On reflection, as a junior warfare officer I would describe my leadership style as authoritarian and pace-setting. Although I thought I was “reasonably successful”, I was undermining innovation and initiative, resulting in more work for myself and less quality of outcomes. It was not until I matured, started to listen to my sailors and ceased suppressing my empathy, did I really start to lead more effectively. Therefore, my most important leadership lesson was that I became a better leader when I started to listen to my subordinates, developed my emotional intelligence and allowed myself to have empathy for others. Captain (RAN) Terry Morrison

As leaders, we are ultimately responsible for setting the standards within the team. However, finding the balance between accountability and micromanagement is difficult. Regularly checking on your team’s work can create a perception that you don’t trust them to do their job. One piece of advice I was given which has helped me face this challenge is: “as a leader, you can’t expect what you don’t inspect”. Inspecting by checking in with the team regularly is not micromanagement, it is a means of ensuring everyone is on the same page and they have everything they need to achieve your intent. Flying Officer Regan Ho

My biggest lesson is to observe every leadership style I encounter, decide if it is a style I can develop and adapt to and place it into my toolbox for future reference. Locking myself into one style only sets up failure. No two people are the same, and to lead effectively I need to adapt my leadership mannerisms to suit the member. This individualistic intent is developed through knowing my people, being genuinely invested in their needs and hearing their opinions and thoughts. This includes up and down the chain. If I know my people I know the team strengths and weaknesses. The key though is to follow my words with actions, and ensure I give my all to my people. Never let them down, always close the loop, and when members need me, give them the devotion I promised without delay. Warrant Officer (RAAF) Christopher Moore

Personal Power is different to Rank. Who you are matters. How you treat people matters. How others feel in your presence matters. A powerful leader-shows up, speaks up and steps up. Through my service, I always gravitated to leaders who would inspire action because of who they were as people, not because of their rank or title. I felt repelled by those who asserted authority through emphasising their rank but not their humanity. Leaders who know who they are, what they believe and then follow through on those beliefs are like magnets. You can’t help but be drawn to them. Dr Bec Jackson

As a leader, I am surrounded by individual leaders. These leaders all have their own personal leadership strengths, developed from years of personal endeavors. These endeavors have ended up turning them into experts in their chosen fields. These strengths of theirs are sometimes my weakness. I have learnt over years from those I have commanded, who are smarter than I in these fields, that I should listen and learn from them. I have learned to appreciate the experience of others below as well as above me, which help me find areas to empower them, just as they empower I. Mr Andrew Schubert