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What Leaders Are - Presentation slides

What Leaders Are

Army Leadership Framework

Army Leadership Framework

The British Army’s Leadership Framework provides the structure around which all Army leadership philosophies, doctrine and principles are framed.

What Army Leaders Are:

  • Values-based
  • Maintain the highest standards
  • Exhibit exceptional behaviours
  • Responsible & influential

What Army Leaders Know:

  • Themselves
  • Their people
  • Their profession

What Army Leaders Do:

  • Develop themselves & others
  • Build effective teams
  • Achieve the task

How Army Leaders Do It:

  • Role model the Army’s values & standards
  • Balance task, team & individual needs
  • Create effective followership
  • Communicate effectively
  • Adapt their leadership style

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The British Army Core Values - CDRILS

Being values-based is a principal characteristic of British Army Leadership, as well as fundamental to being an effective leader. These are more than simply words, but enduring organisational virtues that must drive and inform our everyday attitudes and behaviours.

  • COURAGE -A combination of physical and mental courage to risk one’s own life, to take life, to show restraint, to endure hardships, and focus on the task. It is about having the moral courage, and the strength and confidence to do what is right, even when it may be unpopular.
  • DISCIPLINE - The antidote to fear and for maintaining operational effectiveness. It is supported by loyalty, trust & professionalism. It instils self-confidence and self-control, meaning we will do the right thing even in the most difficult of circumstances.
  • RESPECT FOR OTHERS - It is both a legal obligation and fundamental principle that our society enjoys. Army teams that embrace diversity & value individuals for their contribution and viewpoint are always stronger for it. We must treat everyone we encounter as we would wish to be treated ourselves.
  • INTEGRITY - Truthfulness and honesty develops trust amongst individuals and welds them into robust and effective teams. Integrity, particularly by those in positions of authority, is critical to soldiering, as we must have complete trust in one another as our lives may ultimately depend upon it. 
  • LOYALTY - Loyalty binds all Army personnel together, creating cohesive teams and a sense of belonging that can achieve far more than the sum of our parts. But loyalty is not blind and must operate within the parameters of the other values. There is no room for mis-guided loyalty.
  • SELFLESS COMMITMENT - The foundation of Army service that prepares us to serve wherever & whenever required and to the best of our abilities. The needs of the mission and team must come before self-interests, as we may ultimately be required to give our lives for our country - that is true selfless commitment.

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British Army Standards 2

The British Army Standards

While our Values set out the moral principles expected of our people, they cannot stand in isolation.

  • British Army Standards guide our Values and set them in context, articulating the professional and personal expectations on all serving personnel, and it is a leader’s responsibility to role model these, both on and off-duty.
  • Standards define how we expect Values to be practised, ensuring that everything we do is acceptable, lawful & professional. When applied together, the Values & Standards of the British Army provide the basis for effective decision-making at a personal level.
  • Failure to meet these risks degrading mutual trust and respect, undermining morale & cohesiveness. It also threatens to damage the Army’s reputation, integrity, credibility & legitimacy.

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Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership

“If serving is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you” - Rory Vaden

The British Army’s ‘Servant’ Leadership philosophy turns the idea of a traditional hierarchical command & management approach on its head.

While, in the military, both are correct of course - it’s why the Army’s leadership catchphrase of ‘Serve to Lead’ is so paradoxical.

Yet it’s ultimately a balancing act between the distinct but complementary requirements of command, leadership and management, and needing to adjust one’s approach according to the changing demands of the context or environment.

This usually occurs as the focus between achieving the task (command authority facilitated by management processes) and supporting the needs of individuals and the team (leadership) ebbs and flows.

In the highest-performing teams, both need to occur in unison, of course. Yet effective leadership can take a lifetime to master, and is arguably a journey without end……

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Toxic Triangle

The Toxic Triangle

There’s more to a toxic workplace climate than a toxic leader alone.

While any leader who exhibits some or all of the traits listed will undoubtedly drive toxic behaviours, what role does the susceptibility of followers (i.e. colluders and conformers) and the conduciveness of the environment have to play in the equation? And what about those who fail to address the cycle of reinforcing, or worse, rewarding toxic behaviours?

Much like the ‘fire triangle’, by adopting effective strategies that seek to address any one aspect of the toxic triangle, the likelihood of a toxic climate developing can be drastically reduced, increasing our ability to address the more fundamental causes for it occurring.

[Source: based on The Toxic Triangle. Padilla, Hogan & Kaiser, 2007].

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10 Diseases Of Leadership

The 10 Diseases of Leadership

There will be times in most people’s careers when some or all of these dysfunctional behaviours manifest in some way, either in ourselves or in others. This can often be temporary and driven by the operating environment and context at the time. 

While these behaviours may be easy to spot in others, they are more difficult to spot in ourselves. However, once recognised, together with their impact upon others, conscientious and self-aware leaders will undoubtedly seek to correct their behaviour. But if left unchecked, they can form a more lasting and damaging part of a leader’s character.

Leaders who are also able to create an environment of psychological safety, where peers and colleagues are encouraged to challenge and support one another, will foster the greatest opportunities for personal development, both for themselves and the benefit of everyone in the team.

What other poor behaviours have you observed that you feel greatly erodes trust in a leader, and how might any of these be addressed?

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