The purpose of this blog is to fill a gap in an otherwise oversupplied market; to foster leadership in middle and junior management in the area of business administration. It's aim is to discuss the theoretical underpinnings of good leadership and the necessary virtues and behaviours of a good leader and apply the resulting knowledge and techniques in an environment many of you will be familiar with. In trying to achieve this aim I will be drawing heavily on the lessons of military leadership as they apply in an administrative setting.
- Why business administration?
A lot of leadership literature concentrates on sales, senior management and strategy. Universities and colleges the world over present MBA programmes for the aspiring young executive, but by the time they aquire leadership skills (if they ever do) they are often far along that executive stream. It appears to me, however, that a gap exists and that consequently a dearth of good leadership practice exists, at the junior and middle management of many ordinary companies and businesses. Whatever these businesses do, they have to be able to carry out the basic administrative processes which support everything else. It's the nuts and bolts of the operation.
- Why military leadership?
First, it's what I know. Second, whilst using military leadership as a guide to business leadership is hardly original, it's rarely done well.
The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him. - Sun Tzu's Military Strategy (The Art of War)
There are many writers on leadership who evoke the strategies and methods of military leaders. Unfortunately, many of them are abstract, vague and ultimately of little use to a manager who doesn't already understand how to apply the lessons.
A second type of 'military to business' type of writing is of the 'Leadership the Marines way' nature, where a former serving Non Commissioned Officer or Officer glamorizes the 'best of the best' approach to solving everyday management issues. This approach suffers usually because the writer is not an expert on business management or administration; the truth is that the military and civilian organizations differ in too many ways to shoe horn your company into the mould. There are real differences between leading a group of soldiers in combat and leading a team of administrators and line managers in the office.
- So how will this blog be different?
Well, hopefully, because it will be a discussion and not just a one way lecture, which should prevent it becoming either too abstract or too 'Gung Ho'. Also, there are some military personnel who do have the experience to apply leadership lessons in an office environment - those who have trained and worked as administrators within the armed services. Don't forget that the military is ultimately a bureaucracy, with all the administrative process and personnel that implies. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a combat soldier to be a good leader; there are many opportunities within the armed forces for leadership to shine away from the heat of battle.
- What will you cover?
Topics will be diverse but will include the virtues of a leader, skills (including the use of technology, personal productivity, communication, training, critical thought and analysis), leadership theory, professional knowledge, practical application and, focusing on service personnel, resettlement and outplacement advice