Continuously learn from others, both good and bad; but ultimately be yourself. It is easy to emulate the peers and superiors you respect, but it is just as important to learn from the bad, so you will know what to do differently when you are of similar rank or position. Do not try an be someone your not, as it will show! and you will be that poor example your soldiers will not emulate in the future. Sergeant Patrick Brennan
Never, ever underestimate the limits that people will go to for you as their leader and to do their part for the team. Do your part by setting them up for success with guidance, direction, and the leadership they deserve. Accountability is key here and speaks to ethical leadership and decision making. At the end of a 15km endurance march to an obstacle course during the Infantry’s hardest competition, I was mentally and physically exhausted. I looked up to see seven soldiers gritting their teeth, motivated to put the person to their left and right before themselves. Steadfastness! Sergeant Carlos Barrera
Be prepared from Day 1 in your role to train your replacement. This is a leadership lesson that I learned early in my career. In difficult times and an ever increasing workload demand on our young soldiers, NCO’s are more often being asked to perform the role of 1 up. From experience, this is not something that can be achieved by rank or seniority alone, but is born out of individual drive, competency maintenance and a nurturing influence of our organisations existing leadership. By investing in our subordinates, we enable a higher standard of excellence to be achieved. Sergeant Timothy Self
One of the most important leaderships lessons I’ve learnt is Australian soldiers are known and respected worldwide to be extremely versatile and resilient – being tasked with objectives above and beyond our position and rank due to our extensive knowledge and demonstrated capabilities.
As leaders, you are automatically duty bound to foster and continue this culture and hunger to perform for future generations by injecting your lessons learnt, acknowledging that change is gradual, acknowledging that it will be thankless at times, but most importantly acknowledging that you instrumental in shaping the future of our defence force through your direct influence. Sergeant Newton Thaiposri
There are good and bad mistakes when we train. It pays to know the difference, especially when conducting AARs. Good mistakes made highlight a weakness in our training – it’s your job as a leader to act on that mistake accordingly rather than just jumping down that persons throat by default. Corporal Alex Findlay
When making decisions, they should not be entered into with haste and only be made once the second and third order effects have been evaluated and accounted for. This is particularly pertinent when conducting planning, problem solving and critical thinking; as the simple and most obvious solutions for today all done with the best intentions have a tendency over time to lead to unintended consequences. Corporal Alex Slader
My most important leadership lesson would be accountability and responsibility, because I believe they work together. When a task or mission is given out that person is then solely held accountable for it to be completed to the best possible standard. It is that member’s responsibility to delegate or seek the required help that allows them to perform to the highest possible standard. Bombardier Bryson Smith
During my time in the Army I have learnt there are a number of ways to be a good leader. My most important lesson I have learnt is to develop the ability to have people around myself willing to follow. It doesn’t just have to be your subordinates, however in some case your superiors as well. I have found being able to lead by example by doing a task with my subordinates as I gain respect by helping. Speaking to them respectfully and not demanding my section members to complete tasks I believe they work for me not because they have to, but they want to. Corporal Matthew Walsh
Leadership is not defined by title, seniority nor position within a hierarchical command structure. A leader has a non-biased approach and the ability to influence, inspire and provide direction to an individual or group of people to achieve the same end state/mission. A good leader can communicate effectively both up and down the chain providing a fluid passage of information and purpose. Bombardier Nicole Ison
Finding someone who’s traits and attitude you admire, whether it’s someone the same rank as you or a superior. For myself, it was a fellow peer who had spent more time in rank. I admired the way he conducted himself, his confidence, commitment and passion for the job. The idea is not to directly imitate your mentor, but to take certain qualities and blend them with your own. Conduct yourself with the end goal of having your subordinates wanting to imitate you. Corporal Alexander Wendt
In my opinion, nothing is more beneficial to improving yourself as an NCO in the ADF than getting posted to a training establishment. In my case, it was 1 RTB. I myself led quite an introverted early Army career. I knew that I wasn’t happy with my confidence and wanted to improve myself. You can start small by volunteering for extra regimental duties. I started running PT sessions for my company. This led to an increase in confidence which is one of the biggest contributors to a valued leader. I then wanted to go straight to the deep end and requested for a 1 RTB posting. The Recruit Instructor Course proved a great stepping stone, delivering lessons of each discipline to peers before moving onto recruits. Now, after 18 months and counting in a Recruit Instructor role I feel I have learnt more and developed myself in the All-Corps environment far more than the previous 6 years in my primary trade role. The inter-corps relationships of the different staff members also assists in understanding all roles in the battle space and contributes to your technical/non-technical support network which may come in handy throughout your Defence career. Corporal Alexander Wendt
An important leadership lesson during the activity would be, get to know every member of your team. We were required to multi-pitch abseil down a 160m rock wall at Mount Buffalo which had a lot of snow and temperatures below zero. You may have members who have experience in these activities and members who have a fear of heights or just don’t like being cold. You will be able to draw ideas from your experienced members to help manage those who struggle to push themselves outside their comfort zones. This was important on the trek back to the top when members were cold and tired as parts of the track were very steep, narrow and slippery. Corporal Stephen Lowe
Early on in my Defence career, I was lucky enough to work with a lieutenant who taught me that there are times where you need to be assertive and there are times where you need to be a mentor, it’s finding that balance between both that creates great leaders. This has since been a core value that I have adapted into my leadership style as an NCO. Due to this, I now strive to further develop not only myself but all others around me as you are only as good as your last team, and there is no “I” in team. Corporal Syndee Bailey
The most important lesson I have learnt from my time in Defence is to never make my subordinates do something I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. Having superiors do this to me my entire time as a PTE and seeing how my peers have done this with their subordinates, it makes you come across as lazy and as someone nobody wants to work with or learn from. Corporal Sean Hasler
“Soldiers are smarter, more creative and more educated than ever before. Don’t rely on 2 pips or hooks on your chest for examples of competency, be proficient”
Know and care for your subordinates
“If soldiers don’t like you, they will work just hard enough to not get charged. If they like you, they will do whatever it takes to achieve your mission. Being friendly isn’t essential but it sure helps.”
Develop the potential of your subordinates
“Your goal as a leader is just like being a parent. You truly succeed when you make yourself redundant. Develop your team so that if you were to disappear, business doesn’t change.” Corporal Lindsey Albion
Important leadership lessons that I have learnt; one would be to be your yourself stay true to your own moral beliefs and don’t try to copy somebody else style do what works for you, and be accountable for your actions and your team, don’t leave them out to dry, have that trust that you will do the right thing them by them and they will do the right thing by you. Corporal Callum Cusack
Every soldier needs to employ four key skills which include:
- Self-awareness – simply understanding your strengths and weaknesses.
- Communication – effectively communicating information and ideas.
- Influence – Inspiration and motivation.
- Learning agility – creating a culture of learning.
Keep in mind that each skill should be continuously improved, or “built on as you go.” To be effective, you continue to develop, adapt, and strengthen leadership skills throughout your career. As you gain leadership skills in one area, you’ll find there’s more to learn and practice in taking on new challenges and more senior roles. Corporal Mitchell Farrell
Leadership has no single dimensional approach which can be gathered through reading a book; but is a multi-faceted and ever-evolving concept with inter-lapping qualities, which work synergistically to support an output mutually. This concept must have specificity towards each individual, group and mission to harmonise specific motivators and emotions. Leadership is an array of characteristics and attributes working in conjunction for a desired and positive outcome. Corporal Charles Stuart
Leadership is something that I believe can never be truly mastered, in fact it is something that we should always be striving to adapt and evolve. One could argue that there is more to be learnt from the poor leader than the exceptional one. I believe a good leader must have humility, be a decent human, and most importantly listen to their subordinates. A great leader will take advice, allow questions, admit when they are wrong and most importantly not be afraid to make decisions. As a leader this is arguably the toughest yet most rewarding component of command. Taking decisive actions that set the conditions for mission success. Corporal Shane Lindgren
100% is made up of 100 1%ers. Every time you reduce that number you lose an important part of the task. Soon, if you’re not diligent, your best efforts are only a fraction of what they should have been and the next soldier is worse off for your inaction. Be diligent. Lance Corporal Timothy Flitton