The Centre for Army Leadership Podcast podcast

The Centre for Army Leadership Podcast

The Centre for Army Leadership

Drawing on over 300 years of British Army leadership experience, 'The Centre for Army Leadership Podcast' looks to establish what is required of our leaders and our leadership, to meet the challenges of both today and tomorrow. For the British Army, leadership underpins everything that we do. It not only ensures we do right by our people, it underpins our operational success. This podcast series seeks to harness diversity of thought and experience from military leaders as well as leaders from the worlds of sport, academia and business, stimulating debate, awareness and critical thinking. Leadership matters to us all with many of our successes and indeed our failures often defined by how well we are led, or indeed by how well we lead. The purpose of the Podcast is to provide a platform where these invaluable leadership lessons and experiences can be shared.

23 Episodes

  • The Centre for Army Leadership Podcast podcast

    Episode 22 - Major General Tim Hodgetts CBE QHS OStJ


    In the latest episode of the CAL Podcast, we are joined by the Surgeon General, Major General Tim Hodgetts CBE QHS OStJ. General Tim is the most senior uniformed medical office within the Armed Forces and is the senior technical authority for all medical matters. In this fascinating interview, General Tim talks about the necessity of different leadership styles and how he has learned to adapt his approach and style throughout his illustrious career, depending on the context. Speaking with passion and sincerity, general Tim talks about the importance of innovation and challenge within any organisation. He quotes George Bernard Shaw by saying, "progress is only made by unreasonable people", stressing the need for disruptive innovation. General Tim tells us about his leadership lessons from his numerous deployments to Afghanistan within a field hospital, highlighting the clash and tension between military and civilian medical ethical frameworks and the leadership challenges that come with it. Finally, General Tim discusses the importance of decision-making in leadership and the tension every leader faces in balancing understanding a situation with being decisive.   An incredible interview with a pioneer in emergency medicine. 
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    Episode 21- Mark Laity


    In this week's episode we will be doing a deep dive into 'Strategic Communications' (StratCom) by talking to former Director Communications Division at SHAPE, Mark Laity. Mark tells us about his time as a defence correspondent in the 1990's and discusses the exponential rate of change in journalism and the shift to reporting 'emotional narratives' as opposed to the facts. He highlights that the rapid rise in technology and 24 hour news has changed the nature of journalism, with there now being an unhealthy tension between 'being the first with the story vs being the first with the truth'. He goes on to talk about StratCom and his role within SHAPE, describing StratCom as 'a systematic approach to incorporating communications into our overall effect; you cannot win without information on your side'. He highlights that although the theory and intellectual grounding in StratCom is assured, the implementation of it is less so.  Mark goes on to give some sage advice to advisors at every level, outlining that they are there to tell bosses 'what they need to hear, and not what they want to hear', stressing that advisors need humility and strong moral courage. Finally, he gives an informed and candid view on Afghanistan, unpacking what arguably went wrong for both NATO and wider stakeholders, highlighting that 'no one thing went wrong, but there was a lot that did'.  A fascinating deep dive into StratCom, for leaders at every level.   
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    Episode 20 - Lt Col Langley Sharp MBE


    In this special episode of the podcast, we are joined by our very own Lt Col Langley Sharp MBE head of 'The Centre for Army Leadership', to discuss his new book 'The Habit of Excellence: Why British Army Leadership Works'. The book is the first endorsed book on British Army leadership and gives an inside and institutional view on what makes its leadership so effective. In the podcast, he talks to us about the evolution of British Army leadership and the books' inception. He speaks with real passion about how he hopes the book dispels the common misconception about British Army leadership being transactional and instead shines a light on the Army's people-centric transformational approach. Notwithstanding this, Lt Col Sharp doesn't shy away from the Army's leadership failures highlighting that the book offers some critical self-reflection on its failures stating that "we have much to teach about leadership, but also plenty to learn". He hopes the book encourages critical thinking, debate and challenge from both the Army and external organisations. Throughout the interview, he continually returns to the Army's culture and the unique nature of British Army leadership. Explicitly discussing the diversity of its leaders and the special relationship officers and soldiers within the British Army have, stating that the symbiotic relationship between the two is an incredible strength. Finally, he summarises it all by echoing a phrase from the book stating "leadership is not about the heroic exception or one-off action, but the habitual practice of doing what is right, difficult and necessary every single day to build a team, look after the people in it, and work towards the next objective."   An incredible interview with the author of 'The Habit of Excellence: Why British Army Leadership Works'.
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    Episode 19 - Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE DL


    In the latest episode of the Centre for Army Leadership Podcast, we are honoured to speak to Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE DL, founder of Cobra Beer and current chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Ltd. Lord Kahran reflects on his entrepreneurial journey, from his early days selling polo sticks to Harrods through to starting Cobra Beer in a small flat in London whilst at university. He tells us how good entrepreneurs are creative and innovative, emphasising that they have to have guts and take calculated risks. He highlight that it is about putting ideas into action and sticking with it when others may have given up. Lord Bilimoria discusses moments of luck in his career, describing luck as "where determination meets opportunity". He discusses his experience of leading through a crisis and tells us how he has nearly lost Cobra Beer three times, sharing the invaluable lessons he has learnt from the experience.  Finally, he discusses the need for collaboration between government and industry and highlights the need to "build forward together".     
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    Episode 18 - Professor Neil Greenberg


    This week, in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, we will be doing a deep dive into mental health by speaking to Consultant Occupational and Forensic Psychologist, Professor Neil Greenberg. Professor Neil served in the Armed Forces for more than 23 years. During this time, he was an integral part of the team that developed peer-led traumatic stress support packages, most notably trauma risk management (TRiM), for which he was awarded the Gilbert Blane Medal. Professor Neil tells us about the origins and academic rigour behind the Armed Forces TRiM programme but warns that it is not penicillin for mental health and that leaders must work hard to use TRiM as a proactive rather than a reactive tool. He highlights the importance of knowing and communicating with your people and discusses the importance of leaders having what he calls, "psychological savy chats”. Professor Neil also explores the concept of using 'after actions reviews' following traumatic incidents, pointing out that if leaders were to be more open and transparent about their feelings and the mental and emotional impact of events, it would resonate with their followers and set the example for them to follow. Finally, he tackled the sobering subject of suicide and gave invaluable advice for people struggling with their mental health, highlighting the importance of people being compassionate and kind.  If you would like more information on mental health support please follow the links below:  Veteran Support  Single point of contact for veterans' mental health support.  Mental Health and Wellbeing Defence Connect (Must have Defence Connect account) Mental health and wellbeing resources can be found on Defence Connect including links to charity organisations Combat Stress: for veterans’ mental health Combat Stress provides a range of community, outpatient and residential mental health services to veterans with complex mental health problems.  Resources for team leaders:  Zero Suicide Alliance training  There are three modules to this on-line training: Step Up Isolation Module This module is a brief introduction to what social isolation is, how it affects our mental health, and how to help someone who may be isolated. Gateway Training This module is a brief but vital introduction to suicide awareness. Advanced training takes 25 minutes to complete and gives you the skills and awareness to recognise when someone may be contemplating taking their own life.
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    Episode 17 - Professor Jamie Shea CMG


    In the latest episode of the Centre for Army Leadership Podcast, we have the privilege to speak with Professor Jamie Shea, former Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO. Jamie's NATO career spanned an incredible 38 years, in which time he worked his way from Assistance Committee Secretary and Minute Writer to Deputy Assistant Secretary-General. As one would expect, Jamie speaks passionately about the importance and strength of coalitions and interoperability, highlighting the benefits of diversity and of having a unifying purpose at the strategic level. He talks about the challenges of leading without authority and unpacks the concept of 'leading through diplomacy'. Jamie looks to the future in highlighting the future challenge's leaders will face in an ever-changing and increasingly complex world, highlighting the issues that NATO leaders will face, specifically in dealing with sub-threshold Article 5 activity. Finally, he speaks to us about leading in a crisis, highlighting how good leaders are comfortable making decisions with incomplete information and being comfortable with taking risks.  An energetic and reverting interview with a man who has had a front row seat to history. 
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    Episode 16 - WO1 Gavin Paton & SMA Michael Grinston


    In this special joint podcast, we are honoured to be joined by the two senior soldiers of the US and UK Armies, SMA Michael Grinston and WO1 Gavin Paton. With nearly 60 years of service between them, they share insights from their times as junior leaders and the challenges they now face in their current roles. They speak openly and passionately about the issues they face in tackling mental health stigma and the need for people to maintain mental, physical, and social fitness. Both Army Sergeant Majors highlight the importance of professional and personal education in their young leaders and how engendering a challenge culture at every level ensures young leaders "feel empowered to make the complex decisions that deliver victory on the battlefield". In addition, they both speak with absolute candour about the love they have for their people, Mr Patton describing how "we must love and lead our people through our problems, but to love our people we've got to know our people". Finally, and, as one would expect, they highlight the requirement for all leaders to set the example for their followers and how "people must use their rank as an opportunity to do more for their people".  An extraordinary insight from the senior soldiers of the US and UK Armies. 
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    Episode 15 - Leena Nair


    This week we are honoured to be joined by a global trailblazer of the human resources world, Leena Nair. As the first female, first Asian, and youngest ever Chief Human Resource Officer at Unilever, Leena supports the 150,000-strong Unilever workforce across 190 countries. In this insightful episode, she talks passionately about her leadership journey within the company, discussing her time as a young trainee on the factory floor in India, and highlighting the challenges she has faced in breaking glass ceilings throughout her career. Talking with great honesty and sincerity, Leena conveys the importance of finding your purpose in life and pursuing it even if those around you doubt you. She unpacks the Unilever leadership philosophy, sharing with us the importance of working on your own “inner game” and the need to use “failure as a stepping-stone to success”. Leena also gives us an intimate insight into her modern leadership approach, emphasising the importance of personal resilience, creating psychological safety within your team, and the need for “team think” in tackling contemporary complex problems. Finally, Leena gives an optimistic view of the new generation of leaders, highlighting their drive and desire to make the world a better place. A privileged insight from one of the world leaders in human resources. 
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    Episode 14 - Lt Gen Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE


    As the UK prepares to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) later this year, Lieutenant General Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE joins the podcast to discuss leadership, sustainability and climate change. As the 'Climate Change and Sustainability Lead' for the MOD, General Nugee unpacks the MODs aspirations to reduce emissions and his role in leading this change. He discusses his climate change strategy and the three fundamental ambitions he has for the MOD: to act and be recognised as global leaders in climate change, to reduce emissions and to adapt to a climate change world. General Nugee acknowledges the scale of the challenge in reducing emissions but passionately dispels the myth that you can either have a green military or a capable one. Finally, he discusses the central role leaders have in driving behaviour change in the battle against climate change.  A brilliant perspective on leading the fight against climate change.  
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    Episode 13 - Imam Asim Hafiz OBE


    As Muslim communities around the world celebrate the end of Ramadan with Eid-al-Fitr, we are honoured to be joined by Imam Asim Hafiz OBE, Islamic Religious Advisor to Chief of the Defence Staff and Service Chiefs. Imam Asim became an Islamic Scholar in 1999, a process which lasted ten years during which time he also memorised the entire Qur’an. He has held positions in a range of religious and secular organisations and was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to Defence. In the podcast, Imam Asim addresses the misconceptions from certain corners of society that service life is incompatible with the Muslim faith and draws symmetries between Islamic values and the RMAS motto ‘Serve to Lead’. He speaks passionately about the need for leaders to have spiritual and emotional competence and how one must know themselves before they can successfully lead others. Imam Asim also speaks openly about the importance of military leaders having cultural competence and how they must show openness, transparency, and candour.  Finally, Imam Asim discusses the prevalence of judgement within our culture and how a lack of trust will cause a breakdown of societal systems.    

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