Staff Skills

A Junior Officer's Thoughts on Staff Leadership

By The Cove May 16, 2019


Staff working within a headquarters (HQ) need to be mentored, inspired and developed to get the best out of the team. Leadership is as integral within a HQ as it is within a front line unit. Whilst the formal command structure may not be present, it does not negate the responsibility for those with subordinates to lead. In this short article from our wider PME network, Mark Shercliffe draws on his experiences in the British Army to provide the following valuable advice:

  1. 'Whenever you can, apply the practices and principles of leadership that you would anywhere else in military life'
  2. 'Give clear and early direction, and encourage a culture of checking intent'
  3. 'Expose them to the wider context'
  4. 'Understand the motivations and capabilities of your team'
  5. 'Remember - you are still on parade'
  6. 'Be open with your team'
  7. 'Take time to mentor'
  8. 'Challenge upwards'
  9. 'The Thank you'

'When you move from command into a staff appointment, remember that your responsibility to lead, mentor and develop your team moves with you.  Whether your team at staff is military or civilian, concentrated, dispersed or virtual, they deserve from you exactly the same attention to their needs and motivations as your previous platoon, company or regiment.'  



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.


What would you say the biggest shortcomings are of officers moving from a staff position back into a non-staff role are?

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