Leadership & Ethics

Developing Leaders: The British Army Guide

By The Cove May 16, 2019


Ever wondered how our close friends and allies from the British Army ‘do’ leadership?  It’s our pleasure at the Cove to share their official guide to developing leaders. It is a comprehensive document which shares many parallels to our own approach to leadership.  

Information within the guide tells us that leadership has played a key role, over the centuries, in enabling armies to survive, endure and succeed. It also reminds us that there are very clear examples in 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 remains a very human endeavour. The guide suggest that 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 the British Army’s tactical success in the Falkland Islands and Helmand.

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.  

Flip through the various chapters of the guide.  What lessons do you think we should take away from the British Army’s guide and adapt for our own purposes? How could we use some of these ideas to improve our own doctrine and leadership manuals?  




The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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