Leadership & Ethics

A Journey to Better the Character of Australia's Leaders

By Richard Thapthimthong April 24, 2020


This paper by Richard Thapthimthong is titled 'A Journey to Better the Character of Australia's Leaders.'  The paper explains that in a fully digitised battlefield where advanced weaponry gives the individual soldier killing power previously unseen in war, the concept of character is often a second thought. “Though within a connected battlefield, the character of the individual is more often than not the most defining factor for mission success. War is won by strategy and tactics, but it demands the soldiers and leaders executing these actions to act and react in scalable and dangerous environments. The ability to thrive in these environments is down to the individual and is guided by many things. Though ultimately, the decision made within these environments stem from the individual’s character.” The author concedes that this particular human factor is the simplest to ascertain, yet often the hardest to understand and develop.

The comprehensive paper proposes a new definition of character be looked at for use within the Australian Army.  It also looks at measuring character, developing character and discusses the utility of a character development tool.

This is a topic that every member of the Australian Army, regardless of their posting background or individual experiences, should be able to form an opinion on.  Read the paper and contribute to our discussion on character.  Do you agree with the authors views on character development within the Australian Army?  Do you have alternate ideas to offer?




Richard Thapthimthong

Major Richard Thapthimthong is an Infantry Officer who is currently the Brigade Major of the READY Brigade – the 7th Combat Brigade. His participation in formation level manoeuvre is inclusive of 7th Combat Brigade’s experience through the Integrated Sea and Land Series into Ex HAMEL 2018 and again through the Joint Warfighting Series of 2019 which culminated in Talisman Sabre where the Brigade provided the Opposing Force for the exercise. His planning experience is inclusive of Unit level manoeuvre as the Operations Officer for the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment and as the lead Land Planner for the Amphibious Task Group HQ as part of Op FIJI ASSIST 2016.

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.

Add new comment

Cove App


Fast access to The Cove anywhere, anytime. Additional feature of receiving notifications for new content.

Reflective Journal


Record your reflections in a structured way to improve your performance.