1713, dated 1 Aug 03, Armed Forces Physical Development Policy. JSP 419 Sponsored AT activities as per JSP 419 – not Challenge Pursuits.
Case Study: Adventurous Training as a Team Building Tool Adventurous Training (AT) is universally recognised as a powerful medium for developing personal and inter-personal skills. It promotes the development of leadership and teambuilding skills and, significantly for a military organisation, calculated risk taking and the opportunity in a physically challenging and mentally demanding outdoor environment to experience danger and hardship. In doing so, AT contributes significantly to the development of the moral and physical components of fighting power. In addition, it is also enjoyable, exciting and rewarding and, consequently, makes a positive contribution to motivation, retention and recruitment.14 The stated aim of adventurous training is, “to develop, through authorised challenging pursuits and within an outdoor environment, leadership and the necessary qualities to enhance the performance of Service personnel in times of peace and war”15. Its definition is: “Challenging outdoor training for Service personnel in specified adventurous activities, involving controlled exposure to risk, to develop leadership, teamwork, physical fitness, moral and physical courage, among other personal attributes and skills vital to operational capability”. The value of proper AT16 can be immense. By stepping out of their comfort zone and into an unfamiliar and testing environment, an individual can learn a great deal about themselves and how they interact with others. When taking an individual out of uniform and their normal operating environment, all inhibitions are often lost and the real person exposed. When successful, AT instils trust and confidence in the individual and team bonds can be formed to a greater extent than in pure military training.
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Problem Solving and Decision Making ‘Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.’ Napoleon
405. Over-Reliance on Intuition. The military environment often demands decisions to be made quickly. As a consequence a great deal of stock is rightly placed in intuitive decision making - going with ‘gut feel’ - on the basis of experience. However, this can become habit, resulting in insufficient rigour being applied to more complex problems when there is time for a thorough approach. Military decisions have profound ethical and legal implications; lives depend on them. ADP Operations paragraphs 0601 - 0605 cover sequences for decision making and the Decision-Action Cycle. This section does not look to replicate this, but aims to increase understanding of how biases and human interactions can impact decision making. More detail of these can be found in JDN 3-11, Decision-making and problem solving: Human and organisational factors17. A summary of JDN 3-11 can be found at Appendix 4. 406. Position of the Leader. Emerging command and control technologies provide leaders with unprecedented flows of information. This improved situational awareness – and the ability to communicate it remotely - can encourage a detached posture. Decisions can be made more lucidly when insulated from the chaos and stress of actual combat. An operations room or a covered position will sometimes be the best position from which to exercise command and control. But overhead video feeds and GPS unit tracking can conceal the decisive, human elements of a battle and so lead to decisions made without proper understanding of their consequences. As a general rule a commander should place him or herself where he or she can best gain understanding, project their personality and influence events. ‘The Squadron Leader called for me on the radio. I doubled back to where I thought his position was. On my way there I met the Squadron Sergeant Major, who grabbed me. Our conversation went something like; ‘Sir, The Squadron Leader is after you’ ‘I know, I’m going to find him’ ‘You’re going the wrong way Sir’ ‘But that means he’s ahead of me’ ‘He’s the Squadron Leader, Sir. The clue is in the title.’ From that moment, I realised what was required of me.’ Troop Leader, Afghanistan
407. Generating Improved Decision Making. Deconstructing the process of decision making reveals the following elements;
a. Processes. A good knowledge of the processes of problem solving (see ADP Operations Chapter 6) enables the selection of the best strategy for the problem at hand: be it intuitively or by working through deliberate methodologies such as the Estimate and War-gaming. When using a structured decision making tool leaders should consider, and consciously use, different types of thinking (e.g. convergent or divergent). Rehearsals are an excellent way of revealing the strengths and weaknesses of a plan. b. Thinking. Reviewing and reflecting upon decisions (what transpired and why) can refine a leader’s approach to decision making, to prevent one experience being inappropriately applied as intuition in the future. This is achieved by recognising what was a constant (something that applies all the time) and what was a variable (something that was unique to that circumstance). c. People. Developing an appreciation of the effects of stress and pressure is vital to military decision making, as it is human responses that will define how the decisions will be implemented. Study of Behavourable Science can assist with this. d. Creativity. Army leaders should relish ambiguity as it provides freedoms, challenges and opportunity for innovative thought. Appropriate application of Mission Command frees subordinates to make the most of opportunities. e. Alertness. Lack of fitness, sleep and/or food can significantly degrade judgment. A fit, well-nourished and well-rested brain is considerably more effective than a tired one. At the tactical level, this may well not be the case so people should prepare for and become accustomed to the effects of fatigue. ‘War is the province of chance. In no other sphere of human activity must such a margin be left for this intruder.’ Karl von Clausewitz. On War18 17. 18.
http://www.dcdc.dii.r.mil.uk/Objects/6/8979226677B1456A86DA2F5BD5BBB15B.htm Karl von Clausewitz. On War, translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 1989.
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408. Barriers to Innovation. Despite the need for novel and agile thinking, there are influences that will discourage even the most forward leaning decision maker from that approach. These barriers include; ‘The world is put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts to conventionality.’ Florence Nightingale
f. Risk Aversion. With the stakes in military decision making so high it is understandable that leaders can exhibit an aversion to perceived risk and default to a defensive, conservative mindset that misses opportunities. ‘In a worst case scenario, decisions may be made and actions taken for fear of losing, rather than with any realistic expectation of winning… Although it is tempting to consider risks as only being negative, risk aversion is symptomatic of a failure to understand the nature of risk. Risks lead to opportunities, for example greater freedom of action and a wider range of options.’ ADP Operations Chapter 6
While the consequences of a risk realised are always negative, risk must be taken in order to seize opportunity. There is a difference between a calculated risk - where it has been examined and the likelihood and magnitude of the effect make it worth taking - and a gamble. Leaders are required, and must be prepared, to take calculated risk; it is a battlefield necessity and can realise opportunity. They must also empower and support those under them to do the same. At the very least Army leaders should seek novel and creative options during planning, even if they are discounted later. ‘A risk is a chance you take; if it fails you can recover. A gamble is a chance taken; if it fails, recovery is impossible.’ Field Marshal Rommel
g. Group Pressure. It is easy to fall prey to conformity where there is risk of ridicule, especially in a hierarchical organisation with strong characters. This can lead to the suppression of ideas. While a leader might want to consider using ‘brainstorming’ to gather ideas, it needs to be carefully managed to ensure that it produces valuable results. Used incorrectly it can lead to poor, predictable solutions as people only say what they feel is safe and they group think. Alternate methods include individuals working alone on a problem or for anonymous written suggestions to be submitted prior to discussion. The ‘Courts Martial principle’ of the most junior in rank speaking first can also encourage honesty. Novel suggestions may require considerable moral courage. ‘I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.’ Margaret Thatcher
h. Creative Block. There can be a tendency to think that only those with an artistic leaning can be creative. This lack of confidence can lead to a slavish adherence to templates. Like all skills, creative thinking can be done by all, but it does require work. Creative thinking goes hand-in-hand with other more linear thought process such as ‘rational’ and ‘reflective’ thinking.19 The confidence to think creatively flows through effective leadership. The requirement to adjust doctrinal drills based on study, experience, intuition and tactical cunning is implicit in the Manoeuvrist Approach. 409. Wicked Problems. Unpicking the complexity of a problem can assist in solving it. With the most intractable problems the causes are often unclear. There are a high number of variables/constraints and the people involved have very different perspectives. The most fiendish of these have become known as ‘wicked problems’ - where any solution only serves to compound the difficulties. Situations with these characteristics are common in the military environment. Simple problems can be solved piece-meal without consultation (i.e. dealing with the problem logically; one thing at a time using an existing template). By contrast complex problems require holistic, novel and collaborative approaches. Leaders need to analyse the context and nature of problems before electing their approach. As with all military problems a leader will wish to reduce complexity and act decisively, issuing clear, unambiguous direction and priorities. 410. Moral Problem-solving. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the legal implications of military decisions and be distracted from the ethical framework that underpins them. In this context, the more important question for an Army leader is whether or not the solution is morally right and justifiable in the context within which they are operating.
Rational thinking - the type of close critical analysis engaged in when interrogating evidence. Reflective thinking - when experience of a problem or situation is used to predict what might happen if a particular decision or course of action is chosen.
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Knowledge of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and the Rules of Engagement (ROE) is essential, but moral conduct draws just as much from the Army’s Core Values and Standards. There may be times when the letter of the law fails to provide sufficient direction. When faced with moral and ethical quandaries, the following ‘5 Cues’ may assist. Question
What is the context?
This must be understood and an Army leader may choose to use a technique to assist, such as mind mapping.
What moral rules apply?
‘The moral law’ - treat others as you would be treated yourself. Do as you ought not as you want.
What is the greater good? Can this be identified? Where are the friction points? 4 What does the LOAC say? Is it Humane? Distinct? Necessary? Proportional? Would you be happy to stand in court and justify yourself? 5 What can be mitigated? Look to mitigate the effect on any actors (or all!) who may consider themselves to be a loser.
a. Examples. Moral solutions will present themselves more readily where leaders have taken the time to study their environment and debate hypothetical dilemmas with their team. Appendix 5 contains examples for individual consideration or group discussion and generic questions that can be used for considering any moral dilemma. ‘A clear and innocent conscience fears nothing.’ Elizabeth I
b. Further study. Ethical decision making is an area that some may wish to study in more depth. Appendix 3 contains an introduction to the psychological processes relevant to ethical decision making.
Communication 411. Being Understood. The outcome of communication is ‘what is understood’. To have effect, all great ideas and strategies must be communicated clearly. Focussing on understanding rather than what is said is a useful way for leaders to consider their methods of imparting information. Leaders should think about what they are going to say before saying it and then use the most appropriate medium to impart it succinctly and logically. They should be wary of falling back on the ‘easiest’ means (often email) and should not use the written word to communicate bad or difficult news; it takes moral courage to look someone in the eye when conveying such information. Communication should always be timely; ‘bad news does not improve with age’.
412. Non-verbal Messages. When communicating face-to-face leaders should be aware of the impact of non-verbal communication - the messages that are passed by mannerisms, body language, attentiveness and the like. By being ‘active listeners’20, leaders can make the communicator feel valued and involved as well as ensuring that they pick up all the nuances of what is being communicated. Even on the radio much can be gleaned that is not mentioned in words. Most leaders will need to communicate in written and spoken form and they should become confident with electronic communication such as emails, text and presentations. Communication skills can be improved by practice and by study, such as taking an English course or reading about or attending a course on public speaking.
413. Negotiating. Negotiating can prevent conflict, or bring its cessation. It can prevent an Army leader having to rely on command authority to impose a solution that may not be mutually acceptable. Army leaders may well find themselves negotiating a settlement to an issue in barracks, training or on operations. Effective negotiating can bring all sides to an agreeable and workable solution. The method of each negotiation will be different, but there are certain human factors that transcend personal motivations, culture and overt recognition, which influence thinking and behaviour. An understanding of these factors and how they impact on individuals are useful when negotiating. An explanation of recognised factors and techniques, intended to improve negotiating skills, is at Appendix 11. 20.
Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding.
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‘Authority is gained through the sum of daily conversations. One has to speak to soldiers. A soldier must know his task and understand it. Authority isn’t cheap; it is hard won. Everyone wants to live - including heroes. But knowing that soldiers trust me, I know they will fulfil all my orders and risk their lives.’ 21
Colonel Zinoviev Konstantin Provalov 1942. Commander 383rd Rifle Division 39 |
Part B : Chapter 5
What Leaders Do: the Actions of an Army leader
501. Introduction. So much of the Army’s success is based on trained and motivated individuals operating as part of effective, empowered teams. Each team is an entity in its own right, yet contributes to the whole through interdependence with others. Leaders should always remember that they serve the team; they are not a separate entity that drives it - hence the motto of RMA Sandhurst: ‘Serve to Lead’. This section examines the role Army leaders play in realising the potential of individuals and maximising collective performance.
Function 502. Develop, Build Teams, Achieve. Army leaders conduct a wide variety of roles, but three main mutually supporting activities of a leader can be recognised as common currency; Developing themselves and others, Building Teams and Achieving. These are the focus of this section.
Cross Themes 503. Threading through the functions of Develop, Build Teams and Achieve are three supporting activities; the provision of vision, support and challenge22; a. Vision. It is a leader’s responsibility to provide a vision of shared goals so that individuals and the team are inspired, have a shared sense of direction and pull together to achieve results. The vision can be expressed both through communication and being a role-model. Words and deeds must be consistent, complementary and reinforcing. As always, the Core Values and Standards are at the fore in ‘role-modelling’. Through action and example, leaders convince people to “Do the right thing on a difficult day”23. b. Support. As Colonel Provalov attested, it is only possible to inspire extraordinary actions when there is mutual knowledge - and trust - within the team. Leaders should care for and about the people who serve under them. By being fair, consistent and showing confidence in others, leaders provide a platform for their people to excel beyond normal standards and achieve their maximum potential. The level of trust required can take time to develop. It can be generated by scrupulous application of Mission Command, empowering subordinates and allowing them to take ownership of decision making commensurate with their abilities. An appropriate balance of incentive and sanction motivates people. In contrast, weak behaviours (favouritism, vindictiveness, dishonesty, evasion, bullying etc) always have a disruptive and counterproductive effect on individuals and teams.
Colonel Zinoviev Konstantin Provalov - aged 36 he commanded the Soviet 383rd Rifle Division (termed the “Black Division” because it was comprised entirely of Ukrainian coal miners). Born a peasant, he was self-educated and attended the Frunze Academy. Awarded “Hero of the Soviet Union” after holding out for 57 days surrounded by the Germans in the early battles of 1941. He was a famously shy man who nevertheless went on to become C-in-C Soviet Forces Hungary as a General in the 1960s. Vision, Support and Challenge. Professor Lew Hardy, Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance, University of Bangor. Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb.
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c. Challenge. People only reveal their true potential when challenged. To reach these levels of achievement, leaders must not only test themselves, modelling the highest standards, but also challenge and inspire their people. Needless to say, a balance is required. Driving people too hard will dent morale; the key is to help individuals commit to achievable ‘stretch targets’. Through this, the self-confidence of individuals and teams is enhanced, enabling them to go beyond the norm and achieve more than was originally thought possible.
Develop Self-Awareness 504. Introduction. Leadership is personal. Each leader will have their own nuances and style, but there are acknowledged enduring features of effective leadership. This section is designed to aid reflection and impart some practical ways to enhance leadership performance. The first step in this process is honest appraisal of personal attributes. ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.’ Baron Acton in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887
505. Self Appraisal. Understanding how you are seen by others enables accurate self-awareness. Empathy and listening will help, but a more structured form of feedback can be gained by conducting a 360° review. Appendix 8 contains details of a 360 degree self-awareness survey that has been developed for the Army using the Appraisal Report performance headings. It enables users to complete self-analysis and then invite any number of others to contribute. Feedback is anonymous and invisible to the chain of command so is purely for personal awareness and development. All Army leaders are encouraged to complete the survey. 506. Humility. The malign influence of power of which Baron Acton speaks is a warning to all. History shows us that, as leaders rise in seniority, they are prone to believing that they are above the rules and behaviours that apply to those more junior. This is unlikely to be the result of a conscious decision, but of a gradual attrition of values and humility. Leaders should beware of sycophants! The more senior the leader, the greater the risk of losing perspective.
Case Study - Hitler in Berlin 1945 Fearful of Hitler, his staff and commanders were not prepared to speak the truth about the degradation of German fighting units in Spring 1945. Consequently, Hitler remained convinced that his divisions were effective fighting units and made fanciful decisions, prolonging the war needlessly and adding to the suffering of the German people.
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No follower wants a meek leader who kowtows at the first hint of tension. But this is not generally the problem. By virtue of their position, leaders in the Army wield significant power: they hold rank and command authority that enables them to give legal orders that must be obeyed. Many write reports on those who work for them and so have significant influence over career progression. If this goes to their head, arrogance follows – at worst leading to abuse or misuse of power. Arrogant styles of leadership stifle innovation and cause alienation. This erodes morale: ‘One sensed a slight intellectual bully with a reputation for being ‘clever’. He spent much of his time delving into the workings of his staff and cramping their imagination. He either did not trust his staff or felt his judgement was so far ahead of theirs that he had to constantly interfere. He was inanely hungry for details and the whole system spent more of its time answering his endless requests rather than sorting out problems for those below them. He worked ridiculously long hours, unnecessarily so. Everyone became tired. A few resigned. I don’t think he had any other ‘life’ and certainly he had no other interests. He rarely praised and his visits were dreaded. Few felt able to challenge him and, quite quickly, working in his headquarters became a byword for suffering.’ Staff Officer, Iraq 2007
By contrast, a leader with empathy, will be able to demonstrate compassion and grip in appropriate quantities. They will recognise their own and other’s limitations. Humility and self-awareness will prevent a leader believing their own hyperbole and stave off many of the worst behaviours seen in what has become known as toxic leadership24. While toxic leadership may lead to short term goals being met, the overall effect can be poisonous as shown below: ‘There was a Corporal in my Platoon in Sangin that we all used to loathe: a real ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. In front of the officers he was the ‘perfect NCO’: always enthusiastic and keen to get the toughest jobs there were. In front of the private soldiers he was a bully who would belittle you if you didn’t do what he wanted and threaten you if you didn’t come up to scratch. Whenever we had a break, he would make us sit around him and listen to his stories. We all used to laugh and some even copied the way he dressed just so that he did not single them out. We weren’t scared of him because he was tough, but because of his force of personality. Those that didn’t really know him called him a leader. We knew him and hated him.’ Private Soldier speaking of his Section Commander, Afghanistan 2009
Toxic leaders can be defined as: ‘Individuals who by virtue of their destructive behaviours and their dysfunctional personal qualities or characteristics, inflict serious and enduring harm on the individuals, groups and organisations that they lead’. Jean Limpan-Blumen, ‘The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why we follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians - and How we can Survive Them’, (New York, Oxford University Press, 2004.) Field Marshal Harding, ‘Address to the Senior Division’, (Staff College, Camberley, 1953).
Self-Improvement 507. Willingness and Ability to Change. Self-Awareness is the first step, but to have impact it must be twinned with a willingness and ability to change. A willingness to change is enabled by a ‘open mindset’ as opposed to a ‘closed mindset’. Those with an open mindset see constructive criticism as a comment on training and education and as an opportunity to improve and develop. Critique is taken as a positive. Conversely, those with a closed mindset take any comments on performance as a personal grievance, as if it were an assault on their own personality and identity. It can be advantageous to understand these two approaches and then challenge oneself as to which camp one falls into. ‘The way of progress is neither swift nor easy.’ Marie Curie 508. Understand and Think. Rapidly grasping situations, establishing their context and evaluating all possible permutations are skills that will aid a leader in knowing where to focus their effort and in making good decisions. They should learn to ‘think the unthinkable’ - to establish the possible opportunities and threats for all involved. By casting their minds beyond the immediacy of a situation, almost like a Chess Master, looking 5 or 6 moves ahead, a leader can seem to others to have premonition when their forecasts really stem from considered application of thought. Some call this ‘mastering the law of unintended consequences’. An understanding of human motivations and emotions can enable a leader to see a situation as though through the eyes of another and so predict their decisions and reactions. This is a skill equally useful in determining and shaping individuals and groups in your own team as for predicting the likely motives and moves of other actors. Above all, leaders should cast a critical eye over their own thought processes to betray bias or wishful thinking so that they have confidence in those decisions once made. The military historian (and WW2 infantry officer) Professor Michael Howard refers to this as ‘exercising pessimism with intellect but optimism with will’. 509. Innovate. Combat is the preserve of chaos. Leaders must interpret, innovate and, when necessary, improvise. The British Army’s command philosophy - Mission Command - demands that leaders are creative and inventive in the planning and conduct of all military activities. Innovation can be cultivated by ensuring that enough divergent thinking takes place before convergent thinking is used to narrow the options (See Table 2 in Appendix 4 for more details). ‘Then you must have daring initiative. Initiative means doing right away what you might, if you had the time, think of doing a few minutes later. If you wait for things to happen to you, they will happen all right… but they won’t be what you like and they certainly won’t bring you success. Initiative means seeing at once and very quickly - what needs to be done, making up your mind to do it, and then seeing it through to the bitter end’ Field Marshal Harding25
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Leaders can become comfortable with ambiguity and develop the confidence to exercise their initiative by replicating these conditions in training. A broad knowledge-base credits an account from which to draw creative solutions to intractable and/or dynamic problems. Innovation is often the outcome of study rather than genius; ‘We attracted accolade for our innovation. But in truth the seeds of all our ‘new ideas’ had been planted in the pages of oft-forgotten or obscure campaign studies.’ A well read Company Commander
510. Confidence and Resolve. Having armed themselves with professional knowledge, leaders should have the self-confidence to make decisions, seek the initiative and take appropriate risk. This will develop resolve and the fortitude to stick to a course of action despite influences that might sway a less sure mind. Leaders should project confidence that inspires and instils confidence in others. They should be assured enough to listen to subordinates and to debate robustly with their superior, who in turn should welcome constructive points. These attributes should, of course, be tempered with humility and judgment. ‘If the art of war were nothing but the art of avoiding risks, glory would become the prey of mediocre minds… The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know.’ Napoleon
While it is the case that no leader should pretend to be something that they are not, there may well be times when a leader will need to put on a face or performance that belies their thinking. Exuding confidence, even when it conceals personal doubt, may be the factor that steels the will of others, which in turn delivers a triumph. This positive mindset is a common tool of top performing sportsmen and women who envisage success as a means of generating that success. This is not to say that leaders should develop overconfidence or not be prepared to seek advice at the right time. Judgement will be required 511. Mental and Physical Robustness. Leaders in the Army will encounter complex and life dependant situations. These may be accompanied by fatigue, fear and challenge. Army leaders must remain mentally and physically robust to be able to cope with such scenarios. It is the duty of Army leaders to set the example in all aspects. This includes physical robustness. While they may well not be the fittest in their team, they must be able to easily complete the mandated requirements and set the example in appearance and bearing.
Develop Others 512. Lead by Example. Leaders are emulated. This is as true of virtues as vices. Army leaders can have an influence further than they may wish or intend. The role models with the greatest impact are those with whom the individual can most closely relate and so there is great responsibility on leaders who are similar in age and/or rank. More senior leaders should carefully mentor, develop and support these influential yet probably junior individuals. As stated in previous chapters, the Core Values and Standards are the benchmark, and unless they have been adopted as the leader’s own, followers may quickly identify their espousal as mere rhetoric and perceive their enforcement as hypocrisy. 513. Train and Educate. It is the duty of the chain of command to train itself: leaders are responsible for the development of their subordinates. The Army system provides education and training opportunities (e.g. CLM and NCO and officer tactical training), but the overall development of subordinates is a leader’s responsibility; they should not leave it down to ‘the system’. This responsibility is not just about ensuring that courses are attended on time and that individuals are well prepared, but also in developing them through their everyday work and through creating training targeted to enhance performance. ‘To lead untrained people in war is to throw them away.’ Confucious
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In a busy Army it is possible for leaders to overlook the need for individual improvement to reach short term aims. Use of Standard and Enhanced Learning credits can be a good way of achieving inexpensive individual improvement. A balance needs to be maintained between short term success and building for the future. 514. Motivate each Individual. Each individual has different ambitions, motivations, backgrounds and expectations. A leader needs to understand those they lead so they can nurture and appropriately stretch and so develop them. It is a leader’s responsibility to gauge how particular circumstances are likely to affect each individual, and to develop a sincere knowledge of their lives outside the working environment - their families, aspirations and concerns - in order to establish a strong working relationship. The leader who can empathise is well placed to shape their leadership style in response to circumstances and personalities and so best motivate. 515. Challenge Intellectually. People respond to being challenged; it motivates and stimulates. The brain, like a muscle, develops through use. Leaders should encourage those they lead to think by giving them problems that stretch them and by encouraging them to find innovative solutions to established problems. 516. Expect High Performance. By understanding all their people a leader can ensure there are targets appropriate to each person, as well as the team. Individuals should be encouraged and enabled to set their own exacting targets and criteria against which their progress can be assessed. Professionals will set their own high standards. Challenging objectives, appropriate to each individual, generate enthusiasm and commitment as well as high performance. 517. Coach and Mentor. Ensuring that individuals take responsibility for themselves and take ownership of their progress is important for effective leadership. This expertise is often referred to as utilising a coaching style. In this, individuals are led into setting their own goals and targets and acknowledging that they, not any external people or factors, are liable for their achievement. The role of the leader-coach is to highlight or realign awareness and perceptions. This is commonly achieved through the asking of open questions, letting the individual work out the answers for themselves. It is for this reason that the primary principle of coaching is sometimes referred to as ‘ask, not tell’. However, to properly implement coaching, there is a requirement to have a depth of understanding behind this simple phrase. Expertise with coaching models, such as the GROW26 model also assists. The terms Coaching and Mentoring are often used interchangeably, but, while there is overlap, there are key differences. A leader-coach will generally focus on specific tangible targets. All those with defined 26.
Goal, Reality, Options, Will.
leadership responsibilities are expected to coach those they lead in this way. A mentor normally focuses on broader, through life development; this person is likely to be a trusted friend or colleague, often more senior, with whom ideas and plans can be discussed. 518. Credit Innovation. Novel solutions can outwit and undermine our adversaries. Encouraging and recognising innovation at all levels can generate an organisation where people strive to break the mould. To achieve this, innovation should be credited for its own sake. In the right circumstance, particularly in training, while the outcome may not be successful, this should be distinguished from the praise that can be given for testing established norms. Only in this way will new knowledge be generated and progress achieved. 519. Inspire. There are times when an Army leader will need to motivate people to achieve something that they would not do of their own volition. This event could be as benign as having to adapt and change to new ideas or as hostile as having to risk their life to achieve an operational goal. To achieve this, leaders will need to inspire those they lead. This inspiration can come from moments of brilliance and exuberance, but it must be founded on confidence and trust in the leader that will stem from time together, shared experience, consistency, proof of reliability, competence and evidence that the leader puts those they lead before themselves. ‘The bottom line is that, if you really want to inspire those you lead, you’ve got to enjoy soldiering and soldiers - that does not mean that you always have to be ‘nice’ or ‘soft’ or weak in any way. You will need steel too. But it does mean that ultimately, at the very end, you’ll do whatever it takes for your charges. Soldiers, if asked why they have been exceptionally brave will often say that they did it for their ‘mates’. That is unconditional love. There is no other way of saying it. General Dempsey, in the Kermit Roosevelt lecture in 2010, summarised his key to leadership by simply saying ‘Love your soldiers’. He was right. It’s not always easy, but you must treat them as if you do - everything else follows.’ Anon
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Build Teams Give Purpose 520. Motivate. It is often said that soldiers fight not for their nation but for their friends. Whilst compelling, this is a generalisation that needs to be qualified. Soldiers may not sit around discussing ideals and political nuances, but they still need to know that their labours serve a higher purpose: one that is just and worthy of their sacrifice. Effective leaders use their judgement to communicate this at the right time and place, in an appropriate way.
‘The young man today reads newspapers. He goes to the cinema and sees how people live and behave in other countries; he has the radio and television… He is daily taking in information and relating it to himself. He can think, he can appreciate, and he is definitely prepared to criticise. He wants to know what is going on, and what you want him to do - and why, and when. He wants to know that in the doing of it his best interests will be absolutely secure in your hands. If all these things are understood by the military leader, and he acts accordingly, he will find it is not difficult to gain the trust and confidence of such men.’27 Field Marshal Montgomery
Only those who understand the unifying purpose and goals of an activity will be able to contribute fully to the development of a plan. This is why the Commander clearly communicating their intent is so important. In execution, subordinates trusted with the reasoning behind the plan are empowered to use their initiative when the situation changes.
Develop Cohesion 521. Foster Identity. The fundamental expression of service is the recognition that individuals are part of something greater than themselves. The Regimental system is an example of how a shared bond can transcend age,
rank and experience. It is a quality that has fortified units to withstand the hardship of combat, to hold their ground and keep fighting under the most testing conditions, as perfectly described by Field Marshal Slim: ‘The soldier’s pride and loyalty are not, first, to the Army as a whole, but to his own Corps or Regiment - to his own immediate comrades. The moral strength of the British Army is the sum of all these family or clan loyalties. They are the foundations of the British soldier’s stubborn valour. They hold him when more distant, wider loyalties could not. The Guards held Hougoumount at Waterloo, the Gloucesters stood on a hill in Korea, because in the last resort they remembered that they were the Guards, they were the Gloucesters. In the First World War, with a battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment I took part in an assault on an enemy position. We advanced across the open, one long line behind the other, suffering heavily as we plodded forward. As we neared the enemy wire, salvos of shrapnel burst in our faces, blasting great gaps in our ranks. Men bowed their heads under this iron hail; some turned back; the leading line faltered. In one moment we should have broken. As we wavered a private soldier beside me, a stolid man, whom one would have thought untouched by imagination, ran forward. In a voice of brass he roared, ‘Heads up the Warwicks! Show the blighters your cap badges!’ Above the din, half a dozen men each side heard him. Their heads came up… they had remembered their regiment. That one little group plunged forward again. The movement spread, and, in a moment the whole line surged through the broken wire and over the enemy parapet.’28 Field Marshal Slim recalling his service in First World War.
Military structures demonstrate the value of team identity down to the smallest level, starting with the ‘buddy-buddy’ system. Generating teams within teams with shared identity strengthens the whole. Organisational structures alone will not achieve this. It takes action such as: learning Regimental history, sport, adventure training, shared hardship and shared belief. The identity created can be powerful and harnessed to generate a pride that drives further success. ‘On reflection I wish that I had invested more time in simple teambuilding exercises like sport and adventurous training. We would have done well to focus less on technical skills that soldiers pick up very quickly in theatre and foster instead the bonds of loyalty that lead men to extraordinary acts’. Company commander, Afghanistan, 2009
There are many ways to foster identity, but the measure is whether teams are able to say ‘this is who we are and this is why we are distinct’. There
Bernard Montgomery, ‘The Memoirs of Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein’, Collins, London, 1958, p.89. Richard Holmes, ‘Soldiers’. Harper Press, London, 2011, p397-398.
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is an important difference between being elite and being elitist. The aim throughout should be to create an elite - where high performance and identity are cherished - without elitism - where arrogance is rife and ‘others’ are excluded. 522. Ensure Shared Values and Goals and Interdependence. The Army is made up of many ‘Teams within Teams’ - like a Russian doll, many layers deep - in an All Arms environment. Shared experience, enabled through continuity, bonds people together. To achieve their potential these need to have common goals and objectives and consist of highly motivated people who are interdependent (mutually supporting and cooperating), rather than independent. By merging the specific and complementary individual roles29, the effectiveness and efficiency of performance will be improved. This is intuitive within groups of the same trade, but requires more engineering when there is a mixture of skills as found by a young officer following an operational tour in Afghanistan: ‘I can think of few patrols where we were not accompanied by attached arms, be it a high assurance search team, dog handler, medic, fire support team, or forward air controller. It was critical to make them feel a part of the team. They would join me for all planning and orders sessions. I would introduce them to the troop and explain the skills they brought and how they were a significant asset. This was soon justified by their contribution on patrol and equally as rapidly realised by the men. The troop quickly welcomed them, and it was warming to see them all playing poker in the tent at night, laughing raucously, and joshing with each other as if they had known each other for years. Ironically their individual identities, be they cavalryman, engineer, or airman, generated a banter that enriched and strengthened the team as a whole.’ Troop Leader. Afghanistan
523. Build Respect and Trust. Respect is the level of regard a person has for another; trust is the willingness of a person to rely on another person. Effective teams have both respect and trust for one another within the team - and for other teams with whom they interact. These qualities are intangible. The table below contains some indicators that leaders may wish to use for assessing the level of trust in their organisation.
Members of teams lacking trust… Conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from each other.
Members of trusting teams…
Hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback. Hesitate to offer help outside their own areas of responsibility. Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without attempting to clarify them. Fail to recognise and tap into one another’s skills and experiences. Waste time and energy managing their behaviours for effect. Hold grudges.
Dread meetings and find reasons to avoid spending time together.
Give one another the benefit of the doubt before arriving at a negative conclusion. Focus time and energy on important issues, not politics. Look forward to meeting and other opportunities to work as a group. Admit weaknesses and mistakes and ask for help.
Take risks in offering feedback and assistance. Appreciate and tap into one another’s skills and experiences. Hold each other accountable, not relying on the leader as the primary source of accountability. Offer and accept apologies without hesitation. Accept questions and input about their areas of responsibility.
524. Foster Pride. Army leaders should take pride in their calling, their service and their team. Being rightly proud of group achievement drives high performance and builds strong bonds between individuals. Genuine pride will always walk hand-in-hand with humility; it knows the rocky path, not just the view from the summit. Pride is a form of reflection and so critical appraisal and a willingness to take remedial action are products of it. Pride can be developed by giving individuals a sense of belonging, educating them on national and regimental history and by motivating and setting goals for individuals and teams.
Bernard Montgomery, ‘The Memoirs of Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein’, Collins, London, 1958, p.89.
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Raise Standards 525. Give Encouragement. Leaders instil optimism in their teams - it is the duty of a leader to be realistically optimistic. Under duress, sustaining a positive attitude may demand significant tenacity - and could be the deciding factor. It is about dogged single-mindedness, not flippant joviality. A determinedly optimistic tone will prove infectious. Effective leaders stress the positive, preferring to highlight success rather than failure. They inspire by demonstrating belief in each person’s potential. Praise should be targeted and genuine not liberal or haphazard, as otherwise it is devalued. 526. Appropriately Reward and Punish. Appropriate use of contingent rewards incentivises individuals and reinforces what ‘right’ looks like. It builds self-esteem and self-confidence. Rewards can range from the ‘everyday’ to the exceptional: from a long weekend, to national recognition. By contrast, failing to recognise effort and achievement can cause rapid demotivation. Contingent reward makes individuals feel valued by their leader - and by the Army; a condition recognised, albeit dismissively, by Napoleon: ‘A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon.’ Napoleon
Punishment performs two functions in team building. First, it serves to highlight and eradicate undesirable behaviour. Secondly, learning to cope with the threat of punishment contributes to the development of mental and physical toughness. Punishment, through the Army’s processes, is a necessary element in military training as it serves to harden the mind and body for setbacks and the tough situations encountered on operations. ‘I don’t see how you could prepare people for the demanding and stressful situations they face on operations without use of appropriate punishment.’ Professor Lew Hardy, Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance, University of Bangor30
Punishment must always be judicious, appropriate, fair and legal. It leaves a negative psychological imprint on the recipients so must only be used where the impact of undesirable behaviour is serious. The reason for punishment (and reward) must be effectively communicated and understood by the recipient. A good gauge of appropriate sanction is to consider whether it is constructive. For example, on discovering a young private soldier has not cleaned his rifle properly, he must be re-taught how to clean his weapon and made to understand why it is important. A remedial weapon cleaning session in his own time is thus an appropriate and constructive punishment. ‘In its function, the power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing and educating.’ Michel Foucault.
Professor Lew Hardy, Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance, University of Bangor. In address to the ASLS Master Coaches Course September 2011.
Leaders have personal responsibility for both the failures and successes of their teams, and should demonstrate this by jointly and visibly accepting individual and team consequences. Good leaders will typically attribute success to others and carry failure themselves. ‘Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement after censure is as the sun after the shower.’ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
527. Utilise Competition. Whether in an inter-company football match or striving to be the best tank crew on a gunnery range, the introduction of a competitive edge to any activity acts as an incentive towards higher performance and greater team work. An anti-tank platoon commander recalled introducing an element of competition on a training exercise. ‘I wanted to drill my men in setting up their Javelin posts. I ordered them to debus and set up the missiles. They were tired, hot, and slightly rattled from being tumbled around in the back of the vehicles. Reluctantly they hauled the missiles and launch units from out of the carefully stowed Spartans (Armoured Vehicles) causing a mini avalanche of packs and ration boxes, and, lacking all energy and enthusiasm, proceeded to assemble their posts. The squadron leader had wandered over to watch, and, seeing something missing I decided to time each post to see who could dismount, set up their Javelin, and be in action in the shortest possible time. Two Spartans lined up a short distance apart, and I shouted ‘Tank action!’ The difference was remarkable. The crews had a sudden spark in their desire to be the quickest. I hadn’t even excused the winning team from sentry duty, or offered any such reward. They did it simply to be the best!’ Troop Commander, training in the UK
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Empower 528. Mission Command. The philosophy of Mission Command ‘promotes freedom of action and initiative’ by focussing on what is to be achieved rather than how it should be achieved. It ‘uses the minimum level of control possible so as not to unnecessarily constrain a subordinates’ freedom of action’, leaving the subordinate able to ‘decide best how to achieve their missions’.31 ‘Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what you want to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.’ General George Patton Jr
While it is a Command philosophy primarily concerned with mission or task success, the effective application of Mission Command has distinct leadership value. It allows a leader to focus on more tasks and the freedoms given through effective communication of ‘Intent’ and minimal control, empower more junior leaders as they take on responsibility. Leaders should welcome these opportunities; they provide chance to use their minds, be stretched, add value and to develop. Conversely, when people are not given the opportunity to express themselves and use their minds, they can quickly lose interest, feel no ownership of the task and so contribute little, or think that they are a valued part of the team. 529. Cooperative Planning. The cooperative style of leadership is exemplified by planning with subordinates, seeking their opinions, listening to them, and involving them in the decision-making process. This generally creates better plans, as there are more brains working effectively on the problem, and generates improved ownership (or buy-in) of the plan by members of the team. ‘The General arrived… and the conference started. First Paddy would outline the general situation… and give the latest intelligence… Then the General would speak and there would be a general and free discussion, so free that visiting officers sometime marvelled at our Soviet-like methods. When everyone had had his say, always briefly and to the point, the General would decide the policy and the intention… Occasionally he would have to fight the Brigadiers’ Union, but there were few decisions that did not have full approval of everyone concerned, people with their feet very firmly on the ground. Then the tasks and formations were broadly worked out and the conference broke up, everyone feeling the better for it. There could have been no better means of ensuring team-work and understanding combined with good fellowship.’ Maj Gen Kippenberger32
Quotes In this paragraph all from ADP Operations. Para 0621. Mission Command is covered in more detail in ADP Operations Para 0621 – 0631. Major General Sir Howard Kippenberger, ‘Infantry Brigadier’, Oxford University Press, 1949, p.332.
In cooperative planning, the leader is both developing the level of understanding necessary for the successful execution of his intent, and building a unity and synergy between himself and his subordinates that is vital in the application of Mission Command. When conducting cooperative planning, the discussion pre-decision needs to be distinct from and matched by wholehearted commitment post-decision. Whatever style of planning is used, the leader should not lose sight of their responsibility for the decision and the team. There will, of course, be times when time pressure or other factors lead a commander to choose a more directive style.
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Achieve 530. Stewardship. Leadership is not an end in itself; the activities of a leader are focussed on the achievement of results. However, too much focus of a short term goal may not develop individuals and teams for the future. The Army cannot normally afford to risk failure on the current objective. This can result short term objectives always being given precedence without suitable heed to longer term implications. ‘Win the War you’re in!’ Leaders should ensure that they take decisions for the long term good of the organisation, no matter the duration of their appointment. The rapid posting cycle, and the judging of an individual’s performance within their tenure, can make this a particular pitfall within the Army. By establishing a clear vision for their organisation leaders will reconcile these competing tensions.
Get Results 531. Selection and Maintenance of the Aim. Selection and Maintenance of the Aim is regarded as the master principle of war33 as it provides a reference point against which progress can be measured, enables priorities to be set and allows a team to coalesce around a clear objective. Without such guidance teams will meander and lack purpose. While this may sound like the simplest of activities, it can prove to be ethereal and increasingly difficult the higher the level of leadership. Having identified the aim the team must establish what needs to be done to achieve that aim and then be prepared to commit to those steps. 532. Plan. It is self-evident that without a plan it is unlikely that a leader and a team will achieve the aims they desire. Leaders must set appropriate priorities, tasks and targets to ensure that goals are met. Approaches to planning are covered in Chapter 4 and ADP Operations. As part of planning, appropriate near and long term goals should be established, recognising and balancing the potential conflicts between the two. The more senior the leader, the greater the amount of work that will be conducted by their staff. As such, it becomes increasingly important that leaders give clear direction, guidance and priorities to enable germane application of staff effort.
ADP Operations. Para 02A2.
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533. Do the Basics Right. Basic individual and collective skills are the building blocks of all military activity. Whatever the level of training an individual or organisation is operating at, or aspiring to reach, the fundamental skills should not be ignored. Advanced training is basic training done really well. 534. Optimise Performance. Whether considering their own development, that of individuals or teams or the attainment of goals, leaders must seek to optimise performance. Danger, complexity, ambiguity, pressure and stress, particularly when suddenly introduced, can prevent clarity of thought, resulting in an inability to perform. Typically this is exhibited either as inaction, or as an incoherent flurry of activity with no clear purpose. Individuals can become accustomed to, and learn to overcome, these reactions through exposure and experience. Leaders should seek opportunities to push themselves, others and their teams out of their comfort zone. By doing so, all will learn how to cope with demands beyond that which they thought possible. 535. Provide Flexibility. By sticking to the principles of Mission Command, providing their intent and ensuring that those they lead know the intent ‘2up’, a leader is building flexibility and resilience into their plans. They are also freeing themselves to oversee multiple tasks whilst displaying a level of trust that will be reap dividends in their subordinates, both from the additional effort and thought that they will give to the task and their longer term development.
536. Resourcing. Resources are likely to be limited and so leaders must be prepared to justify their demands in a coherent and logical manner. As part of planning, leaders will always need to prioritise. Once acquired the resources must be meaningfully focussed in a timely, efficient manner. 537. Employ People most Effectively. By knowing those they lead and having a good feel for their organisation, leaders will be able to ensure that each person is in the role where they can add most value. These judgments may be difficult to implement, particularly if individuals are being moved to a more junior position or away from their desired role. When possible, individuals should be coached through the decision to ensure they understand the reasoning and how they can best contribute their talents to the team attaining its goals. 538. Generate a Learning Organisation. Leaders should provide frequent feedback as an embedded, natural part of work. Formal feedback periods have their role, but should not be used to excuse more frequent and informal feedback. A lack of moral courage often lies behind a lack of willingness to provide honest feedback. Paragraph 507 covered the characteristics of people with an open and closed mindset. The typical closed mindset response to any form of appraisal or feedback that is not 100% positive is to become defensive and to take no notice. When this type of attitude becomes embedded within a team or organisation, it can significantly forestall the ability of that group to learn, develop and improve. Leaders must take measure to ensure that this attitude does not pervade. Demonstrating a personal willingness to admit mistakes and learn is a useful step in enabling this. 539. Have a Will and Determination to Succeed. Leaders will encounter resistance and setbacks, but, to achieve, must be resilient and focussed. This determination will ensure that their team remain focussed and positive on achieving the desired outcomes. 540. Standards. Much is made in this guide of the need for high performing teams. No leader should forget that they should be the personal exemplar of these standards in all that they do. They must do the right things, not just do things right - and bear in mind that doing things for the right purpose is often more important than how they are executed.
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‘There is a better way to do it - find it’ Thomas Edison
Part C : Chapter 6
601. Introduction. There are certain conditions that place particular demands on teams and on leadership. Leaders and teams can mitigate these factors by understanding their impact and rehearsing and preparing for them. This chapter outlines some of the specific conditions to which an Army leader will have to adapt, and suggests some mechanisms and approaches for ensuring the success and resilience of individuals and teams.
Leading in Stress 602. Conditions. The battlefield is anything but normal. The circumstances in which soldiers operate are among the most stressful found anywhere. Fatigue, hunger, revulsion and fear will impair judgement in ethically ambiguous environments where many ‘actors’ work to different moral codes. This sub-chapter examines these stresses and how leaders can prepare themselves and their teams for them. 603. Moral Stress. Very few are able to sustain prolonged exposure to the stresses of soldiering without some change to their moral character. Two elements of moral character can be identified: moral identity consistency between expressed values and conduct - and moral strength the resilience and fortitude that protects moral identity from stress. Erosion of moral strength creates the possibility for ethical misjudgement. Leaders need to recognise the three main responses to moral stress: a. Moral Fatigue. A dwindling of moral strength results in ethical apathy. This will manifest as an evasion of responsibility, an over-reliance on rules (e.g. ROE/LOAC), and dependence on superiors for ethical decision-making. b. Moral Regression. A collapse of moral strength is characterised by hyper-aggressiveness; the violation of laws, rules or values. Army leaders must tackle moral regression at its earliest symptoms to ensure the ethical climate of the team does not deteriorate. Investigation and discipline will be required, as well as re-education. c. Moral Disengagement. When individuals try to justify the unethical as ‘ethical’ they have morally disengaged. It can often involve denying responsibility (“I was only following orders”), diminishing the consequences (“after what they did, they deserved it”) or dehumanising the victims (avoiding referring to them as human and instead using derogatory or stereotypical names, such as ‘Hun’, ‘gook’ or ‘rag-head’). Doing what is right cannot be sidelined. Leaders must maintain the primacy of ethics in decision-making. 604. Tough and Realistic Training. Leaders are responsible for training their command - it can not be delegated. Resilience to stress can be built through tough, realistic and relevant training. Physically and psychologically demanding training, incorporating sleep deprivation, time pressure, moral ambiguity, sensory bombardment, and the perception of danger (such as height, water and confined space), generates stress. By overcoming
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stress, and in some cases genuine fear, soldiers’ confidence grows and they develop coping mechanisms. Unfamiliarity with a situation significantly heightens stress levels; training that depicts the conflict, culture and environment of operations will reduce the amount of stress felt once deployed. ‘We had a company commander who thought he was doing his best for our welfare by ameliorating the hardships of austere training in Kenya. He shortened marches and then arranged for fizzy drinks at the end of them. He then stood the company down midway through the exercise because he thought we might like a break while others continued to conduct valuable training. But when we got to Northern Ireland I realised that his kindnesses had failed us: we were not properly prepared for the rigours of conflict. The men were soft.’ Lieutenant, Northern Ireland, 1970’s
The focus of training should be downwards: developing, experimenting, teaching, and testing a unit. Individuals should be encouraged to explore and to make mistakes from which they learn to adapt and overcome problems. ‘The battlefield is no place for the perfectionist. Common sense, which develops a finely tuned sense of proportion and balance, must prevail. Snatching success from utter chaos is the name of the game and you may not recognise success when it comes. Imagine a situation where some of those who you anticipate will perform well go to pieces. On the ground you discover your maps are not accurate. Yours supporting armour is delayed for reasons unknown to you. The opposition’s fire power is far greater than you anticipated. General chaos exists. If you school and university record has been one of unparalleled success, giving you no experience of failure, you will find yourself at a disadvantage. ‘If you can meet Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’ never have Rudyard Kipling’s words been more appropriate.’ Sydney Jary, British Army Review No 29
An exercise that is carefully controlled and runs seamlessly is unlikely to yield as much learning value, nor as effectively replicate warfare, as one in which subordinates are given freedom of action but things go wrong. A balance must, however, be struck between failure and success in training, to ensure that self-confidence is not eroded and resources are used to best effect. Leaders should ensure that effort is put into training the ‘second XI’ to develop confidence and prepare them for when they adopt more senior roles.
Lord Moran, ‘The Anatomy of Courage’, Constable and Robinson, London, 2007, p.67-68. TRIM is covered in greater detail in LFSO 3217; http://defenceintranet.diiweb.r.mil.uk/ DefenceIntranet/Library/Army/BrowseDocumentCategories/ManComm/InternalCommunications/ LandForcesStandingOrderlfso3217TraumaRiskManagementtrim.htm
605. Know Your People. Stress can be contained, concealed or delayed, but every man has his limit. Under conditions of constant stress reaching breaking point is not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Lord Moran, a medical officer on the Western Front in the First World War, recalled the psychological effects of sustained bombardment: ‘When the shelling became heavier we got down to the bottom of the trench waiting, listening. We heard a shell that seemed by its rising shriek to be coming near. Then there was a shattering noise… a cloud of fumes, and a great shower of earth and blood and human remains. As the fumes drifted away I had just time to notice that the man on my right had disappeared and that the trench where he had stood was now only a mound of freshly turned earth, when another angry shriek ended in another rending explosion… At the time I do not think I was much frightened… But it took its toll later… In the trenches a man’s will power was his capital and he was always spending, so that wise and thrifty company officers watched the expenditure of every penny lest their men went bankrupt. When their capital was done, they were finished.’34 Lord Moran, The Anatomy of Courage
An intimate knowledge of each and every person will enable a leader to recognise the symptoms of stress and intervene before it overwhelms. Leaders should familiarise themselves with the extant systems for dealing with stress such as Trauma Risk Management (TRIM).35 Gaining sufficient familiarity to be able to gauge psychological health is often best done informally, chatting one-to-one sat on the edge of a shell scrape, or leaning
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on the front decks of a tank while sharing a brew. Lieutenant Walter Graff described such moments during the Battle of Kursk in 1943: ‘There were moments when I could hardly keep my eyes open, but I had responsibility for the lives of thirty men and so I could not afford to be anything but completely focussed. I also had to ensure that I was properly dressed, that I had shaved, that my boots were polished, my personal weapon was clean and that I conducted myself in a professional manner… Standards can slip very easily in battle, and that is when soldiers get into bad habits that can easily lead to casualties… I ensured that I spoke personally to every man in my platoon every day about something unrelated to the war. I usually did this in the evening - if we were fortunate enough to be able to take a break - and would wander around the positions encouraging each, offering reassurance and a kind word.’36 Lieutenant Graff at Kursk, 1943.
606. Importance of Rest. Timely respite for teams and individuals before they irretrievably break is a leader’s duty of care and vital for force preservation.
‘Sleep is a combat supply - like food, water, ammunition and POL except it can’t be stockpiled.’ Maj Gen JG Lorimer
A decent nights sleep can assist, but small alterations to routine or condition might be sufficient as ‘a change can be as good as a break’. Eventually removal from the frontline may be necessary. ‘The fundamentals of war – soldiers must be trained before they can fight, fed before they can march, and relieved before they are worn out.’37 Field Marshal Slim
It takes wisdom to recognise that a point of exhaustion has been reached - and moral courage to admit it to superiors. Those being sent for a break need to be managed carefully. By maintaining their confidence and status among their peers they are more likely to be able to return to role. General Sir Peter de la Billiere recalled the consequences of a soldier not being pulled from the ‘line’ when a rest was needed in the Korean War: ‘A lance corporal… in my platoon was typical of these battleweary veterans. One night he went out on yet one more patrol to set up an ambush in front of our position on Hill 355… During the night we heard a single burst of machine gun fire from the patrol’s location… and in due course the survivors returned with two casualties, both dead. It transpired the lance corporal had heard a noise and nervously overreacted, shooting his own companions by mistake… Through my lack of experience I had failed to identify his behavioural patterns. In the event he was sent home suffering extreme battle stress and fatigue, but I should have dispatched him to the rear echelons for a rest before he had reached this stage of nervous exhaustion. Had I done so, he might have recovered and returned to give valuable front line service.’38 General Sir Peter de la Billiere
The provision of welfare facilities and entertainment can assist in making a break or downtime more valuable and in raising morale. Considerable effort has been placed on this provision; leaders should ensure its availability and use. ‘Evidence gathered from both World Wars and Iraq showed that entertainment is a morale sustaining factor. Its provision has to be perceived as equitable and fair. Disproportionate delivery to rear areas causes resentment among front-line troops who experience greater risks. Poor quality or inappropriate entertainment can depress morale…’ Institute of Psychiatry report, January 201239
36. 37. 38. 39.
Lloyd Clark, ‘Kursk: The Greatest Battle’, Headline Review, London, 2011, p.281. Robert Lyman, ‘Slim, Master of War’, Constable and Robinson, London, 2004, p.119. Lord Moran, ‘The Anatomy of Courage’, Constable and Robinson, London, 2007, p.xiii. Morale, Psychological Wellbeing of UK Armed Forces and Entertainment: A report for the British Forces Foundation. (January 2012). p 43. Professor Edgar Jones, Kings College London.
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607. Enduring Liability. Stress may not be confined to the immediacy of the battlefield. A soldier has a lifetime to recollect their experiences and they may struggle to cope. Leaders have an ongoing responsibility for the welfare of their soldiers and should have knowledge of the available support networks. These include the Army Welfare Service and Regimental and national charities. ‘A veteran came into our [the padres] tent at an event to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Normandy landings. He sat down and began to tell me about his landing in Normandy and then began to cry uncontrollably. As we talked it became clear that he had not mentioned that day to another soul before walking into the tent that day and had been carrying such a burden for all these years.’ An Army Padre
608. Reconciliation. Many of the difficulties of post-conflict reconciliation can be mitigated in advance. This includes ensuring a strong moral framework and comprehension of operational law. Proper preparation can reduce moral ambiguity and thus strengthen people with the knowledge that their actions, though sometimes violent, are essentially just. This is especially important in modern warfare, where increasingly military action takes place in the ‘shades of grey’. Rehearsal of likely scenarios can reduce stress and identify potential difficulties.
Leading in Change ‘For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past and the present are certain to miss the future.’ John F Kennedy
609. Change in the Army. Change is a constant bed-fellow in life. The Army is no different. Flexibility is fundamental to success in war; new ways must be found to gain an advantage over the enemy and adapt to emerging threats. Change is driven by all manner of external factors be they political, technological, economic... Leaders should take comfort that change, however unprecedented it may seem, is not a new phenomenon, but a frequent and continuous process. ‘Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war, not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after they occur.’ Genral Giulio Douhet
610. Reactions to Change. Scepticism and resistance are the normal reaction to change despite new and unfamiliar situations being commonplace. Human nature seeks comfort in certainty and pushes people to focus on selfish interests. The human response to change is often likened to grief, with people moving through different stages (e.g. denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance40) before finally embracing it.
Case Study: Examples of Change
In the 1900s matters of grand-strategy compelled Britain to focus on the possibility of a European war. Reform was badly needed if Britain was to field a force on the Continent, especially given the British Army’s recent dismal performance in a relatively small colonial war against the Boers. Haldane, the Secretary of State for War, established measures for mobilisation to rapidly and considerably increase the strength of the British Army, and his reforms ultimately resulted in the creation of the Territorial Army. Prior to the Haldane reforms the reserves were a confusing mix of militia, yeomanry, and other groups, each with vested interests. Consequently his reforms were met with considerable resistance. In the inter-war period technological developments once more provoked significant change in the British Army. The tank had made its debut in the First World War and the advent of modern weaponry made cavalry obsolete. Never-the-less mechanization of the British Army proceeded slowly and hap-hazardly and advocates of the role of mounted cavalry died-hard. Some cavalry units were still mounted on horses at the start of the Second World War. At the end of the Cold War in 1991, Britain again faced a considerably changed strategic situation. No longer having to maintain large armoured forces in Germany to counter the threat of a Soviet invasion the Army was significantly reduced in what was called the ‘peace-dividend’. Since ‘Options for Change’, there have been several more Strategic Defence Reviews, most of which have involved significant restructuring and reduction. At the beginning of the 21st Century the Army also finds itself in a period of change, driven largely by domestic political and economic factors.
See Kubler Ross 5 (later 3) Stages of Change Model.
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Case Study: General Pavel Rybalko General Pavel Rybalko, commanding the Russian 3rd Tank Army during the Orel offensive of July 1943, had to respond to a change of mission less then twenty four hours before H-hour when his Army was already set in its assembly area! This was followed by several subsequent sudden changes in the axis of the Tank Army’s advance whilst in contact. Despite a degree of inevitable chaos, Rybalko responded with great agility, issuing simple and clear orders to his Corps Commanders, and skilfully arranging his forces in depth so that the second echelon could effect the re-direction, while the first echelon reorganised.
611. Leading Change. Unquestioningly accepting change is not the leader’s prerogative. The consequence of ill-judged change can be catastrophic our lessons are written in blood. Leaders should apply military judgment and when necessary argue boldly against unjustifiable change, even if it runs against the grain of thought. When change is required, leaders must drive it, not just adapt to it. If an information vacuum occurs then it will be filled by conjecture. Rumour and discontent will spread. A leader’s personal example, coupled with a timely, well communicated vision that explains the need and implications of change is essential. Not only should they suppress gossip, but actively combat rumours, dispel uncertainty, and so reduce fear.
Leading at Staff ‘No matter how brilliant the commander, the most glittering conception will go awry if it is not undergirded by the grinding hard work of his staff.’ J M Vermillion, The Pillars of Generalship 41
‘…a commander is unlikely to be successful if he is not supported by a well-organised, well-trained and efficient headquarters which is practised in exercising the right degrees of control in the most demanding conditions…’ ADP Operations, Chapter 6, Paragraph 0656
612. Qualities. The job of a staff is to enable the function of command. The leadership qualities and skills covered in this guide are as relevant at staff as they are in combat. Typical afflictions at staff include a self-serving insular perspective, group-think and an unwillingness to challenge the commander. As they support the commander, moral courage may be at a premium, as Clausewitz indicates: ‘Boldness grows less common in the higher ranks … Nearly every general known to us from history as mediocre, even vacillating, was noted for dash and determination as a junior officer.’ Karl von Clausewitz 42
613. Accuracy and Unity. The accurate and detailed information demanded in a headquarters requires staff to be proactive in seeking information, getting forward where necessary. They will need to possess good communication skills (listening, as well as speaking and writing), and develop strong working relationships built on mutual trust. ‘During the battle of Passchendaele a very senior staff officer asked to be taken to the battlefield. His mind was saturated with all its details; his practised eye took in the scene. Suddenly he said to those with him “What is that stream there?” “That sir,” said an officer pointing to the map, “is this road.” When the staff officer saw for the first time what he had asked his men to do, he broke down and wept.’ Lord Moran, The Anatomy of Courage 43
By not confining themselves to the headquarters, staff can prevent a distorted operating picture and avoid ‘them and us’ scenarios. In the First World War General Plumer described his staff as “servants of the infantry.” This mindset prevents a gulf forming, which can erode the cohesion of the force. Leaders at staff foster cohesion and unity by being visible to the soldiers and, where appropriate, by exposing themselves to the same hardship and danger. In 1942 General Kurt Zeitzler, Chief of Staff of the German High Command, gained empathy with his front line by sharing their meagre diet.44 ‘Nothing was more dreadful to witness than a chain of men starting with the battalion commander and ending with an army commander, sitting in telephone boxes, improvised or actual, talking, talking, in place of leading, leading.’ J.F.C. Fuller describing command in the First World War 45
43. 44. 45.
J.M.Vermillion, ‘The Pillars of Generalship’ in Ed. L J Matthews & D E Brown, ‘The Challenges of Military Leadership’, Pergamon-Brassey, London, 1989, p64. Karl von Clausewitz. On War , translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 1989. Lord Moran, ‘The Anatomy of Courage’, Constable and Robinson, London, 2007, p.44. A. Beevor, ‘Stalingrad’, M. Van Creveld, ‘Command in War’, Harvard University Press, London, 1985, p158.
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Case Study: Exemplary Staff conduct General Berthier, Napoleon’s Chief of Staff Berthier would frequently ride forward from headquarters to join the soldiers in the thick of the fighting. During the campaign in Italy 1796-97 he played a key role in rallying faltering troops during an opposed river crossing at Lodi having been in position to take command of a Division when its original commander was killed in action. In the Jena Campaign of 1806, Berthier, armed only with Napoleon’s loose intent to invade Prussia, commenced immediately with the preparatory work of ‘compiling orders of march, selecting routes, and issuing the necessary warning orders to lower formations. At the same time he was gathering and collating intelligence about the enemy’s movements.’ The commitment, example and skills demonstrated by Berthier in these examples and on other occasions, led General Thiebault to give the following description of Berthier; ‘Quite apart from his specialist training as a topographical engineer, he had knowledge and experience of staff work and furthermore a remarkable grasp of everything to do with war. He had also, above all else, the gift of writing a complete order and transmitting it with the utmost speed and clarity. Finally, he was… endowed with unusual vigour and displayed an activity and indefatigable temperament. No one could have better suited General Bonaparte, who wanted a man capable of relieving him of all detailed work, to understand him instantly and to foresee what to do’.
614. Encourage Free-Thinking and Open-Dialogue. Common understanding with the commander - being able ‘get inside their mind’ - is important. Self-evident is the need for shared lexicon and procedures. Leaders at staff should ensure they are fully versed in doctrine, and encourage and develop the same level of knowledge in others. Equally important are mutual trust and the ability for all members of the staff to speak candidly. In this way, leaders help develop unity and cohesion so that staff feel valued, empowered, and have a personal stake in the plan. ‘He trusted the officers of his staff only when he considered them enterprising; but once they had earned this trust he gave it unreservedly. He allowed them to put forward their plans for marches, positions, and battles.’ Karl von Muffling describing Blucher’s attitude to his staff 46
Both Field Marshal Montgomery and General Patton selected many of their key staff officers specifically for characteristics that compensated for their own shortcomings. Great leaders in history have often depended on a brilliant chief of staff, with trust and openness characterising the partnership: Napoleon with Berthier, Blucher with Scharnhost, Rommel with Gause, Montgomery with de Guingand, Churchill with Allenbrooke. ‘Think to the finish.’ General Allenby
615. Adding Value. The loyalty of a staff to their commander must not reduce them to automatons, nor cause a withering away of initiative, sense of responsibility and imagination. Technological developments in command and control systems, while enabling a greater command capability, can also impede the use of Mission Command with routine decisions being passed up the chain of command simply because technology allows it. Leaders at staff must not attempt to control events just because they can with the attitude that ‘information is power’. ‘The chief trouble at G.H.Q. was that there was no one there who had the time to listen to any new idea. Everybody was so busy writing “Passed to you,” “Noted and returned,” or “For your information,” etc, etc, on piles and piles of “jackets” that no one had a moment to consider any proposal for altering the existing condition of affairs.’ Major Christopher Baker-Carr describing Sir John French’s headquarters of the BEF in 1914 47
R. Parkinson, ‘The Hussar General: The Life of Blucher’, Peter Davies, London, 1975, p102. Gary Mead, ‘The Good Soldier: The Biography of Douglas Haig’, Atlantic Books, London, 2007, p.204.
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Leading Without Authority 616. Other Actors. The modern British soldier interacts with a multitude of actors from a plethora of cultures with disparate views and motivations. There may be no legal authority to order these actors to conform. Instead, Army leaders must devise mechanisms to influence situations through their personality and example so that they can lead without authority. Cultural awareness, empathy, and effective intelligence are key skills. Shared sacrifice and clear commitment to the cause can build bonds that negate command relationships. ‘The team of ANA (Afghan National Army) I was working with had no discipline. They never cleaned their weapons and when we stopped always thought of food before security. I couldn’t tell them to do it – they wouldn’t have listened if I did. I decided to make a point of cleaning my rifle straight away when we stopped sitting among them. From the first time I did it they started to do the same and by the third day they started it themselves.’ Private Soldier, Brigade Advisory Group, Afghanistan
When devising strategies it can be useful to consider Slim’s three elements of leadership - example, persuasion and compulsion - and the possible levers that may be used to gain traction. These levers could include; financial, pride, reputation and personal (stemming from a friendship that has been developed). 617. Allies. The British Army has consistently fought alongside allies from other Western nations48 and in partnership with indigenous forces.49 Indeed, unilateral action, such as in the Falkland Islands, is the exception. Army leaders must make a conscious effort to prepare for working in alliances. This should include gaining a detailed understanding of the culture and history of the nations with whom the leader will work. This will enable the leader to be tactful and diplomatic, to understand why an individual may be adopting a certain viewpoint and to understand the levers they may utilise to influence them. ‘Before deploying to Afghanistan a great deal of work was put into understanding the Afghan people. This paid dividends. What I neglected was to put sufficient effort into understanding our allies the Danes – the results were that I was taken by surprise by the way they thought and acted and in the initial stages there was friction that could have been avoided by better preparation.’ Company Commander, Afghanistan
For example in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, the Second World War, First World War, Napoleonic Wars, Seven Years War. War of Spanish Succession. For example in India, Malaya, the North West Frontier, Iraq and Afghanistan.
618. General. Leading without command authority can be difficult, not because there is some different form of leadership required, but because those trying to achieve it will have to practise leadership particularly well. There are not different skills to those outlined throughout this guide, but the leader will not be able to fall back on their command position or rank if things do not go to plan. If you lead well, you will not need your rank.
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Case Study: The Duke of Wellington Wellington faced considerable frustration with the Spanish during the Peninsular War. Demonstrating a distinct lack of tact and diplomacy he reported candidly to the Spanish foreign minister that he would not trust the protection of his dog to the whole Spanish army. On being obliged to withdraw to Portugal after his victory at Talavera he remarked: ‘I regret as much as any man the necessity of separating from the Spanish armies: but I was at last forced to go, and I believe there was not an officer in the army who did not think I stayed too long. The fault I committed consisted in trusting at all to the Spaniards who I have since found were entirely unworthy of confidence.’ Better was Wellington’s appreciation and handling of the Portuguese army. Despite describing them in 1808 as being in no respects an efficient force, by the time of the invasion of southern France in 1813 they had developed significantly in both confidence and reliability. This was chiefly due to combining British and Portuguese brigades in mixed divisions and through considerable shared experience during the intervening years of war. Wellington faced a similarly, if not more, complex relationship with his allies during the Waterloo campaign of 1815, where only a third of his army were British, and the remainder from the Netherlands, Hanover, and other German states. Indeed, in a significant gesture of largesse, command of one of the two Allied corps was given to the young Dutch Prince William of Orange, his appointment being preferred over that of a more experienced British officer for reasons of diplomacy. Wellington described the difficulties of leading such a polyglot force, and dealing with the King of the Netherlands: ‘He has given me no command over his army, and everything is for negotiation… and although he is, I believe, a well-meaning man, he is the most difficult person to deal with I have ever met. He is surrounded by persons who have been in French service… I would not trust one of them out of my sight.’ During the Waterloo campaign Wellington was operating alongside a Prussian army whose Chief of Staff, Gniesenau, harboured a deep distrust of the British, in particular fearing that Wellington would allow the Prussian army to absorb the punishment of Napoleon’s offensive into Belgium, before sweeping up afterwards or retiring on the Channel Ports depending on the outcome. The campaign of 1815 provides a good example of high stakes resting on the trust between two allies. It was Gniesenau’s lack of trust in Wellington that very nearly saw the Prussians retreat back along the Liege road towards Germany after their defeat at Ligny, rather than northwards in parallel with Wellington’s retreat from Quatre Bras. This course of action would have taken the two armies on divergent courses, making it impossible for them to unite at Waterloo and likely resulting in a French victory in that battle. Wellington had attached a liaison officer to Blucher’s headquarters, but he also understood Prussian fears of moving away from their own lines of communication with Germany, and personally rode over to Blucher’s position before the Battle of Ligny to assure him of his support. Consequently, it was Blucher’s trust in Wellington that led him to take the latter course, a decision Wellington later called ‘the decisive moment of the century’.
Case Study: General Eisenhower Eisenhower’s supreme command of all Allied forces during the Second World War provides a model example of the diplomacy, tact, and persuasion required to lead a force of over four million men from five different countries towards a common goal of victory in Europe. Steering such a complex coalition was a major task given the competing national interests of each nation and indeed the not-inconsiderable egos of many of the key players, Churchill, De Gaulle, Montgomery, and Patton to name a few. But Eisenhower appreciated the basic fact that human qualities and a personal touch sit at the heart of all leadership, no matter at what level. In 1943 Eisenhower outlined his advice on leadership of an allied force to Lord Mountbatten on his assumption of supreme command of Allied Forces in Southeast Asia: ‘Cooperation… implies such things as selflessness, devotion to common cause, generosity in attitude, and mutual confidence… The problem involves the human equation and must be met day-by-day. Patience, tolerance, frankness, absolute honesty in all dealings, particularly with all persons of the opposite nationality, and firmness are absolutely essential… An Allied Commander in Chief… must be self-effacing, quick to give credit, ready to meet the other fellow more than half way, must seek and absorb advice and must learn to decentralise.’ Eisenhower diffused many disagreements between the Allies with a deft hand, smoothing relations with a diplomatic manner, and, sometimes, a considerable dose of personal humility. He recognised that to achieve compliance and cooperation between the different parties required hard work, daily investment, openness, complete confidence, and frequent compromise. Above all, as Lieutenant General Christman stated: ‘He personified the essential bond - trust! - that ties leader to led in armies of a democracy. His soldiers trusted him because he exuded the essential values of integrity and respect.’ Lest we make the mistake of thinking that the leadership lessons of Eisenhower have no application in the modern world, we only need to consider the consent required to build and maintain coalition forces in Bosnia in 1996, Iraq in 1990 (which involved more than thirty nations from widely different cultural backgrounds), Iraq in 2003, and Afghanistan in 2002. It would also be a mistake to think that such subtle leadership qualities are only the preserve of senior commanders in complex alliances. The same humility, patience, tolerance, frankness, absolute honesty, quickness to give credit, and readiness to compromise that Eisenhower needed to massage the Allies in 1944-45 applies equally to a Lance Corporal mentoring an Afghan National Army section in 2009, or indeed a Company Commander conducting joint operations with NATO forces.
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‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid’ Albert Einstein 77 |
Appendix 1 Book Reviews
701. Introduction. The selection of book reviews below is designed to encourage and focus further study of leadership. The list is by no means exhaustive and readers should not feel restricted to reading only those titles highlighted. A wide range of leadership and titles on other subjects are available at the Prince Consorts Library.50 They can be requested through the ALIS online catalogue on ArmyNet.
1. ‘The Path to Leadership’ - Field Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein Field Marshal Montgomery’s study of leadership remains a classic that focuses on the basics; leadership by example, leadership based on truth and character, leadership that inspires confidence, an intimate knowledge of human nature, a clear understanding and communication of purpose, a thorough professional knowledge, and care not to waste your men’s lives. All of these leadership qualities stand the test of time, although it is of note that Montgomery was one of the first great British commanders to master communication of purpose right down to the lowest common denominator, with his plain speaking road-shows imparting two important things; a feeling that every soldier had a key part to play and a bond between leader and led. Montgomery’s book opens with an attempt to define what leadership is ‘the capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which will inspire confidence’ - before providing some reflections on military command. The remainder of the book considers leadership in different circumstances, mainly focussing on political leaders but also considering leadership in industry, youth leadership, leadership in the west, and communist leadership. These chapters, while interesting, are of limited utility to the modern military reader, who perhaps would rather Montgomery discussed in greater depth the leadership required and encountered during the campaigns in North Africa and Europe. If short on time, just read the first three chapters and the conclusion, where the reader will find the greatest value and understand the essence of the book.
Prince Consort’s Library, Knollys Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 1PS. http://freespace.virgin.net/three.aec/ALibS/Libpub/pcl.htm 50.
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2. ‘Command in War’ - Martin Van Creveld Martin Van Creveld’s study of command considers how the function of command has evolved from ancient warfare through to the modern world. He takes, as his case studies, the ancient and medieval periods, the Napoleonic Wars, the Wars of German Unification, the First World War, the Yom-Kippur War, and the Vietnam War, and in particular looks at how technological, organisational, strategic, operational, and tactical developments have influenced and changed how command is exercised. His chapter on the First World War brilliantly describes how many commanders ultimately failed in their role as leaders through an obsession with over-controlling the battle from their field telephones, while his chapter on Vietnam demonstrates how technological developments provided commanders with an all-powerful ‘directed telescope’ that actually crippled the initiative of junior leaders. Van Creveld’s book is primarily concerned with the evolving functions of a commander and his staff on an increasingly more dispersed and complex battle-space, with very detailed historical analysis of how commanders have exercised decision-making and control. There are obviously significant implications for the student of leadership, it being one of the functions of command. In particular, Creveld’s book illustrates well how the combined functions of a commander have increasingly become more difficult as he has become more remote, with a tension developing between decisionmaking and control, often best exercised from a headquarters or operations room, and leadership, best exercised on the battlefield. 3. ‘On the Psychology of Military Incompetence’ - Norman Dixon Norman Dixon’s book looks at incompetence in military leaders throughout history and considers whether, rather than being random occurrences, they are, in fact, a result of the military system. In particular he considers whether people with certain psychological characteristics are drawn to a military career, and whether the military insulates and exacerbates these characteristics in them. Some might feel that Dixon’s study has little relevance to the British military of today, with much of his evidence drawn from the characters and experience of the late-Victorian and Edwardian army. He bases many of his hypotheses on the mostly public school background of military officers, theories that perhaps require revision in an age when the demographic of officer candidates is considerably broader. Modern military readers might also struggle to relate to Dixon’s fascination with the issue of toilet-training and its influence on character, as well as his perception of military men inevitably being the progeny of distant, disciplinarian parents and affectionstarved childhoods. If one persists, there is much in Dixon’s book that remains applicable to the British military today. Most military readers are likely to find something of
themselves in his examples. His assertion that the institutional culture of the military breeds an intellectual conservatism, resulting in dangerous ‘groupthink’, should serve as a warning to all military leaders. He also cautions against military leaders becoming so invested in their own plan that their mind filters information, accepting that which reinforces their perception of a situation, but discarding that which doesn’t. Dixon draws attention to the military need for order and discipline, suggesting that this conditions military minds to comfortable certainties, despite disorder and uncertainty being the prevailing characteristics of the battlefield. He also argues that most military failures result not from being too bold, but from not being bold enough, and that the higher a military leader rises in rank the more they are motivated by fear of failure, rather than hope of success, resulting in a reduced willingness to take risks. Dixon’s book is also very useful in helping to understand how the culture, values, and ethos of British military leadership have emerged from a largely amateur tradition. He divides leaders into two broad types, taskspecialists, concerned principally with output, and social specialists concerned principally with the maintenance of harmony and cohesion in a group. Dixon considers the phenomenon of how some of Britain’s most incompetent military leaders were still loved by their men, despite leading them to slaughter. He concludes that, although poor task specialists, they were excellent social specialists, with reputations, often made as junior leaders, for being brave and caring. Principally, their incompetence resulted from being promoted beyond their capability. Obviously, the ideal military leader is both a task and social specialist, and reading Dixon’s book, the reader will no doubt see how much more output-related modern military leadership has become. Never-the-less the book challenges the reader to look at some of the cultural attitudes that do persist in our military today and ask if they are still relevant. Is it still important that our leaders are gentlemen, or have a ‘sense of otherness’? Given the much improved educational standard of our soldiers, can we still assume that the leader is more knowledgeable than those he leads, and if not should this result in a less autocratic, and more cooperative style of leadership? This is a challenging and informative book that should be read with an open mind. It highlights some uncomfortable truths about the military psychology and the dangers inherent in the military culture for decisionmaking and leadership, and provides useful warnings to be heeded from its negative historical examples.
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4. ‘18 Platoon’ - Sydney Jary Sydney Jary’s ‘18 Platoon’ is a classic account of platoon level leadership that remains staple reading for junior leaders. The book follows Jary from taking over 18 Platoon during the heavy fighting in Normandy, through the campaigns in Belgium and the Netherlands, and ends with the transition from war-fighting to occupation of Northern Germany. The leadership lessons of ‘18 Platoon’ are enduring and many a junior leader will readily identify with the challenges Jary faces, the first of which is his initial battle to win the respect and trust of 18 Platoon after the loss of their previous commander in combat. Jary strikes an unorthodox appearance on first meeting 18 Platoon, sporting a non-issue pistol and civilian cardigan. From this first impression his NCOs are consequently wary of him and unsure of what sort of man he is. Jary describes the signal moment when he wins the respect of his battle-hardened soldiers during an attack on a village. He leads the platoon from the front, exposing himself to equal and more danger than his men, highlighting the need for leaders to exhibit both courage and example. Jary also describes the difficulties of operating under an inadequate company commander whose toxic leadership style creates tension in the unit. Jary struggles to mitigate the effects of his company commanders’ poor decision-making without being overtly insubordinate, while swallowing his own pride at being unjustly berated when things go wrong. It is clear that this commander compensates for his own lack of professional competence by criticising and blaming Jary, bringing to mind Rommel’s maxim that excessive harshness in dealing with subordinates usually indicates a man with shortcomings to hide. Jary’s intimate knowledge and affection for his soldiers is clearly evident in his writing, and forms a continuous thread throughout ’18 Platoon’. The reader cannot help but get a sense of Jary’s real care for his platoon, and it is perhaps this continuous yet unspoken emphasis on the human touch that forms the most powerful leadership lesson of this book.
5. ‘Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why it Matters’ - B Kellerman. This book challenges conventional thinking that suggests the activity of leading requires goodness, competence, and courage. This book compels us to consider, analyze and learn from bad leadership. It requires us to look at the human behaviour of leadership in all its forms, including those that are not so flattering, and argues that bad leadership is all around us and that the only way to better address it is to study it, analyze it, learn from it, and finally, take action against it. It offers an outstanding compilation of noteworthy business and political leaders who have caused harm to those around them, both near and far. It is written in a structured and cohesive manner to allow the reader to understand that leadership is “just one strand of a web that constitutes the leadership process.” 6. ‘Leadership theory and Practice’ - PG Northouse. Anyone wishing for a general overview of key leadership theories will benefit from this book. It gives a fairly brief description of 10 of the prevailing theories. For each it outlines the theory and then how it works in practice. It then reviews the strengths and criticisms of the theory, enabling the reader to determine the relative merits of each approach. Also, each chapter contains 3 case studies with accompanying questions to assist in interpretation. Finally, there is a self-assessment questionnaire to help the reader apply the approach to their own leadership style or setting. There are then 3 chapters of a different nature; Women and Leadership, Culture and Leadership and Leadership Ethics. This book is an excellent and easy to read guide to leadership theories. It will provide sufficient information for most (a very good ‘bluffer’s guide) and, for those who wish to do so, provides a platform for more in-depth study. 7. ‘Once a Warrior King’ - David Donovan In this gripping novel, David Donovan tells of his deployment to a small village in Vietnam where he and a small team recruit and train local villagers, and then deploy with them on operations in the surrounding jungle. The lessons Donovan reveals as he builds a relationship with the village elders and grows to better understand and appreciate their language, culture and sacrifice are pertinent for any military leader considering counterinsurgency operations. After almost a year in the jungle, the book concludes with Donovan being removed from patrol and rapidly returning to Los Angeles to be at his Father’s death bed. The mental struggle endured as Donovan moves through the luxury of Saigon, returns to a nation who castigate him for his part in the war, and then attempts to cope with ‘normal’ life is an emotional insight into the mind of a returning soldier and the reality PTSD.
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8. ‘From the City, from the Plough’ and ‘The Human Kind’ - Alexander Baron The British author Alexander Baron (real name Joseph Bernstein) served in the Pioneer Corps during World War Two. His experiences as a junior noncommissioned officer in the Italian and North-West European campaigns inspired a series of novels written after the war. Baron chose fiction over memoir because he believed that a writer can be more honest and efficient when not slave to truth. That said, it is widely understood that most of the characters and incidents in his wartime novels have basis in fact. His work is compelling and it is obvious throughout that the author experienced these events, or at least many like them. The greatest strength of Baron’s novels is their examination of character and this is the most valuable aspect to leadership development. ‘From the City, from the Plough’ follows an infantry battalion preparing for the D-Day landings. Their commanding officer is a kindly, avuncular personality supported by a brighter but more world-weary senior major. The novel introduces a variety of men under their command, each a showcase for the archetypes Baron encountered during his wartime service. There is a cruel and ambitious (but capable) company commander, an earnest young officer leaning on his sergeant, who himself struggles with doubt. Best of all are the soldiers: stolid men from farms thrown together with the more cunning and worldly recruits from urban slums. Their pride, friendships, temptations and vices are all beautifully rendered through anecdote. Baron is an author who shows rather than tells. The novel climaxes with the battalion’s decimation in a futile assault - a passage all the more powerful for the intimacy one has gained with the characters. ‘The Human Kind’ is really a collection of short stories - some told in the first person and others narrated objectively. There is a rough chronology that runs from early war years training in the UK thence to Italy, Normandy and Belgium. The only recurring character is a corporal (Baron’s rank for most of the war) in command of an infantry section. The novel culminates with his return to Britain, traumatised by war and disgusted by the degeneracy of the society he left behind. But of course it is not so much society that has changed but Baron. ‘The Human Kind’ is a beautifully observed, subtle and thought provoking exposition of war’s impact on character. For all of its diversity, the novel returns often to the issue of comradeship. But the genius lies in Baron’s ability to signal the dangers these loyalties can bring. There is one masterful passage where the company’s kindness to an inadequate soldier only ends in tragedy. In the context of leadership, both books are, in effect, a tool for generating empathy. Moreover, they force the reader to question common orthodoxies, motivations and social assumptions. Baron’s talent for storytelling ensures that the reader is entertained at every turn. There is as much mirth as tragedy: surely the hallmark of soldiering.
9. ‘Quartered Safe Out Here’ - George MacDonald Fraser Best known for his ‘Flashman’ novels, George MacDonald Fraser served as a junior soldier in 9th Battalion, The Border Regiment during the Burma campaign of World War Two. He was promoted to Lance Corporal four times having been busted on three occasions for colourful minor offences (in once case losing a tea urn). Eventually he was selected for officer candidate school and commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders. His memoir ‘Quartered Safe Out Here’ is a rare gift: the genuine perspective of a very junior solider rendered by the eye and pen of an extraordinarily talented writer. Fraser gives voice to the lowest common denominator of soldiery and it is a fascinating journey. His horizon barely stretches past the platoon commander; most of the action takes place within his section. Fraser uses the clever device of relating his experiences alongside terse extracts from the relevant campaign history. Never again can one read the (necessary) generalities of military history without sparing thought for the sweat, confusion and sacrifice of the multitude involved - often blind to the wider context of their actions. It is at its most valuable for aspiring platoon and troop commanders because the narrative takes you behind the inevitable affectations that will be encountered when talking to junior troops. ‘Quartered Safe Out Here’ is a glimpse into the timeless interactions of junior ranks when even the section commander and lance corporal are looking elsewhere. It signals the importance of disseminating information to the lowest level: the section’s ignorance of the wider campaign is as marked as their thirst for detail. Most of all, the memoir exposes the traits that junior soldiers both admire and despise in their commanders. It is a leadership guide of note. The twin pillars of ‘honesty and competence’ shine through. Compassion too is a premium that Fraser and his section respect - especially in their memorable section commander ‘Titch’, a character capable of lightning aggression but also remarkable sensitivity. Their affection for Field Marshal Slim - somehow accessible to the most junior soldiers in his Army - is a valuable lesson to our most senior officers. Fraser’s sense of humour renders passages that will have you laughing out loud, balanced against the pathos and tragedy of their successive losses. He never succumbs to melodrama but nor is it overly understated (as with many memoirs from that generation). Fraser is an honest and sympathetic observer and the steel behind his charm is always in evidence. The Japanese were hard and tenacious opponents. Fraser’s introduction (revised just a few years before his death) contains observations about current attitudes to war and military service that will challenge the views of contemporary soldiers.
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Appendix 2 10 Diseases of Leadership Richard Holmes’ ’10 Diseases of Leadership’
1. Lack of moral courage. In the military physical courage is often supported by the sense of team and shared commitment to a specific task. Moral courage is often a far lonelier position and so that much harder to undertake in practice. • Themes to consider: loneliness of command; doing what you know is right; not taking the easy path, not turning a blind eye etc. • Paraphrased from Julian Thompson (1982); ‘... to do what is right in the face of provocation, threats, bribes and manifest hatred. Especially when those making the threats are in the overwhelming superiority, and one is junior and far from one’s unit.’ • Students will probably not have read the Rolling Stone article in the reader yet but that offers some excellent examples of failings in moral courage for DS to use. Try to avoid slipping into the ethical issues in that article as that has a whole SRD dedicated to it. • Consent and evade is a form of a failure of moral courage in that those who succumb to it do not have the courage to confront their superior. • Slim on moral Courage; ‘ …. it has to be taught because few, if any, have it naturally. the young can learn it from their parents, in homes, schools, religion, other early influences, but to inculcate it into a grownup who lacks it requires not so much teaching as a striking personal experience- something that burst upon him ; something in the nature of a vision. That happens rarely, and is why you will find that those with moral courage learn it by precept and example in their youth.’ Nature v nurture rears its head! Try not to get caught in that rabbit hole but tell the students to keep it in mind as they go through the rest of the module and discuss in the wrap-up SRD. • Page 81 of the 2011 Infantryman has a contemporary example and interpretation of moral courage. • Canadian Airborne Regt in Somalia. SNCOs watching on as civilians were tortured and murdered. 2. Failure to recognize that opposition can be loyal. Encourage constructive dissent rather than have destructive consent. • Students should beware wholesale acquiescence to plans, change programs etc as this can often mean consent and evade. • They need to generate a culture where people are comfortable in challenging the ideas of the commander but know the time and place to do it.
• Some of these issues will be covered in the change management lecture on day 1 of the module. • Sometimes it will be better that the commander is confronted by constructive criticism and engagement from his team than indifference or unstinting support. 3. Consent and evade. Do not consent to a plan that you do not agree with then evade its implications by doing something different without telling your commander. • If someone feels there is something wrong with a plan, order etc they should speak up, not just ‘turn to the right’ and get on with it or, worse still, do something else, the effect of which might be to unpick the overall plan of their commander. 4. There is a need to know and you don’t need to know. Some people use information and access to it to reinforce their leadership position. • Information is power. This is sometimes exercised by people unintentionally, sometimes more sinisterly in terms of maintaining a position of authority by keeping everybody in the dark. • For the students who do it unintentionally this is a chance for the wake up call to get them to identify a way. • If you want people to contribute, use their initiative etc you need to give them the information to enable them to do so. • Delegation is a key skill of commanders, but you can only do so effectively if those you are delegating to have the necessary information in their grasp. NB Carleton-Smith’s leadership mantra that you should ‘delegate until you feel uncomfortable and then delegate some more.’ 5. Don’t bother me with the facts I’ve already made up my mind. There is always a point where the detail of a plan is confirmed, after which there is a tendency to ignore any new information that might suggest a change to that plan is required. The British as a people have a greater tendency than most to succumb to this. Examples: • Op MARKET GARDEN 1944. Ignoring the Met Reports prior to the jump and telling the IO that he needed a break after presenting the aerial photos of the German armour that no-one thought was there.
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6. The quest for the 100% solution. A good plan in time is better than a great plan too late. • How long are you going to wait for the UAV feed before you make a decision? • Do you consider how much the enemy can do in the time you are ‘waiting’ to make a decision? • Much talk of the 80% solution, how many of you are willing to use it and rely on a bit of flexibility or agility in your plan/force lay down to seize the 20% if it presents itself? • In large part due to his meticulousness, often waiting considerable time until everything was ready, Monty never lost a battle. But how many more could he have won (and more easily?) • Patton famous for this - Battle of Bulge key memorable event, he judged the enemy intent and capabilities on limited information and moved his Army to cut off the Germany breakout (visionary?). Quote “A good solution applied with vigour now, is better than a perfect solution ten mins later.” 7. Equating the quality of the advice with the rank of the person providing it. Wisdom and insight are not linked inextricably to rank and experience. • Some good contemporary examples where we rely on skill and expertise rather than rank. Vallon men (often very junior soldiers) and ATOs. Examples in Int Cells of excellent Pte soldiers, far better than the SNCO who was the Int ‘Officer’. How many of us would tend to favour what the SNCO told us? • Trust in the man with the situational awareness? In simple tactical terms the man who has ‘eyes on’ may be in the best position to shape the plan until the comd can get to the position where he can ‘influence the battle’. What if you, as the commander, can’t get to the right place either due to geography or time? 8. I’m too busy to win. Failure to exploit opportunities that arise by being focused on routine work. •
Can you differentiate between urgent and important? And then make the critical decision to achieve success.
9. I can do your job too. Avoid the temptation to slip back into your old comfort zones. It will smother subordinates.
• Is this the same as the long screwdriver or micro-management? • Mission command is relevant here, but it is more than that. It is about demonstrating an understanding of one’s own role, particularly when things get difficult. Having the courage to work through the hardship rather than taking the easy option. • Patton an interesting example “promulgation of your order represents only 10% of your responsibility, the rest is assured by means of personal supervision on the ground, by the comd and staff instilling proper and vigorous execution of the plan “. This is what Patton preached but there are numerous incidences of low level interference, passing Corps comds and tasking Div comds; examples of non-adherence to mission command but also Patton’s self-confident belief that he excelled as a commander at all levels. 10. Big man, cold shadow. Consider the effect of your presence and involvement in a task. Will it help or hinder? • Slim’s relationship with Wingate. Slim already had built his reputation and could easily have squashed Wingate’s sometimes over exuberance. Instead he demonstrated considerable operational maturity. See the reader; Antony King’s article ‘Military Command in the last Decade’ in BAR 151 Spring 2011 pp 24-25 for more. • Mission command is relevant here too. Give clear direction and let subordinates crack on, do not overbear.
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Appendix 3 The Processes of Decision Making
1. Psychological Processes. The table below outlines some of the psychological processes relevant to the ethical decision making. It provides an outline of the main points of the thinking and other sources of information for further study. Process
Because formal groups commonly defer to a hierarchy and comply to the consensus poor, sometimes, downright wrong decision can emerge
Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. Houghton Mifflin Company; Raven, B. H. (1998)
The reduced sense of individual identity accompanied by diminished self-regulation that comes over a person in a large group
The tendency for groups to make riskier decisions than individuals
Social Comparison Theory
Where there is no objective standard of evaluation or comprehension, people evaluate their opinions, behaviours and abilities by comparing themselves to others
Conformity and Obedience
Sherif, Milgram, Asch
The tendency of individuals to conform to the attitudes and behaviours of others
Latane, Darley, Batson
The tendency of individual to be less likely to intervene to help a stranger when others are present due to a) not wishing to draw attention to themselves b) complying with the group’s behaviour
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
The theory that inconsistencies among a person’s thoughts, sentiments and actions creates an adverse emotional state (dissonance) that leads to efforts to restore consistency
Reicher, S (2001) The psychology of crowd dynamics
Blass, Thomas (2004). The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram Aronson, E. (2008). The Social Animal (10th ed.). New York: Worth/Freeman. Aronson, J., & Aronson, E. (Ed.). (2008). Readings about the social animal (10th ed.). New York: Worth/Freeman. L Festinger When Prophecy Fails (1956) Aronson, E. (2008). The Social Animal (10th ed.). New York: Worth/Freeman. Aronson and Tavris Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me (2008)
‘Othering’ (of Muslims)
Ulrich (Uni. Austin, Texas)
Emphasis on the role of language and representation - marked and unmarked identities etc.
Representing Islam: a critique of Language & Reality, T Kassam, Syracuse University
Social differentiation of ‘us’ and ‘them’ Hierarchical and Stereotypical thinking Ethnocentrism Dehumanisation
To view others (especially groups or particular races) as less human (e.g. the US military called the Vietnamese ’Gooks’)
Deci & Moller; Haslam et al (2008)
Authorities do not just command obedience but can also redefine reality and can change habitual ways of thinking and acting
Christopher Browning (1992), Ordinary Men The Social Psychology of Good and Evil (2005) Arthur Miller
Faure et al.
By perceiving and depicting the other as the moral antithesis of oneself it is easier to move to deindividuation and commit moral atrocities
Humiliation and the victim identity in conditions of political and violent conflict S Varvin - Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 2005 - pep-web.org Demonisation and Diplomatic Deadlock: The Obstacles of Fighting a War on Evil L Normand - 2009 allacademic.com
Unwillingness to change thought patterns that we have used in the past in the face of new circumstances
Status quo bias
The status quo bias is a cognitive bias for the status quo; in other words, people tend not to change an established behavior unless the incentive to change is compelling
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 1: 7-59 (1988) ‘Status Quo Bias in Decision Making’ William Samuelson Boston University Richard Zeckhauser Harvard University
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Appendix 4 Summary of How People Think As described in JDN 3/11: DECISION-MAKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING: HUMAN AND ORGANISATIONAL FACTORS. Professor Karen Carr, Cranfield University. Thinking engages many types of mental activity: reasoning, judgment, communication and social understanding, to name a few. How can a leader make most effective use of these capabilities, both within a team and within him or herself? By understanding some basic principles about how the brain works, its strengths and weaknesses can be managed more effectively according to the needs of the situation. Means for Thinking. Psychological science recognizes the difference between two categories of brain function that produce thinking: conscious and non-conscious. Only a very small proportion of thinking processes are conscious. Non-conscious processes continually absorb and interpret information and influence conscious processes. The two types of functions have different properties and different advantages and disadvantages. They can be considered the Means by which thinking activities are carried out. Ways of Thinking. Over millennia, people have learned to think in different ways, and have passed on their learning to subsequent generations. We now have many ways of understanding, generating new ideas and making decisions. For example we can use language, logic, metaphor, mathematics, inference or debate to try and understand how other people are likely to behave in a given situation. Overall, ways of thinking can be categorized according to whether they are converging onto a selected outcome such as a conclusion or a decision, or whether they are seeking additional elements to construct new ideas, wider options or possibilities. Thus we can consider two main Ways of Thinking: Divergent and Convergent. The Ways and the Means for thinking can be summarized as shown in Figure 1 below. Divergent
eg systematic exploration
Conscious Means eg rapid intuitive decision
eg logical deduction
Figure 1: Ways and Means of Thinking
Effective and agile thinking depends upon how the Ways and Means of thinking are deployed. There is ample evidence that logical, analytical approaches to clearly defined problems work well. Capable people (and information technology) can apply systematic reasoning according to explicit rules with very effective results. Systematic reasoning can break down, however, if there is not enough certain information to work with. There is currently much interest in how we think about situations that are not well understood, where there is ambiguity and uncertainty, or no common agreement about the nature of the problem or the desired outcome.51,52 In such cases, using traditional analytical approaches can give a false sense of reassurance that useful thinking is taking place, and lead to blinkered perceptions and lost opportunities. Skilled thinking comes from knowing how to use different ways and means of thinking most effectively for the circumstances. Both Means for thinking are constantly taking place in every individual, but self awareness can help ensure that they work well together and that the emphasis given to each is appropriate to the situation. Some people may be more confident or more skilled in using one or other Means. Within a group, it may be useful for different group members to purposely focus on different Means of thinking. Strengths and Weaknesses. The human brain has evolved so that people are born with a number of predetermined thinking patterns in response to certain situations. These patterns make thinking effective in everyday situations, encouraging social behavior and helping quick responses. However, they can interfere with more intellectual thinking in even the most intelligent and rational of people. Scientific experiments have demonstrated that when people believe they are thinking objectively, their thinking follows predictable patterns that are set by factors such as emotion, familiarity, prejudice, judgemental ‘rules of thumb’, and automatic ‘filling in’ of gaps in knowledge with false knowledge. These factors help people to survive in the complex, social environment that has shaped human evolution but undermine people’s ability to think objectively. An example of an in-built thinking pattern is the unintentional tendency to seek evidence for something we hope to prove or demonstrate (confirmation bias). We tend to notice things that support our expectations and not notice things that counter them. This leads to unintentional selectivity and bias in our use of data, but it has evolved because it helps us stay focused on an objective. Leadership often means dealing with complex and uncertain situations. An effective leader will require mastery of the full range of thinking skills as well as the ability to elicit the optimum thinking from his or her team. Studies have described leadership in complex situations as enabling a team 51.
The term ‘wicked problems’ was first devised to describe these sorts of problems by Rittel, H. & Webber, M. (1973) Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning, Policy Sciences, Vol 4, pp.155-169. Implications for the military context are described in Paparone, C.R. Anderson, R., McDaniel, R. (2008) Where Military Professionalism meets Complexity Science, Armed Forces and Society, 34, 433-449. The relationship between rationality and randomness is discussed by Taleb, N.N. in The Black Swan, Penguin, 2010 (Revised Edition).
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to think for itself, to develop ideas and self-coordinate in a bottom-up manner53. In such cases, the execution of leadership is achieved through stimulating social mechanisms, encouraging communication and dialogue, trust, inspiring interest and creativity. In particular, the use of metaphor and storytelling has been highlighted to help develop shared understanding and nurture new understanding54. A leader must also have the ability to apply rational and objective analysis, and therefore should be aware of the unconscious factors that surreptitiously come into play.
A leader should also be aware of the effects of organizational culture on thinking. Culture develops and reinforces unconscious thinking patterns through its values and attitudes, the expectations it gives rise to and the way it rewards behaviours. An organizational culture may not recognize the value of making mistakes in order to learn, or it may discourage challenges to established ways of thinking. Both of these characteristics will considerably reduce innovation and agility, although they will provide a predictable, reliable response which can be effective in some conditions.
Tables 1 and 2 overleaf provide some of the key findings from psychological research that can be used to help develop and use thinking skills.
Good Principles of Thinking: 1. Be aware of Ways and Means: • Be aware of what kind of thinking you and others are using. Is it appropriate for the situation and the phase of operation? • Are you relying too much on one kind of thinking? • Have you made use of all the useful types of thinking? • Be aware of the vulnerabilities of the type of thinking you are using. • Be aware of which Way of thinking is needed and whether you are being rigorous in following it. 2. Use Conscious Means: • Use your conscious thinking to be systematic and logical. • Conscious thinking works well when you understand the situation and you know what you are trying to achieve. • Be wary of the influence of in-built thinking patterns - especially the inadvertent effects from expectations, hopes, familiarity, seniority, habit. • Be aware of the impact of mood - negative mood narrows the focus, positive mood propagates wider thinking. There is a ‘sweet point’ for good thinking that lies between too much and too little fervour.
Peterson, R.S and Behfar, K.J. (2005). Leadership as Group Regulation. In Messick, D.M. and Kramer, R.M. (Eds.) (2005) The Psychology of Leadership. New Perspectives and Research, Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. Boal, K.B. & Schulz, P.L. (2007), ‘Storytelling, time and evolution: The role of strategic leadership in complex adaptive systems’, The Leadership Quarterly, 19, 411-428.
TABLE 1: USING MEANS FOR THINKING Non-conscious Means: Not consciously putting effort into thinking, but creating the right conditions for nonconscious thinking to take place
Conscious Means: Carefully thinking in an analytical manner, consciously managing what you are thinking about
Can process a lot of information in parallel, picking up on things that are not consciously perceived.
Has limited capacity and therefore works one step at a time.
Can be very effective under time pressure, and for reacting to sudden, unexpected events, especially in people who have experience in similar situations. Can be more effective than analytical thinking for some types of very complex or unstructured problems. May use valuable situational information that is perceived unconsciously and not available to conscious analysis. Expertise is often based on intuitive thinking that has been developed through experience, and can be very accurate.
More vulnerable to inherent thinking patterns.
Usually more effective when accuracy and evidence are needed, and time and information are available, but only if precautions are taken to avoid the influence of in-built thinking patterns. Training in logic can enhance analytical reasoning skills. Skilled analytical thinking is less influenced by emotion and inherent thinking patterns Novices will rely on analytical thinking until they become more expert, when nonconscious intelligence is developed, and they have the confidence to use it. Many tools and techniques have been developed in the tradition of objectivity and determinism which rely on conscious thinking. Can encourage stove-piped thinking, and if not used skillfully can give a false sense of objectivity.
Follow good practice: • Change - Be willing to change your mind • Uncertainty - Use uncertainty, don’t ignore it - leverage gaps to seek new perspectives • Prompts - Use prompts - rules of thumb, methods, processes, tools, techniques • Challenge - Give and accept challenge - look for assumptions, viewpoints, biases • Alternatives - Keep seeking alternatives - don’t stop at the first solution unless you have to • Talk - Use critical discourse with a trusted partner to develop and cross check your thinking • Emotion - be emotionally self-aware and aware of others’ emotions • Review - review for the effects of thinking patterns
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TABLE 2: USING WAYS OF THINKING Divergent Ways: Creating more information, more associations, more possibilities
Convergent Ways: Reducing the information being considered, selecting, deducing
Inference, creativity, and understanding the unfamiliar all depend upon divergence.
Deduction, conclusion, decision making require convergence.
Divergence can be achieved through systematic conscious exploration of new lines of thinking (often assisted by methods and tools), or through allowing nonconscious associations to be created through general mental stimulation, followed by a period of quiet relaxation.
Convergence can be achieved through rigorous analytical methods or by rapid judgement (intuition).
The natural tendency to for non-conscious thinking to fill in gaps in knowledge so that things make sense can lead to false memories but also to valuable flashes of insight.
‘Delayed convergence’ is a common fault when people lack confidence or overestimate the value of additional information.
People with diverse experiences, expectations and perspectives will create a much wider range of divergent directions that people from the same team, organisation or culture.
‘Premature convergence’ is a common fault when people are highly motivated to reach closure or have ingrained assumptions.
Implicit (unrecognized) assumptions and biases from non conscious associations often lead to mistakes in convergent thinking.
Divergent thinking can be constrained by organisational factors such as authoritarianism, ridicule, status, blame; also by personal factors such as fear of failure, need for closure, training and education.
3. Use Non-conscious Means: • Use non-conscious thinking to help make sense of very difficult situations (complexity, ambiguity, social and emotional issues, lack of time). • Use non-conscious thinking with care - make use of its strengths but understand its weaknesses. • Intuition - pay attention to intuition that may have picked up valuable information non-consciously or recognised a pattern of events. Be wary of biases and the way in which memory can ‘reconstruct’ events without you realizing it.
Follow good practice: • Stimulate - Take every opportunity to stimulate the mind with lots of experience and information. The more parts of the brain that are stimulated the richer the ideas that can be produced. • Allow - Allow time out for ideas to settle and take shape. • Practice - Develop habits which train insights to appear into consciousness when you need them (early rise, rituals), learn to avoid barriers (attitudes, attachment to ideas) • Perspectives - Use context and multiple perspectives (diverse people) to judge the outcomes of thinking 4. Use Divergent Ways
Divergent Ways are mostly useful in the earlier stages of dealing with situations. They are generally constructive, building new information, new associations, new ideas. They develop options and possibilities. They take time, and will have a high proportion of ‘dead-ends’ that are an important part of the thinking process, even if not used as an outcome. Divergent thinking can be constrained by unrecognized assumptions and thinking habits that prevent wider perspectives. 5. Use Convergent Ways
Convergent Ways are mostly useful in the later stages of dealing with a situation. They are generally reductive, homing in on essential information or knowledge, selecting, eliminating and concluding. Convergent thinking can be contaminated by unrecognized assumptions and thinking habits that lead to false conclusions. A common mistake is to start to converge too early - disregarding possibilities and narrowing options before it is necessary.
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Appendix 5 Moral Dilemmas for Consideration Moral dilemmas for individual and group consideration / discussion. The below questions are designed to be used by individuals or groups to generate thinking on ethical decision making. They can be used with the case studies given or for any other scenario.
1. Medical aid
Scenario. A platoon has recently constructed and occupied a FOB in volatile area of contested space on the fringes of the Green Zone in Helmand. They have been provided with sufficient supplies to maintain a defensive posture and conduct a number of standing patrols within a given AO for a period of one week. Thereafter it is expected that a ground CLP will resupply the FOB as the area is deemed too dangerous for all but critical medevac flights to enter the airspace. The platoon is bolstered by a RAMC medic who has a good range of medical supplies but they are limited in quantity. A journalist from the Associated Press is embedded with the platoon and will recover back to Camp Bastion with the first CLP. 24 hours after establishing the FOB a village elder brings 2 young children to the entrance to seek medical attention. An interpreter is brought to the front gate to help ascertain the nature of the problem. The children are suffering from extreme dehydration and diarrhoea after the village water source was contaminated. There are up to a further 30 children who are suffering from the same symptoms but the medic is unable to assess the severity of the illness and suggests that they receive urgent medical attention. The medic has a limited number of saline solutions which would help rehydrate the affected but not enough for the whole village. The platoon commander radio’s his Coy HQ who confirm the Task Force policy is that unless local nationals are injured as a direct result of ISAF action they are to seek medical treatment from a GIRoA/ICRC hospital. The nearest such facility is over 1 hr away from the FOB and it is uncertain if they are sufficiently equipped to provide treatment. The village elder is anxious that the children receive help and looks to the platoon commander to provide.
Key Considerations. • The temperature reaches 50°C during the day and a number of soldiers across the Task Force have suffered from extreme dehydration whilst on patrol. • The nearest medical facilities are over 1 hr away by car and it would require a number of shuttle runs.
• The platoon are the first ISAF troops in the area they are keen to earn the trust and respect of the locals. • There is an embedded journalist within the FOB.
What is the right course of action? • Should the platoon commander decide to authorise treatment for the most critical cases against the direction of the TF and also risk having no supplies for the remainder of his platoon? What are the political repercussions of ISAF over GIRoA treatment? Does instinct/compassion result in doing the right thing but for the wrong reasons? Does instinct/ compassion influence what we perceive to be right? • Should the platoon commander decide to refuse treatment and follow the clear direction given by his higher headquarters but with the risk of the children’s condition deteriorating further? What are the implications of the press being present and could this affect his decision? Will denying treatment affect future relations with the local community and potentially make them turn against ISAF? Could this be perceived by some as the wrong thing but for the right reason? • Should the platoon commander decide to treat the two children but firmly state that he cannot help any others? Are we in a position to make such a decision without seeing the true extent of the problem - a short term fix which could deteriorate? • Should the fact that there is a journalist present affect your decision? Does it?
2. Prostitute Visit
Scenario. Whilst on some R&R during an overseas exercise one of your good friends, of the same rank, had unprotected sex with a local prostitute. The CO and RMO had warned of the health risks of having sex with local prostitutes, over 90% of whom are HIV+.
Key considerations. • You of the incident because they told you the following morning. • He is married with two kids. You know he is going to have unprotected sex with his wife as they are trying for a third child, putting her directly at risk.
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What is the right course of action? • What would you do? • Would you be prepared to confront your friend on the issue? • Would you speak to the welfare services or the chain of command? • If your friend refused to do anything, would you consider giving any warning to his wife?
3. Drugs bust
Scenario. A keen platoon commander on an influence mission to a village discovered a quantity of drugs in a compound. Conscious of higher direction on drugs policy, he took and burnt them in the square. Over the next few weeks, the situation in the area degraded, attacks increased, and LNs would no longer talk to ISAF patrols. After finally managing to organise a shura with local leaders, the Coy OC found that the Pl Comd had destroyed the annual income for that village. This had turned the area against ISAF. The Coy OC considered the situation, and apologised for their actions. At the end of the shura, he saw a shovel lying nearby, and asked if he could buy it. This must have been a magic shovel, because he paid something close to the annual income for the village for it. Within days, the local situation improved, attacks decreased dramatically, and ISAF-LN cooperation rose to the best level in recent memory.
Key considerations. • Destroying the drugs was in line with policy and orders. • It is well known that drugs money is funding the wider insurgency.
What is the right course of action? • Was destroying the drugs the right thing to do? • Does the fact that it was so practically detrimental to local ISAF efforts change that position? • Was the OC immoral to essentially pay for the drugs? • Or in reverse: was the Plt Comd immoral to destroy a village’s livelihood, and was the OC morally right to restore it?
4. Drugs in the lines
Scenario. You saw someone in your Squadron, who is of the same rank as you, sniffing cocaine in their room. They do not know that you saw them taking drugs. You suspect this has been going for some months. This soldier is widely respected as they are good at their job.
• As far as you can tell, the drugs do not appear to be affecting them at work at the moment. • You don’t know where they bought the drugs or if there are any other users in the Squadron.
What is the right course of action? • Who might you speak to for advice? • Would you consider speaking to the individual? • Would your view change if you thought they were supplying others with drugs? • Would your view be different if they were taking illegal performance enhancing steroids?
5. Crowd hostage Scenario. The rebels against who you are operating are known to use torture and violence to force a crowd towards friendly force checkpoints. The rebels then hide in the crowd and once close to the sentries try to snatch a soldier, steal their equipment or shoot them. As you are on sentry a large crowd starts moving towards you with many women and children screaming and crying. You shout at the crowd to stop and stay back, but they keep moving towards you.
Key considerations. • A soldier from another force was captured last week and has not yet been returned. • The local populace initially welcomed your presence in the area, but have become increasingly distrustful of foreign forces. • The national elections are planned for the following week.
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What is the right course of action? • What level of force are you prepared to use to stop the crowd getting close? • Would you be prepared to use lethal force against the terrified crowd? • What could you have done to prevent the situation in the first place? • What could you do to help the decision making of those you lead?
6. Friendship Tested
Scenario. One of your friends - of the same rank and in the same unit started drinking more than they used to and furthermore, drinking every night, whether or not they were going out. You thought about mentioning it to them, but didn’t as you thought they were still coping fine at work and still passing their fitness tests. However, you have become more concerned and are sure that they have been driving while under the influence of alcohol. Key considerations. • You decide to confront your friend, but they say there is not a problemand take no notice. • You mention your concerns to the padre and they try to talk to your friend, but with the same result as your approach.
What is the right course of action? • What should you do next? • Would you speak to someone in the chain of command about your concerns? • How much would the have to deteriorate before you mentioned it to someone in authority? What if you were sure they were committing crimes and being violent while drunk?
7. Child spotter
Scenario. The insurgents you are fighting are using a 5 year old child to point out your position. You come under effective enemy fire and as you move the child moves with you continuing to point out your positions from only 30 metres away. You try to engage the firing point, but the insurgents’ fire continues.
Key considerations. • The fire you are receiving is accurate. • You have been in the area for a month trying to turn the population to support you.
What is the right course of action? • What do you do? • Is there ever a time when you would engage a child who is not bearing arms? • If one of your team was wounded would this change your view? What if you received multiple casualties or a fatality? • If you were to engage the child, who in your team would you get to fire?
Discussion Guide When considering decision-making, particularly where there is an ethical dimension the following can be useful to consider; •
What is the background to the incident?
What psychological levers were at play?
What stopped people doing the right thing?
Why wasn’t it stopped or reported?
What can a leader do to stop such incidents?
What is the end state and residual effect?
What lessons have you learnt from this case study?
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Appendix 6 360 Degree Self-Awareness Survey
1. Introduction. Self-awareness is critical for maintaining humility and identifying areas for improvement. While some degree of self-awareness can be gained by speaking to friends and colleagues, a formal survey can be of great assistance. 2. Timing. The Army 360 Degree Self-Awareness Survey is being programmed and is expected to be ready to use on DII in late 2012. Details will be placed on the online version of this document when they are ready. 3. Overview. The 360 Degree Self Awareness Survey consists of 12 categories each with a sub-set of questions 6 - 9 questions which are to be scored between 1 and 6. There are then 4 free text questions. The survey should take about 12 minutes to complete. 4. Process. The survey will be available on line on DII. The detailed instructions will be contained in the programme. In outline;
Step 1. The initiator logs onto the webpage and elects to conduct a 360 degree survey.
Step 2. The initiator completes the survey - a self assessment.
Step 3. The initiator enters the email addresses of those they wish to complete the survey. They can chose whoever they wish (on DII), but must elect at least 8 respondents. The link to the initiators survey will then be sent by email to each of the respondents.
Step 4. Respondents complete the survey on the initiator. When each respondent has completed their response they press ‘complete’.
Step 5. The responses are ‘anonomised’ that is the initiator will be able to see what scores they received and what comments were made, but not who made them.
Step 6. Once at least 4 responses have been received the results will be made available to the initiator. The initiator should review their results utilising the 360 workbook to assist in analysis. As required the initiator can seek advice and guidance; this is available both within (1RO etc) and outwith the chain of command (padre, friend etc).
5. Access to the results. Only the initiator will receive the feedback from the survey. It is not accessible to the chain of command: it is intended for selfawareness and development, not to inform the chain of command. 6. Format of the results. The initiator will receive a spider diagram with one line showing how they rated themselves and a second how they were rated on average by the respondents. This serves to immediately highlight any discrepancies between the views of the initiator and respondents. The initiator will then be able to see the detail of each individual score and the average for each section, but not which respondent said what.
INFORM INSPIRE SUPPORT
For definitions of the words in the linked boxes see Bloom’s taxonomy, which is an attempt to classify levels of learning.
ETHOS - VALUES - BEHAVIOURS
Appendix 7 A Leadership Model for Discussion
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Appendix 8 An Essay on Leadership The following is adapted from a sermon given by The Reverend Jonathan Woodhouse QHC, the Chaplain General, at the Royal Memorial Chapel, RMA Sandhurst, 15th January 2012.
The Christian symbols, the Regimental crests, Field Marshall windows, the Guidons and Standards, the Book of Remembrance and officer memorials of the chapel all carry the stories from one generation to the next. They help us to reflect on our military life and to explore the connection between God and humanity, war and peace, service and sacrifice. This chapel helps to inform, inspire, support and challenge us about what we believe and how we might live. All that it speaks of should cause us to humble ourselves. The link between Flesh and Spirit, War and Peace, Sacrifice and Service, God and Man, has an ancient heritage and is found in many old civilisations and codes of honour. In the Bible, Joshua, King David and the un-named Roman Centurion are well-known examples of this link between the spiritual and the physical; the heat of battle and the place of prayer; inspirational leadership and humble service. The British Army and its’ identity has been shaped and continues to be shaped by the Christian tradition and has this link. ‘Serve to Lead’ has been the motto of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst for a long time. It is not an advertising slogan. It is not a soundbyte. It is not a unique selling point from a business guru. ‘Serve to Lead’ is a tried and tested signpost which has guided generations of young cadets training to be Army Officers onto the cutting edge of inspirational leadership. Serve to Lead is a powerful Christian picture, lived out by its’ founder, Jesus Christ. The Sandhurst Collect, set in marble above the west door underlines the motto. The memorials in this chapel breathe it. Our newly commissioned officers on operations in Afghanistan see it in their seniors and learn to live it for themselves. I want to remind you of a critical factor within it. Serve to lead requires humility. In today’s lessons, the story is of Jesus, who brings the love and hope of God to the world, putting people before things, sacrifice before self. In the Gospel reading, when James and John try to gain power over the other disciples, Jesus makes it clear that in his team, he wanted selflessness and a spirit of humility as the mark of leadership and teamwork. His life was a unique example of it. ‘Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.’ This is a reversal of so much in the contemporary popular mind but it works. The Christian faith is founded upon humility and regards it as an essential virtue though humility has an ancient and noble heritage from the Chinese to the Jews and Greeks. Humble means low-lying and is linked to meekness/strength held back in reserve. Humility is having a right estimate
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of oneself, but you cannot attribute it to yourself. It is given to you by others: In America, a church decided that their minister was so humble they would give him a medal for humility, but the next week they took it off him, because he wore it! We instinctively know when someone is genuinely humble and we are impressed by people of great ability who sit lightly to their gifts. Humility is not soft, sentimental or sloppy. Humility sits between self-abasement and self-promotion. Winston Churchill, a cadet here in 1893 (it took him 3 attempts before he passed the entrance exam) who did rather well after that. He once wittily remarked to Lady Violet Bonham-Carter, ‘We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glow-worm!’ With simple banter, he distinguished false humility from the genuine article. People speak of humility as if it will rob us of being bold, strong, imaginative, full of initiative and with steel down our backs. Not at all. Humility underpins and informs these characteristics. It is strength held back in reserve. It checks pride, complacency or arrogance. Humility, the genuine article, is an attractive and powerful quality and a key ingredient of leadership and everything in this chapel points to it. Operations highlight this. They strip away the surface of life and bring basic issues into sharp focus. We think about who we are, what is important and what is not. Issues of mortality, purpose, relationships, forgiveness and hope. These pull us up short and naturally bring a measure of humility when we reflect on them. So, humility matters, whether here as an officer cadet, on the directing staff, a retired officer, or a chaplain. When it comes to humility, our station in life matters much less than our state of life. Let me tell you a story from 30 years ago. Major Chris Keeble was a cadet at the start of the 1960’s but faced the sternest test of his military career during the Falklands War. The first and bloodiest land battle of the Falklands War was fought over 48 hours in May 1982, during which 17 British soldiers lost their lives in the battle for Goose Green, including their Commanding Officer, Lt Col ‘H’ Jones. As 2i/c, Major Chris Keeble took over after he heard on his radio net, ‘Sunray is down,’ he took command of 400 men. He writes; ‘We had been fighting for 40 hours and were very tired. It was bitterly cold. One in six of us were either killed or injured and we had no reinforcements. We were in a perilous position and the responsibility for getting us out of it lay with me. I walked up a gully to be alone for a moment to try and think. I put my hands in my pockets and my fingernails caught on a piece of plastic. It was a prayer I had typed out and had laminated as a kind of deal with God - you know, “I’ll carry this prayer if you’ll look after me” stuff. Keble knelt in the gorse and said the prayer written by the desert mystic Charles de Foucault: “My Father, I abandon myself to you. Do with me as you will. Whatever you may do with me I thank you, provided your will is fulfilled in me. I ask for nothing more.”
He describes how an ‘immense clarity’ filled his mind. He returned to his group of OC’s and told them that at first light he would walk across the battlefield and invite the Argentine commanders to surrender. He did, the Argentinian garrison surrendered and the rest is history. I am not for a moment suggesting prayer replaces the need for military planning and action. I am saying it can bring perspective and strength to our lives. Keeble was unexpectedly reminded of it in his life and had the humility to recognise it. Stripped of everything but essentials, life becomes basic and involves enduring hardship, sharing vulnerability and facing unpredictability. It is not just physical. It is mental. It is spiritual. It is head and it is heart. That requires a measure of humility. Where do you find it? There are many places. The Gospel story is a well placed resource. It speaks of The Great Stoop of Jesus. From Heaven He came, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, living simply, teaching profoundly and serving thankfully, crucified, dead and buried, raised from the dead to life within the Godhead. What an example of humility. What greatness it led to. What a hope for the future. In the silence, this chapel speaks. It speaks of past generations who have served with humility. It helps us to realise that with all our leadership, professionalism and pride, crucial as they are, there is a higher reference point, which can be foundational in the example we set before others. Conclusion. This service, marking the 200th Anniversary of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst helps remedy any illusion that the spiritual dimension does not play a role today in the country’s institutions, such as The Army and in the lives of its’ leaders. In a society where the spiritual is so often privatised and pushed to the edges of life, here is a sacred space in which there is a coming together of the Military and the Church, in which we bring our lives and our professions and commend them to the Hope and Love of God. If we desire to honour the tradition of serve to lead as we celebrate the 200 years of such endeavour, we should recognise the place of humility. Serve to Lead? It requires humility. The Christian tradition says you find it through faith in a God who has humbled himself and become a servant of all. It is this God in whom we live, move and have our being.
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Appendix 9 Pointing North Pointing North - an essay on Platoon leadership by Capt P Bury “The platoon is a gun, the platoon sergeant the bullets, and you are the safety catch.” Most soldiers do not want to kill per se. Almost all of us have an inherent belief that killing is wrong. However, the situations we find ourselves in often mean we are forced to consider the use of lethal force. Our training helps us differentiate between threat and appropriate use of force, but also, by its very nature, makes it easier for us to kill. Moreover, the environments to which we deploy increasingly display large and growing grey areas where threats and rules of engagement can be interpreted in a number of ways. Thus it falls to the junior tactical commander on the ground to not only make the correct judgements given the situation, but to maintain a sense of morality in seeking the right course of action. I distinctly remember sitting in Sandhurst, trying not to nod off, through one of the many morality lectures. I found them boring, as to me it was explaining the obvious. ‘Morality, as a leader is something you have to hold inside you, like a moral compass’, they said. ‘Well then’, I thought, ‘why are you harping on about it so much.’ To me, at the time, it seemed the least important, most obvious lesson I had learnt at Sandhurst to date. How wrong I was. Killing, whatever its form, can be morally corrosive. Mid-intensity counter insurgency, with its myriad of complex situations, an enemy who won’t play fair and the constant, enduring feeling of being under threat, compound such corrosiveness. A good tactical leader must recognise this and constantly maintain the morality of those he commands.
In 7 Platoon I was lucky to have an excellent working relationship with both my sergeants during our tour of Afghanistan. I was also lucky in that my platoon did not contain any psychopaths, which studies show make up about 2 per cent of any army. Thus, especially at the beginning of the tour, it was relatively easy to maintain a sense of morality amongst the platoon. But when the threat to our lives increased, as the Taliban began fighting increasingly dirty, as the civilians became indifferent and as we were either nearly killed or took casualties, this became increasingly difficult. Soldiers who did not want to kill for no reason began to become unconcerned. There is a balance to be struck between morality and operational effectiveness, between softness and hardness. It is a fine line to walk, but one which must be walked nonetheless. My platoon sergeant would always strive to keep the soldiers sharp, aggressive and ready to fight their way out of any situation. “I would rather be judged by twelve than carried by six” was his watchword at our platoon discussions on rules of engagement scenarios. He was completely right, and the robustness he bred into the platoon, especially at the psychological level, would stand it in good stead during the most testing parts of the tour. However, as a junior officer I felt the need to morally temper what the platoon sergeant had said to the men. His could not be the final word on the subject. I would take their point of view and use it to explain a complex situation as best I could. In the morphing, grey conflict we found ourselves in I pointed out that the civilians, even if they were untrustworthy and indifferent, were still our best form of force protection. They told us where the IEDs were. If we lost them, we lost everything. Therefore, we had to maintain the softer approach at first. We had to smile and we had to joke and we had to be friendly, even if it was the last thing we felt like doing. We had to not shoot them if we could avoid it in any way. We had to treat captured Taliban correctly. Otherwise we might as well not bother coming out here. I think, in hindsight, this unacknowledged agreement I had with my platoon sergeant worked well. He kept the platoon sharp and ready, ‘loaded’ as it were, and I just made sure the gun didn’t go off at the wrong place at the wrong people. As the tour progressed and the commanders and rangers alike became increasingly familiar with their surroundings and the situations they found themselves in, but also increasingly frustrated, it became my primary role. The platoon was so well drilled it barely needed me for my tactical acumen. But they did need me for that morality. Sometimes I felt my own morality begin to slip, that hardness creeping in. Sometimes I thought that I was soft, that my platoon sergeant was right and I should shut up and get on with it. Sometimes I’m sure the platoon felt like that! I was unsure. And at these times my memory would flit back to Sandhurst, to the basics, and I would find renewed vigour that what I was saying was indeed right. My moral compass, for all its wavering, was still pointing North. And that was the most important lesson I was taught in Sandhurst, and that I learnt in Afghanistan.
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Appendix 10 An Essay on Military Ethics AN ESSAY ON MILITARY ETHICS By Dr Patrick Mileham (Formerly Royal Tank Regiment.) ‘One man’s safety is another man’s destruction’. Daniel Defoe ‘Peace is in the nature of conquest, For then both parties nobly are subdued, And neither party loser’ William Shakespeare ‘The true soldier is the enemy of the beast in man’, Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery British soldiers are public servants of a liberal democracy, whose purpose is to promote and sustain what is right and good in the world and, if required, counter what is wrong. The Armed Forces work within the law, both international and domestic, acting fully in support of the UN, NATO and other international coalitions. The purpose of these international bodies is to promote the well-being of humanity, human rights and democratic ideals and institutions. Britain’s armed forces are capable of responding with a mixture of ‘hard power’, being deadly or kinetic force, and ‘soft power’55, being of minimum force and ‘hearts and minds’ activities. The Rules of Engagement (ROE), within the Law of Armed Conflict LOAC) determine what force is appropriate, given the aims and circumstances of the operation. The ‘moral component’ of fighting power and military effectiveness is a subject increasingly under international scrutiny. A mission can fail if it is not a ‘just war’ as much as if the fighting is militarily ineffective. It can fail if soldiers conduct themselves wrongly or insensitively, given the culture of the nation in which they are operating. The strategic corporal, or captain, physically and morally, can make all the difference to operational success or failure. We have learnt many moral lessons in the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan about conduct which is right and wrong, what is good and bad, as well as what is lawful and unlawful. Defence and Army doctrine of the ‘moral component of military capability’ has yet to be fully articulated, but basically it is about three categories of action, • Getting our people to fight - fighting spirit56 and moral cohesion, • Stopping our enemies from fighting, • Fighting justly - meaning fairly as well as lawfully. Of course many of the detailed behaviours required come naturally to most people the Army recruits. However some actions require much more sophisticated arguments and judgments. To suggest some is the aim of this essay, leading to in-service education and training. To meet the three activities noted above, there are two separate disciplines
which have to be learnt and well understood by soldiers for practical and professional purposes. • Institutional ethics. The unifying moral principles which provide the cohesion required to get our people to fight together effectively and successfully. The Values and Standards57 principles guide much of the necessary conduct under this heading. • Operational ethics. There are principles additional to Values and Standards, LOAC and specific ROE for the operation. They are based on implicit criteria and arguments which guide moral conduct in respect of the enemy and civilian populations, often when complex, ambiguous and contradictory situations require effective, legal and just actions. Operational ethics take shape to meet the requirements of fighting justly and stopping our enemies from fighting and so cooperate with us. ‘Getting people to fight’ is only part of the story about the ‘moral component’ of military capability and effectiveness. It is actually much more difficult to stop the fighting. Clausewitz noted that war is ‘an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will’, war being ‘the continuation of policy by other means’. He also wrote that the war is waged to attain the ‘… the final political object… by which all means are combined to disarm the enemy’. This is reinforced by Sun Tzu’s maxim that if possible ‘the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting’. So if fighting is the way, the means is to fight justly and the end must be a safer peace. We have to be careful with the word ‘moral’, particularly in translation. When Napoleon wrote (in French) ‘the moral is as three to one with the physical’ he was not thinking of Immanuel Kant’s meaning of supreme good - ‘universal goodwill’. He was thinking of superior and overwhelming ‘will-power’, the force of fighting spirit to break the opponents’ will-power. In this usage, moral as ‘power for effect’ is not the same as ethics. While successful in many battles, Napoleon’s invasion of numerous European nations could hardly be considered ethical. For effect he could have done well with those 300,000 French soldiers at Waterloo in 1815, which he had lost in his failed invasion of Russia in 1812. In his turn, the Duke of Wellington was conciliatory during the Congress of Vienna in 181516, recommending that France should not be punished and made to pay reparations, advice that was forgotten at Versailles a century later. Such thinking makes for a safe peace rather than one that compounds insecurity. Too often wars perpetuate themselves.
For formal definitions of hard and soft power see British Military Doctrine, Edn 3, 2008, paragraphs 129132. 56. See section on the ‘Moral Component’, in Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) Operations, 2010, paragraphs 0218 to 0242. 57. The Army’s six core Values, building and sustaining ‘moral cohesion’, are Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless commitment, (CDRILS). Together they combine to generate ‘trust’ in individuals which is the virtue of ‘trustworthiness’. See the secondary list ‘Other Military Attributes’ in ADP Operations, 2010, paragraph 0237, which includes ‘trust’. 55.
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To be true, moral has to be a matter of both superior will-power and goodwill by one side, hopefully ending with mutual goodwill when the war or operation ends. Indeed Tolstoy with experience fighting against Britain and France, wrote of the ‘moral moment that decides the fate of battles’. That is the tipping point in modern-day operations when one side begins to lose their moral cohesion and fighting spirit and the other to start to apply physical and moral restraint, which should lead to jus post bellum,58 a just and safe peace . It should be clear that ‘ethics’ is the philosophical study of what is the good. The ‘just war’ tradition and ‘fighting justly’ are to be found in the jus ad bellum and jus in bello disciplines in moral philosophy. They inform a code of ‘military ethics’, based on prescriptive and normative principles (to use academic terms), while ‘moral conduct’ tends to be descriptive. How members of armed forces then behave in training and on operations, we can judge in terms of their ‘moral conduct’, which may or may not live up to the principles expressed in a code of ‘military ethics’. At present while there is a code of ‘Values and Standards’, there is no explicit moral code in British documents beyond the LOAC which properly covers ‘fighting justly’. Adding to common sense, the following ‘just war’ principles can be deduced to assist in education and training of the Armed Forces. • • • • • • •
Lethal force used only as last resort. The cause is proportional - warranting a military response. There is just cause - meaning fairness relative to provocation. Right intent as consequence of military action. The end-state limits military action. There is reasonable chance of success. The ‘competent authority’, including chain of command, is responsible.
Most of the time British soldiers, and those who command and lead them on operations, meet the highest standards of moral conduct. Even if the enemy does not, fighting fairly is expected of all commanders, leaders and soldiers. It is taught as the LOAC, but for effect relies on moral goodwill, great sensitivity and personal conscience. The principles are; • Military urgency - similar to last resort, but allowing force to be used with restraint and within the ROE. • Humanity - honouring the human rights of an enemy as a fellow human being, including when captive. • Only proportional force should be used. • Discrimination of targets - the use of lethal force within LOAC and ROE, particularly in respect of civilians and collateral casualties. Additional moral judgement has to be applied at strategic, operational and tactical levels because, in many instances, many or all the above principles 58.
jus ad bellum, jus in bello and Jus post bellum, are terms from Latin, meaning justice of a war, justice during war and justice after war.
can be in conflict during any one action and event during operations. For example using force self-defence might be a clear and fair moral right. But the deadly logic of kill or be kill requires pre-emptive action, pre-emption requiring absolute evidence of an enemy’s intention, itself frequently unclear both before and particularly during operations. Then success in war often needs overwhelming, but not unjustly disproportional force. So what is the margin of force necessary? The urgency to take some sort of action to prevent failure or unacceptable casualties on our side, may cause collateral death or wounding of non-combatants. The instance of the enemy deliberately using human shields illustrates this dilemma. There are four principles from moral philosophy which inform military ethics. All of them show up the complexities, ambiguities, contradictions and paradoxes of military service. To start with in modern-day operations military duty is far from clear. Professional soldiers nowadays are individually morally responsible for the following; • Their military duty as ordered. This may conflict with their duties a citizen with responsibilities for humanity and upholding the international law of human rights. The contradictions are termed ‘deontological’. • They have to judge the consequences of their actions. The intent might be right but the particular consequences wrong and bad. The dilemma, known as consequentialism, has to be resolved in advance. • The need to recognise that more than one effect may follow directly and indirectly from actions. An action may be simultaneously good and bad, right and wrong. The term is ‘double effect’. • They have to be fully aware that their actions in the use of force should enable a successful end-state, a safe peace. They have to judge means and ends simultaneously, overcoming the natural tendency to compromise on means. Teleological (Greek telos, end) judgement has to be applied. Sometimes these contradictions are even contradictory with each other. We have learnt that awareness and coping with such contradictory moral forces sometimes brings added risk when acting with restraint. Training and education can develop individuals to react effectively when presented even with many unforeseen difficulties, including moral contradictions. In summary while illegal activities sometimes are investigated in Courts Martial procedures and press exposure, they are almost certainly immoral as well. Conversely what actions might be lawful and within ROE, may not necessarily be ethical. Morality is all about trust, trust amongst all parties. Generating personal and institutional trust is what leaders do, par excellence. Military leaders have to generate trust not only amongst their own people and neutrals, but their opponents and enemies, coping with all the complexities and contradictions in what often is the most dangerous of all human enterprises. Finally, doing one’s professional and moral duty is the serviceman’s and service woman’s part in fulfilling the Armed Forces’ Covenant on behalf of the British people and, to be idealistic, all of humanity.
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Appendix 11 Cialdini’s Negotiation Influencers Cialdini’s Negotiation Influencers Cialdini proposed that there are broad factors that transcend personal motivations, culture and overt recognition, which influence thinking and behaviour. An understanding of these factors and how they impact on individuals are useful when negotiating. These factors are;
Reprocity Scarcity Authority Liking Social Proof Commitment and Consistency Reciprocity is the notion of give and take. There is an implicit human drive to respond to someone positively if they have given us something; we want to reciprocate. For example; when invited to a colleague’s home for a meal you feel you should take a gift with you by way of thanks. If someone turns up empty handed we tend to think that person is mean or churlish. Giving something, perhaps something fairly inconsequential, early in a negotiation, is likely to cause the other party to want to reciprocate. Reciprocity can be used in an encounter if there is a desire to slow things down, for example by sharing a drink or food. Scarcity refers to the feeling of loss experienced if there is a sense that an opportunity may be missed. It arises from a concern that others might profit from an opportunity that could pass us by. Scarcity can be used in a variety of ways; for example: one could refer to their actual presence in scarcity terms: ‘Look, I am only going to be here for the next couple of hours and I don’t know if the next commander will be willing to talk to you in the same way as me, so how about we sort this out?...’ It’s a take it or leave it approach. Authority figures are expected to know more, be trustworthy and worth listening to. Therefore, a negotiator’s position can be improved by them establishing both their personal and organisational authority. Advertisers use this tactic by having people who appear authoritative endorse their products; they wear white coats, appear to be conducting experiments or are a recognised authority figures from society. Making decisions within their remit and some staging of events can assist an Army leader in establishing their personal authority. Liking influences people at a deep level. It focuses on the ability to find the other party appealing, in the sense of ‘being like me’ and thus part of my
group, and also a more emotional response to another person. People tend to engage more with people they like and who they feel understand them. Building rapport and shared empathy can assist in generating influence through liking. This can be achieved in many ways, for example by sharing hardship and by humanising yourself in your exchange with another party; talk soldier to soldier, man to man, woman to woman, parent to parent and so on. Social Proof plays on the general dislike of individuals to being solitary or isolated and the desire to be part of a group. This effect is seen when people are convinced that because everyone else is behaving in a certain way that they should join in. “If everyone else is doing it then I ought to be too.” Very few people act in a totally individualistic way and seek to think and behave in ways that completely deviate from all human norms and values. This could be used as an impetus in negotiations by saying, for example ‘…well, everyone else has signed up to this agreement and you are the only one who hasn’t. Is this the way you want it to be?...’ Commitment and Consistency refers to the increased likelihood of complying with a promise if it is in writing, given in public or on the record. This is both personal, as there is a feeling of failure, and organisational, as one can be held to account. This is why coaches encourage those they work with to write down specific aims and targets and why public figures try not to give firm targets. In negotiations, therefore, it can be useful to get all parties to write down an agreement and sign it or publically go on the record with their agreed actions. It can help to take the lead in these commitments as the factor of reciprocity can then influence others to do likewise. Also, by making promises, which you are then seen to carry out, demonstrates your authority and builds trust and respect that can then help in future encounters. The following articles/books are recommended to those wishing to study negotiating skills in more detail; Cialdini, R. ‘Influence: the Science of Persuasion’ (Harper Business 2007) Fisher, R. and Ury W ‘Getting to Yes’ (Random House 1999) Goodwin, D. ‘The Military and Negotiation’ (Routledge 2002)
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