SNCO Leadership Day | UK Centre for Army Leadership

By The Cove October 21, 2020
UK Centre for Army Leadership

The UK's Centre For Army Leadership (CAL) exists to champion Army leadership excellence in order to optimise the Army’s edge and underpin operational success.

On 24 Sep 2020, the UK's Centre for Army Leadership launched their inaugural SNCO Leadership Day. You can view the full YouTube clip here

The Cove is privileged to share the footage of this forum because our very own SGT Ben Katz was a keynote speaker, providing the Australian perspective to SNCO leadership. A few of his points resonated with The Cove team, specifically:

  • 'SNCO leadership is about the ability to temper a commander's theoretical enthusiasm with hard won, practical experience.' 
  • 'Do not filter your advice, although this does not mean you need to be abrasive or rude.'
  • 'The Army needs SNCOs to be leaders, not union reps or corporate 'yes' men.'
  • 'We need to create an organisation that people want to belong to.'

These are just a few of the honest, frank and personal messages that SGT Katz shared with the audience. If you would like to view SGT Katz's 18 minute presentation, it begins 1 hr and 27 mins into the YouTube clip.  

However, if you have the time, we highly recommend you enjoy the value of the other distinguished keynote speakers including the UK's Commander Field Army, Lieutenant General Ivan Jones CB,  who speaks to the loneliness of leadership through some very entertaining anecdotes about his own junior leadership experience. He also poses a particularly challenging question of, 'Why is leadership typically defined as an infantry platoon commander giving orders in battle, when in reality this is not the experience for the vast majority of serving leaders, or if it does actually occur, the experience is so infinitesimally small.  Therefore why do we build our leadership culture on this authoritarian approach?"  To learn his perspective on this questions, you can view his presentation which begins at 7min 40 secs

The UK's Army Sergeant Major, WO1 Gavin Paton begins his presentation at 42 mins 30secs into the video clip. WO1 Paton opts to share the mistakes he has made so you that you can learn from them as he did without having to make them yourself! He appears to be a fan of Chuck Norris, but on a more serious note speaks to the junior commander legacy and the 10 diseases of leadership. 

LTCOL John Dagless provides a presentation on, 'Using your rank as an opportunity and the threat - Toxic Leadership.' LTCOL Dagless takes the time to define what toxic leadership is. He offers a word of caution when using this term though, because he suggests that toxic leadership is a label which is definitive, but in reality they are not as conclusive as we might wish to consider. It was particularly interesting to see LTCOL Dagless quote the Australian Army's own MAJGEN Craig Orme where he says that, 'The risks of poor or toxic leadership are much greater in the military than in civilian organisations.' If you would like to learn more about toxic leadership, LTCOL Dagless's presentation starts at 1hour 8 mins.  

Having watched some or all of the video clip, The Cove Team encourages you to reflect on what you have heard, consider if and how the British approach or messaging differs to our own, and how you will take what messages resonated with you and integrate them into your own leadership approach.   




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.

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