This article by The Military CEO will explore the new British Army Leadership Code so that you can try and apply it within your team. Developed in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst the Army Leadership Code has been based on both experience and academic studies. With the work already done for you why not see if you can improve your leadership style and subsequently the team around you.

Since writing this article a great example of the British Army practicing what it preaches can be found when looking at their brand new advertising campaign!

The Army Leadership Code

General Sir Nick Carter is currently the professional head of the British Army as the Chief of General Staff. In September 2015 the CGS released the Army Leadership Code as a leadership guide for both soldiers and officers. The code consists of 7 behaviours that with a mixture of coaching techniques can create the ultimate team. This article will break them down so that you might be able to adopt them in your work place. Watch General Sir Nick Carter and the Army Sergeant Major talk about why the Army Leadership Code is important below.

Your leaders, junior or senior will be developed by following the code, so that they are supported and challenged to do the right thing every time. It helps all to be an outstanding member of a team that will succeed whenever and wherever called upon to do their duty.

Our Values and Standards

The British Army’s values have founded The Army Leadership Code. These values are:

  • Courage
  • Discipline
  • Respect for others
  • Integrity
  • Loyalty
  • Selfless commitment
The 9 values and standards of the British Army

The British Army’s Values and Standards

They represent what the British Army stands for and what set us apart from society. We apply our values through our standards which remind our Army to act:

  • Appropriately
  • Lawfully
  • Totally Professionally

These ‘Values and Standards’ of the British Army are not new. However the Army Leadership Code simply pulls together what has been proven to work throughout history and most recently on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The New Army Leadership Code

The Army Leadership Code consists of seven leadership behaviours:

  • Lead by example
  • Encourage thinking
  • Apply reward and discipline
  • Demand high performance
  • Encourage confidence in the team
  • Recognise individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Strive for team goals

The Theory Behind It

The code has been developed from the concept known as ‘values based leadership’. For some years now this has been applied in British Army training establishments .

The Army Leadership Code draws from academic leadership theory with empirical evidence that proves it works. At the heart of the Army leadership Code are the 7 leadership behaviours listed above developed from the principles of transformational and transactional leadership theory.

The seven leadership behaviours of the British Army Leadership Code 2017

The Army Leadership Code @ArmySgtMajor

Lead By Example

You cannot lead people beyond where you’re willing to go yourself. All leaders are role models and must demonstrate your team’s values in everything you do. Whether in or out of the team environment a leader must demonstrate behaviour that aligns with the team’s values. By consistently doing so, a leader will be considered an authentic leader who ‘walks the walk’ as well as ‘talking the talk’. Read my article that explores how the British Army pays its employees is a great example of leadership.

Encourage Thinking

The brain, like a muscle, develops through use. Leaders must encourage those they lead to think by giving them problems that stretch them. Individuals must be encouraged to ‘Think outside the box’, finding an innovative solution to problems is a fine quality. Giving people the opportunity to think and suggest ideas demonstrates respect for others, generates trust and confidence therefore building loyalty.

Apply Reward And Discipline

It is human nature to enjoy being praised, and reward recognises effort, inspiring further endeavour and motivation. Leaders must apply a full range of rewards, from formal recognition to timely and regular praise. You should never underestimate the value of a ‘Well Done’ or ‘Good Effort’. Reward should be constructive and support the individual or team in further optimising performance. The correct application of reward promotes loyalty and respect for others.

The application of discipline, regardless of seniority is crucial to correct failings and reprimand transgressions. Leaders must not shy away from discipline when required and do so in a timely fashion. Ensure that an appropriate process of discipline escalation is outlined within your team or organisation.

Demand High Performance

Any team will experience an amount of external competition. Whether it’s business competition for clients or contracts or sporting competition. Leaders should have high performance expectations and communicate them to their teams. This applies to every part of your organisation in order to support one another. A word of caution, performance expectations must be tuned to the team and achievable, otherwise they can be de-motivational.

Encourage Confidence in the Team

Leaders must inspire and motivate their teams to achieve. This is done by demonstrating confidence in their abilities, and talking enthusiastically about success. Reinforce the importance of teamwork, and show trust in the authority of the team.

Recognise Individual Strengths and Weaknesses

Every person has something to offer the team, and everybody has areas requiring development. Leaders must identify these individual strengths and weaknesses and address them accordingly, to ensure that the team fulfils its potential and achieves all it can achieve.

Strengths must be played to, and challenged to inspire confidence and motivate additional effort to stretch even further, always seeking to optimise performance.

Try and address and discuss weaknesses in an understanding and considerate manner. Focus on the root of the problem and the potential to improve rather than the current impact of the weaknesses.

Coaching techniques are extremely useful in addressing both individual strengths and weaknesses.

Strive for Team Goals

Teams will always achieve more than the individual, but the difference between good and great teams is usually the degree of team spirit that bonds them together. Challenging the team to accept and strive for shared goals will create shared purpose, bind them together and foster esprit de corps. The team should be inspired by a variety of goals whether they’re business based, sporting or otherwise (e.g. charitable).

Have Your Say

As explained this is the British Army Leadership Code, whilst i’m a firm believer do you think this particular code could be adopted in a business organisation? Let me know in Your Thoughts or comment below and as always i’ll reply and may even elaborate on your thought in a future post.

-The Military CEO