“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity!”
General George Patton
The Australian Army’s way of war fighting has always rested on the soldier, whose individual and collective qualities represent a considerable advantage over potential enemies. Australian soldiers are renowned for being educated, highly professional, courageous and disciplined. The Australian soldier has always placed great emphasis on leadership, teamwork and the mutual support of their mates.
This paper will discuss leadership and the three levels of leadership as defined by Army. It will also discuss the Enhanced Career Management (ECM) model which is being implemented by Career Management – Army (CM-A) and the effect it has on the development of leadership between the ranks of PTE (P) – CPL/BDR.
The aim of this paper is propose that the Average Time in Rank (ATiR) a soldier serves within Army between the ranks of PTE (P) – CPL/BDR be standardised at 4.59yrs.
There are many definitions of leadership. For the purpose of Army leadership training, leadership is defined by LWD 0-0 Command, Leadership and Management as: ‘the art of influencing and directing people to achieve willingly the team or organisational goal.’
Levels of leadership. Within Army, leadership is practiced at three discernible levels. These include the individual, team and organisational level as depicted in Figure 1 below. The basis of leadership begins with the individual and how they learn to ‘be’, ‘know’ and ‘do’. The team level of leadership is about the direct relationship between leaders and their subordinates. The organisational level of leadership is about controlling and influencing the larger team. It is at the individual and team levels we develop our leadership style.
Figure 1: Levels of Leadership
Effective leadership. Within the Army, leaders are appointed and thus are able to enforce behavior by virtue of their worn rank, when they are unable to persuade by force of character. However, effective leadership is concerned with influencing subordinates and to a lesser extent peers without the need to use force.
Trust. Trust is one of the primary, if not the key, attribute associated with leadership. It is impossible to lead soldiers without first having trust. Soldiers will not put their lives on the line for something in which they do not believe, nor will they for someone they do not trust nor respect. The key elements in the building of trust have been proven to be integrity, competence, consistency and loyalty.
Know your soldiers. Success on the battlefield involves understanding your soldiers, not just the enemy. Understanding the individual behavior of your soldiers is a vital element in learning to how to lead them. With a clear knowledge of individual strengths and weakness, and an understanding of how individual differences affect team behaviour. The leader is more likely to work successfully with others and build a cohesive team.
Experience. Time allows leaders to gain experience, learn and build confidence. From this a complex leadership personality begins to emerge. This is what those around you take as your leadership style. Learning to lead is for most a journey of discovery; the early period being filled with a lot of trial and error. The risk to Army is that under our current career management model we are denying soldiers the time required to gain this experience and to grow as potential leaders.
Average Time in Rank
The Army’s ECM model, as depicted in Figure 2, shows that the ATiR is considered to be one of the key lines of operation required to achieve improved capability through enhanced career management. But if we review the Manual of Employment (MAE) for a number of different Employment Categories Numbers (ECN) within Army, we identify that the approach to career management is not uniform.
Figure 2: Enhanced Career Management
The Manual of Army Employment (MAE) for a number of ECNs, as listed below, show the disparity within Army in regards to the ATiR that soldiers spend between the ranks of PTE (P) – CPL/BDR.
- RAAC ECN 060 Armoured Cavalry: PTE (P) – CPL 24 Months
- RAA ECN 162 Artillery Gunner: PTE (P) – BDR 24 Months
- RAINF ECN 343 Rifleman: PTE (P) – CPL 48 Months
- RAAOC ECN 074 Operator Administrative: PTE (P) – CPL 12 Months
- RASIGS ECN 662 Communications Systems: PTE (P) – CPL 12 Monthsz
The requirement to standardise the ATiR for PTE (P) – CPL/BDR becomes more apparent when you consider that the Australian Regular Army (ARA) – Workforce Pocket Book as at 01 May 16 shows that PTE (P) – CPL/BDR make up 15609 of the ARA total strength of 29677.
The Army ECM model when fully implemented will see a soldier being promoted from PTE (P) to the substantive rank of CPL/BDR in 4.59yrs, providing they meet the criteria in accordance with their respective corps MAE. In summary this criteria requires that a soldier:
- Is fully qualified for rank and trade
- Is PTE (P) if being promoted to LCPL/LBDR
- Meets the minimum experience requirement ATiR
- Is suitable for promotion in latest PAR (if applicable)
- Is AIRN compliant
- Is offering unrestrictive service
- Will occupy an authorised position at the higher rank.
The Australian soldier of today finds himself in a world which is more complex and lethal than ever. Soldiers are required to undertake an extremely wide range of tasks within the same geographical area, at short notice and in complex terrain. To conduct Joint Operations in this environment, soldiers must be able to operate in versatile and agile teams, and be able to orchestrate actions in a precise and discriminating fashion. This places increasing demands upon soldiers to conduct close combat, peace enforcement and humanitarian operations simultaneously. Future soldiers and especially leaders will need to be even more versatile and adaptable than ever.
To achieve standardisation of the ATiR PTE (P) – CPL/BDR within Army it is recommended that:
- CM-A conducts a review of all ECN’s within Army in order to identify those Career Managers that have not yet implemented the ECM model within their respective corps.
- CM-A introduces a more definitive timeline for the implementation of the ECM model across Army.
WO2 Hogan is an Instructor at the Warrant Officer and NCO Academy.