What makes a Good Leader Is Faith an added Value by F2sTru


									What makes a Good Leader Is Faith an added Value?

I feel I am not the right person to be speaking on the subject of Leadership to such a distinguished
gathering. Only an Irishman would dare to speak to an International gathering of senior army officers on
I recall a friend on mine who was invited to speak at a conference of Church of England clergymen and he
was an Irish Presbyterian. (You may be aware that the senior cleric in charge of an English Cathedral is
the Dean and the clergymen who are members of his staff and who assist in the work of the Cathedral are
called Canons.)
By way of introduction my friend said. “Today I feel as if I am at the Battle of Balaclava, canons to the
right of me, canons to the left of me and canons behind me. And I only hope that a few words from a
Loyal Ulster Rifle will not go unheard.”
That’s how I feel right now. I have a general to the right of me, a general to the left of me and generals in
from of me and I only hope I am able to give you something to reflect upon and discuss in about thirty
minutes time.
 We will all agree that Leadership is an important aspect of Military Life. In the British Armed Forces two
words are often used synonymously to designate the person in charge of a Unit. These words are Leader
and Commander. Some Armoured Regiments have Squadron Leaders; some Infantry Regiments call the
equivalent appointment Company Commander. At Brigade and Divisional Levels we have Commanders.
 I’m not sure why we use these two terms in this way though I suspect it may have to do with history and
tradition. Someone here may be able to tell me.
An Officer in the British Armed Forces is granted a Commission by Her Majesty the Queen to serve in the
Royal Navy, Army, or Royal Air Force. In the case of the Army, it posts the officer to a certain
appointment and gives him or her the authority to Command troops. That person, however, is not only
regarded as a Commander, he or she is also seen as a Leader.
I remember when speaking with junior officers I used to say, “the Army has appointed you a Platoon
Commander, now you must earn the right to be the Platoon Leader”.
The Leadership role is not a simple paper and administrative transaction.
I recall when I was in the Army that we went through a stage where the officers were becoming upset
because more and more emphasis was being put into man-management and they felt, or at least some did,
that leadership was being downgraded. That is certainly not true for the British Army today. Leadership is
regarded as of paramount importance.
Now I don’t intend to focus our attention on the functional aspects of Leadership. I am not qualified to do
so. Your Higher Command and Staff Colleges will have done that.
You are all versed in the different levels of leadership and as senior men you will be involved in
Leadership at a strategic level.
To me, it appears that the army equips officers well with the knowledge and skills required to successfully
carry out their duties .The officer seems to be constantly training and of course we know why. If he is not
well trained in leadership skills he may make a decision that has catastrophic consequences for his men as
well as for many others.
As I mentioned on Sunday I have read a lot about leadership and I was amused to notice in one of the
books that “Socrates” may very well have been the first person to teach leadership skills. I have also
discovered that social scientists and psychologists have spent considerable time studying “leadership” as
well as “Leaders”
 There is much to be gained from the writings of professor Badaracco and Richard Ellsworth in their book
called “Leadership and the Quest of Integrity”. I met Professor Badaracco when I visited Harvard in Nov
2000. He writes primarily with the Business World in mind but I believe that much of what he says can
be applied to the Army.
If we apply what he says to the Army, for example, the performance of any military unit rests ultimately
on the dedication and creativity of the whole Unit. That unit may be a Battalion, a Battle Group or a
Division and in order for that unit succeed the leaders have to shape and structure it in such a way that the
very purpose for which it exists as well as the values by which it wishes to live and operate by are

understood and accepted by all personnel. Followers must become committed to their Unit, their Army,
instead of their leader. The real test of leadership lies in the performance of the group being led. How are
they all operating? That’s the test! After all, within the military world the leader is in post for a relatively
short period of time.

Therefore a leader’s actions must serve the purpose and reflect the values of the organisation and in such a
way that all members can identify with personally.

Badaracco says that what separates a leader from a competent manager is the ability to build an
organisation that is a source of self-fulfilment and personal integrity for its members.
 This is an important point in relation to the military leader. Somehow you must be able to lead your
soldiers into conflict, respecting the dignity of your own soldiers and that of those against whom you are
Professor Jonathan Glover in his book “ Humanity” gives many examples where the respect for the
dignity of the soldier is damaged as well as of those regarded as the enemy.
He tells of a Soviet Soldier who said, “ Before I went into the Army it was Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy who
taught me how I ought to live my life. In the Army it was the sergeants” … “ repeat after me”, “
Conscience is a luxury we can’t afford.”
Another example provided by Jonathan Glover concerns a veteran from the Second World War who had
fought in the Far East. He describes how his unit found a single Japanese soldier when the rest of the
Japanese army had left the island. They took their rifles and used him as a target while he dashed around
the clearing. They found his movements hilarious and their laughter slowed down their eventual killing of
In telling the story the veteran said they saw him as an animal

  As Christian leaders, I believe you have a responsibility to guard against moral decline and the erosion of
moral resources.
Another scholar, the highly respected psychologist Daniel Goleman has discovered in the course of his
research that effective leaders are alike in one crucial way, “they all have a high degree of emotional
 He emphasises that entry to a leadership role entails competence in the skills of that particular profession.
This is a must. However, “ a person may have the best training in the world, an incisive analytical mind
and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader”.
The essential ingredient for Leadership is emotional intelligence. This includes self-awareness, self-
regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
 I don’t think we should be surprised at this piece of news that was published by Goleman in 1998, for the
military world has been aware of this for a very long time.
If we go back to ancient Greece we read of Xenophon who was a philosopher as well as a soldier He gave
a list of qualities required in a general. These included: temperance, justice, sagacity, amiability, presence
of mind, tactfulness, humanity, sympathy, helpfulness, courage, magnanimity, generosity and
General Montgomery often quoted the qualities that Aristotle regarded as being important for leaders.
These included justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude.
 Now these qualities fall mainly within the realm of non-technical skills and bearing in mind the core
values of the British Army I should like to underline one or two of them as they relate to our Faith, as
 Jesus said, “ Let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves. Now
this is not something that we regard as a leadership role but as John Adair, who is one of the most
experienced teachers on Leadership, reminds us, “ The deepest flaw in leadership is usually arrogance”.
And, “ the root of arrogance is an inflated pride which makes a person in the position of leadership act in
an excessively determined, overbearing or domineering way”. There is evidence that that troops appreciate
the leader who comes down to their level; one who shares their conditions of hardship. John Adair quotes

General Slim who wrote “We, my commanders and I talked to units, to collections of officers, to
headquarters, to little groups of men, to individual soldiers” This he recognised as an important aspect of
 As you know it was General slim who said “ The real test of Leadership is not if your men will follow
you in success but if they will stick by you in defeat and hardship.”
I have mentioned so many qualities that various writers, philosophers and military experts have
highlighted as being important.
 In summary I would say that so much of what we discussed is reflected in the word “ Care”. A leader
must genuinely care for his soldiers; He must show in his life the values he seeks to impose on his
soldiers. Values such as loyalty, courage, service, discipline, integrity and respect for others. He must also
be a man of vision and have the strength to guard against moral slippage as difficult situations deteriorate.
 The Leader must ensure that his soldiers receive the best training available, not only in military skills but
in moral resources as well.
Being a Christian does not guarantee that you are or will be a good leader. However, the good leader who
is also a Christian will possess many of the non-technical qualities listed earlier in this talk and exhibit in
his life many of the values deemed necessary for effective leadership. Those values and virtues will have
become part of his life as he has endeavoured to indwell the Christian story.

Thank you for listening.


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