Leadership & Ethics

Report: Unlocking Soldier Morale - A Leadership Challenge in an Infantry Company

By Mick Young October 24, 2019

“Above all, it must be remembered that sound morale building is a two way process; morale is not something to be imposed by a central organisation, but something that demands the initiative and response of the people in every type of activity and grouping. They must express their own problems, help discover the causes of their own perplexities...” - Arthur Upham Pope

Sub-unit moral is the cornerstone of unit operational effectiveness. This senior soldier's observations on the morale within an infantry company is based on analysis conducted throughout 2018. It challenges preconceptions and provides analysis of evidence that was gathered so the command team could truly understand the problem. In doing so, the author found that morale in the company varied between high and low dependant on multiple factors, such as: time away;  junior leadership of the numerous small teams (platoons and sections); job satisfaction; and trust in leadership, to name but a few. This paper examines these specific causes in dropping morale and outlines how the chain of command responded to address them. 

This detailed, honest, reflective and empathetic report is a must read for all leaders, regardless of rank or Corps.

Find the full report here: 




Mick Young

Warrant Officer Class Two Michael Young is an Infantry Soldier with 24 years of experience. He has served with the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, Defence Force Recruiting: South Australia, 10/27th Battalion, The Royal South Australia Regiment, Australian Defence Force Academy and the School of Infantry. During his time in the Army, Mick has been on operations to East Timor, Timor Leste, Solomon Islands, Sinai, Afghanistan and Fiji.

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.


A very insightful and thought provoking account that all leaders should reflect upon. Thank you for sharing your story Mick. You have provided some answers to a common problem within Army units.

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