The Seven Secrets of Leadership Success

Emma De Vita reviews General Richard Barrons and Deborah Tom's military guide to management

What do you get when the military meets management? The seven secrets of leadership success, according to General Richard Barrons and management consultant Deborah Tom.

What are these seven secrets? They range from 'soul matters' and 'dynamic maneouvre' to the more striking 'ride the tiger'. The most important secret for the third sector manager to consider is 'mission management'. This "applies the military technique of Mission Command, offering a comprehensive and tested way of creating wise delegation and genuine empowerment".

In civvy English, that means delegating responsibility to others without becoming detached from the key decision-making process yourself. It is about empowering the people who work for you in ways that allow them to maximise their skills, ideas and energy to act on their initiative.

In the army, this system is known as Mission Command. A mission is set by the top boss and explained to subordinates, who are then allowed to get the job done using their own initiative. Do all of this in a culture of trust and respect, and Bob's your uncle. Just don't make it mission impossible.

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today.

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