'I wish I would have known that time in each rank group is a the most vital part of your leadership development and to be patient and enjoy the learning journey at each level, time passes quickly and you can make a difference!' RSM 17 Sust Bde

'I wish I would have known the importance of looking after yourself. Investing in your health, wellbeing, education and family early in your career makes a better “you” and a better “you” makes a better leader'. RSM 16 Avn Bde

'I wish I had known earlier in my career, that it is more important to be a follower and a leader of the followers than aspire to be an outright leader'. RSM Ceremonial - SA

'I wish that someone had told me that my career long responsibility was to grow the next me. Wanting to be the best is an individual pursuit. Being an example of worn rank is an investment in Army's future and more powerful than anything your soldiers will learn on course'RSM RMC-A

'I wish someone had told me how crucial the role of a Section Commander is as the first rung in the chain of command ladder'.  Corps RSM, RAINF

'I wish someone had told me that the training we get as soldiers is world class and the envy of the coalition environment.This allows our JNCOs to be the best leaders for their ranks'.  RSM 1 Int Battalion

'I am reminded of the importance of establishing and building strong peer networks. These networks are critical in laying the foundations for success. Relationships and networks will ensure that if you are not prepared for, or lack requisite experience with a particular situation, you're not alone. Relationships and networks are the key to building strong foundations for success as the leader of a team'.  RSM AKC

'I wish I had know 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

'When taking on a leadership position, either through promotion or a new posting, it is vital to set the conditions and expectations you want from your team. It is important that not only you deliver your expectations but ask the team what they expect from you. This has been extremely successful in 1 RAR with the CO delivering to every Company individually his values, command philosophy and mission statement. Now every soldier knows the standard. This can be done at all levels of command. Finally read ‘Legacy’ the world’s most successful sporting team, the All Blacks, they have the same mantra. ‘No Dickheads’, no one is above the team! If you can’t change a member (through training and development) then change the member (remove that person from the team), don’t allow the cancer to spread, this will only degrade your team and operational effectiveness'. RSM 1 RAR

'The topic of leadership is as broad as it is complex. In my opinion, after much reading, soul-searching and self-interrogation, I have found one word that I believe is at the heart of leadership.  I believe that word is influence. Ultimately, good leaders aim to influence people’s thoughts and actions. Arguably, in order to influence, one also needs a gamut of ‘other’ leadership traits to effect influence, characteristics like honesty, loyalty, charisma, emotional intelligence, effective communication skills, just to name just a few. If influence is at the heart of good leadership, there are many factors that contribute to the development of ‘healthy’ leadership. Just like an athlete that forges their strength and stamina through training, good leadership is forged through experience, knowledge, education, mentoring and practice. A leader must be aware of the fundamental qualities and virtues that contribute to their leadership, such as charisma, integrity and ambition. However, sound knowledge and skills–such as self-discipline, communicative excellence and planning–take practice and work, and are cultivated through education, experience and mentoring. Communicational brilliance is not just an ability or proficiency to which officers should aspire. For too long, the NCO attitude towards communication, particularly written communication, has been ambivalent or even dismissive. In order to influence subordinates, peers and superiors, an NCO needs a strong vocabulary, confidence in their message, breadth of subject knowledge, and control of tact and tone. I wish I understood early the benefits of effective writing and oral skills (strong vocabulary); further, understood the real power of leading through example in all areas of work and life. Take the opportunity to know your people ‘listen to understand, not to retort’, be in the moment and show empathy and authenticity'. RSM QUR

'I wish someone had told me that being focused on efficiency in your role is not necessarily the most effective way of managing a team or achieving results. Time is a precious commodity and striving to achieve success and prepare for the next challenge can generate tempo that absorbs your focus, taking time to moderate the team and yourself is essential'RSM - Defence School of Intelligence

'I wish I had known that it’s okay to not know everything. This path of leadership you’re on is life long. 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 would have known the power of collaboration with Junior NCOs. When it is appropriate, seeking input from the Junior NCOs and openly adjusting your own plan / thought process when a better solution is raised shows humility and will pay dividends in the support given to you by them. Always empower them and always ‘criticise’ with a solution for next time. Fault correction does not end at Kapooka'. RSM 10 FSB

'I wish I had known that to be a better leader you need to know more about yourself. I wish I had known that I would have been a better leader if I had done some accurate self-assessment IOT identify some of my own shortcomings. I wish I had known that leadership is not about the rank you wear on your slide (arm) but how you interact with people. I wish I had known that to be placed in a leadership position is more about the responsibility that you have to soldiers rather than the sense of self achievement'. RSM 22 ER

'I wish I would have known that you do not need to be the loudest person in the room to be a good leader. Leaders come in many different forms. Do not waste time thinking you are not valued as a leader because you do not emulate some of the great leaders that have gone before you. Finding your place amongst your peers can be difficult and is exacerbated by self-doubt. Be confident that you are on the right path'. RSM 4 REGT


I wish I had known

  • Self, and understanding Self. Knowing who you are as a leader, but more importantly as an ethical human. 
  • Communication techniques. How to lead through having a good communication style
  • Influencing a team and enhancing cohesiveness


'It feels like yesterday that I was a Lance Corporal; now I find myself the Regimental Sergeant Major. I wish I would have known just how quickly my time as a JNCO would go. When you are in that junior leadership position it feels like you will be there forever. The responsibility you are given as a Lance Corporal or Corporal doesn’t sink in until it is over. The influence you have in training, shaping and guiding young men and women to stay alive on the battlefield is the greatest responsibility someone can have. Make sure you ‘bring it’ every day; your soldiers want and deserve your leadership'. RSM 7 RAR

‘I wish I would have known’, that Army is at times relentless and requires selflessness in their leaders. That the sacrifice at home must be remembered and not forgotten and it is important that as leaders you must time manage between soldiering and family. Lastly, that time invested both professionally and emotionally in your soldiers is time well spent and is both professionally and personally rewarding'. RSM 2 CAV

'I wish I had known the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership, the ability to read and understand the person in front of you IOT provide better advice, coach or mentor them through the issue at hand'. RSM 12/16 Hunter River Lancers

'A JNCO should only yell for effect or during a safety breach, raise your voice sparingly………… Yelling at a soldier when they have done wrong is like yelling at the TV, sure you feel better but it rarely makes a difference. Speaking to a soldier using an voice of authority, highlighting what they have done wrong and how to improve will generally be more effective and will be remembered by the individual'.  MG P&EE

'I wish I would have known that the privilege of leadership is intrinsically linked to the burden of responsibility. When the bad days get you down, know that you will learn from those experiences and those negative experiences will build your professional resilience to enable you to enjoy a fantastic career leading soldiers'.  RSM 1/19 RNSWR

'I wish someone had told me that you're never just anything in the Army.  Never just a Private, Gunner, Sapper, Signaller etc. You're the most important part of the organisation. Without you being there the hierarchy is irrelevant'.  RSM 9 REGT

'The one thing that I wish someone had told me early on in my Marine Corps career, before my first combat deployment, is to embrace the shared adversity we endure in training and in life. Through shared adversity we build leadership, understanding, confidence, and grit.  We build confidence in each other and our team.  We must put our marines and soldiers through shared adversity, but I also think it is important to give them the 'why' behind the hard training. This will enable them to push themselves and each other harder in order to prepare for combat'.  COMD SM Marine Rotational Force - Darwin