I Wish I Had Known That... - Interview with RSM-A on his top 5 responses

By The Cove October 29, 2021

In May this year The Cove Team had the opportunity to brief all of Army's RSMs at the Senior Enlisted Conference, where we asked them what they wish they had known when they were a JNCO. Over 80 RSMs provided feedback with some very powerful responses that will be sure to help our junior leaders navigate their way through their careers.

At the completion of the campaign, The Cove Team were fortunate enough to sit down with RSM-A and discuss his top 5 responses. The vidcast can be found below (not available on DPN) along with an audio edition on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.





The RSM-A's top 5 responses were:

  • 'I wish I had known that it’s okay to not know everything. This path of leadership you’re on is lifelong. More people observe you than you realise. Aim high because if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit every time'. RSM 8/9 RAR
  • 'I wish I had have known that becoming a leader was not only about developing your subordinates, but also the continual development within yourself. Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses and how your actions affect others is vital to being a good leader as much as trying to impart your experiences to others'. RSM 3 CSSB
  • 'I wish I had known that it was key to understand early that the human is an extremely complex machine. Understanding your soldiers as 'people first' will greatly assist you to deliver capability by leveraging their strengths and not dwelling on their weaknesses'RSM 3 CSR
  • 'I wish someone had told me that as a JNCO I was more influential than at any other time in my career. A JNCO directly commands more people, everyday, than any other commander and are therefore the most critical leaders in Army. The rest of us are there to support you'.  RSM 1 RTB
  • 'I wish someone had told my younger self, the following: Do not define yourself through your work, you need to understand what your value is, the military does not define who you are. Do not be too hard on yourself, nobody is perfect and you will make many mistakes. Learn from them but do not let them become a burden'. RSM SOER

All responses for the campaign can be found in their grouped themes via the links below:

The Cove would like to thank all senior soldiers who provided responses and all social media users who provided comments during this campaign. While the campaign is now over, the professional development of our junior leaders is ongoing and we hope you can join us in continuing their development throughout their careers.

PME Session:

Why not make a PME session out of this activity? Ask your junior leaders to answer the following questions:

- Do your people agree with RSM-A's top 5?

- What would their top 5 be?

- What would their submission be?



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.


I wish I had of known how to deliver my plan to DSCMA. Outline your plan in detail , what goal setting is all about. Also how to be JNCO and not just trying to be a CPL for your PL SGT or CSM.

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