1. CORPORATE LEADERSHIP
By Mark R. Griffiths, Specialist Executive Level Recruitment Manager and Australian Army 26 years | June 2012
“The main thing is always to have a plan; if it is not the best plan, it is better than no plan at all.”
Sir John Monash
It is constantly misunderstood, is there a difference between management and leadership and the
answer is simple there is a distinct difference. However, managerial leadership is different again to
management itself; which is best defined as managing: tasks, outcomes, finances, people,
administration or a business. Nowhere is it defined that management and leadership are the same.
1. From the destruction and despair of the First World War emerged the reputation of John Monash as
one of Australia’s finest military commanders and leaders. He began the war as a 49-year-old brigade
commander in Gallipoli, having assumed command of the 4th Brigade on 14 September 1918. At the
conclusion of hostilities, he was Australia’s first ever corps commander and had presided over a number
of great victories. A citizen soldier with 30 years experience, Monash regarded permanent soldiering an
unattractive proposition because he believed it to confine a man’s scope and, in comparison to civil
employment, limit his opportunities. He was a civil engineer, whose studies included degrees in arts and
law. Monash understood the totality of warfare in the context of the First World War. His intellect
facilitated his understanding of the revolution in military tactics, equipment and doctrine that emerged
on the Western Front. His planning and execution saved many lives and shaped the battlefields of the
2. It goes without saying that there are many good leaders yet we learn the most effective way to lead
from those very few great leaders, and the Australian Military has generated some of the World’s best.
3. The aim of this paper is to examine managerial leadership as applied to the corporate World. These
values should be at the core of all leaders both junior and senior, offering guidelines to form a basis for
decision making in difficult situations.
2. 4. This paper will first examine the concepts of command and command philosophy. The paper seeks
not to discuss any model of command or leadership but will use a narrative to highlight the intellect-
based competence consistently demonstrated by some of Australia’s best historical leaders.
5. Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the
organisation in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.
6. There are four major components to assist with the definition of leadership.
7. You must have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do. Also,
note that it is the followers, not the leader or someone else who determines if the leader is successful. If
they do not trust or lack confidence in their leader, then they will be uninspired. To be successful you
have to convince your followers, not yourself or your superiors, that you are worthy of being followed.
8. Different people require different styles of leadership. For example, a new staff member requires
more supervision than an experienced staff member. An individual who lacks motivation requires a
different approach than one with a high degree of motivation. You must know your people! The
fundamental starting point is having a good understanding of human nature, such as needs, emotions,
and motivation. You must come to know your staff’s attributes.
9. You lead through two-way communication; much of it is nonverbal. For instance, when you “set the
example,” that communicates to your people that you would not ask them to perform anything that you
would not be willing to do. What and how you communicate either builds or harms the relationship
between you and your all subordinate staff members or employees.
10. All situations are different. What you do in one situation will not always work in another. You must
use your judgment to decide the best course of action and the leadership style needed for each
situation. For example, you may need to confront an employee for inappropriate behaviour, but if the
confrontation is too late or too early, too harsh or too weak, then the results may prove ineffective.
11. Also note that the situation normally has a greater effect on a leader's action than his or her traits.
This is because while traits may have an impressive stability over a period of time, they have little
consistency across situations.
12. Various forces will affect these four factors. Examples of forces are your relationship with your
superiors or the skill of your subordinates.
3. Managerial Leadership
13. Leaders must be able to adapt to any given situation, and the application of some key principles
assists in this task. The principles of leadership behaviour and their relationship to various components
of any Managerial Leadership Model can be used as a tool to assess the current leadership situation in a
team or organisation, and can also be used as an action plan for individual improvement. Various
principles of leadership behaviour are useful for self-assessment and in developing a personal leadership
style. It is up to each leader to identify what works for them. To become a great leader that individual
must know how to employ those principles and traits effectively.
14. People trust leaders who are confident in their own abilities. Confidence comes with employment
proficiency – knowing how to do the job both in theory and in practice. Leaders will never gain the
respect of their people unless they are proficient in their job. Successful leaders recognise that
developing proficiency is an ongoing pursuit. They have the self-discipline to develop themselves.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses and Seek to address them
15. Gaining insight into one's strengths and weaknesses requires self-reflection and considering the
feedback provided by others. The more leaders are aware of their own values, needs and biases the less
likely they will be to impose these on others. Basically, become knowledgeable and stay knowledgeable.
Seek and Accept Responsibility
16. Being a leader involves responsibility. Leaders must accept responsibilities passed from superiors
and demands placed on them by their staff. Leaders take the initiative in line with the overall intent that
has been conveyed to them and train and encourage their team to do the same.
Lead by Example
17. It is expected that Leaders are role models. No other act of leadership is more significant than that of
example. If a leader expects certain attributes from personnel, then they must personally demonstrate
those qualities. High, but attainable, standards should be set. Good leaders know when to listen and
when to act.
18. The team must understand its’ purpose. Its’ members need to know the nature of the task to be
undertaken, the standard required and the timeframes within which it is to be achieved. In the absence
of specific instruction from superiors, the leader and the team should have the skills, knowledge and
initiative to act in accordance with the overall aim.
4. Know and Care for Your Subordinates
19. Leaders must listen to their staff and be able to recognise their individual differences. They must
understand what motivates their employees and what is important to them. Leaders who show genuine
concern for their team will find that the team will in turn trust and respect them.
Develop the Potential of Your Subordinates
20. Delegating authority enables individuals to develop their own potential as leaders. When a leader is
willing to delegate authority, he/she indicates trust in the team and will foster an environment in which
team members seek more responsibility. It is the leader's responsibility to create conditions in which
their team has the potential to flourish.
Make Sound and Timely Decisions
21. Leaders must be able to rapidly assess a situation and make sound decisions. Good decisions made
at the right time are better than the best decisions made too late. Successful leaders do not have all the
answers all the time. They do, however, have the ability to make a decision and act when necessary.
Develop the Team and Challenge its’ Abilities
22. The leader must develop camaraderie among the team that motivates them to willingly and
confidently meet all challenges. Individuals will perform better when they share the goals and
achievements of the group/organisation. Goals that are challenging and realistic will result in the team
feeling satisfied with their achievements. Whereas goals that are obviously unattainable will lead to
frustration and the erosion of morale.
Keep Your Team Informed
23. Keeping your staff informed allows them to make decisions and implement plans within the
organisation’s intent, thus encouraging initiative and teamwork. Subordinates who are well informed
are less likely to be influenced by rumour, and their morale and confidence will be higher. Subordinates
will look for logic in direct tasking and, in a high-trust environment, should question when logic is
absent. They expect the leader to keep them informed and, when possible, explain reasons for
instructions. Leaders will need to work hard at building these relationships through mutual respect and
24. Leadership is therefore the most influential variable affecting job performance and job satisfaction.
Any successful organisation needs to maintain a well-tuned, long-term and integrated focus on
leadership that creates the conditions for leaders at all levels and in all functions to be responsible for
their people. Great leadership plays a decisive role in enhancing employee commitment.
5. 25. A leader’s behaviour have a direct bearing on the intention of members to stay, include clearly
articulating organisational goals, demonstrating honesty and integrity, the provision of positive feedback
and the setting of realistic performance expectations.
26. A successful organisation achieves results through people but not at their expense. Leadership must
focus as much on the characteristics of followers as it does on attributes of the leader. Leading people in
any business involves accepting responsibility for others, modeling values by example, developing
people through praise and attempting to shape team culture. Successful leaders understand the
importance of their mission, but they also understand that if they care for their people and empower
them, results will follow.
1. B. Callinan, Sir John Monash, Melbourne University Press, 1981, p. 15.
1. Callinan, B, 1981, Sir John Monash, Melbourne University Press.
2. Department of Defence – Australian Army 2002, Land Warfare Doctrine 0-2, Leadership.
3. Department of Defence – Australian Army 2008, Land Warfare Doctrine 0-0 Command, Leadership and Management.
4. M. Robinson, Lieutenant, Australian Army, Concept paper on leadership for Army Leadership