Tue. Jun 21st, 2022


Who’s In Charge?

It’s probably an appropriate time to talk a little about leadership. Lets establish why command and control leadership is here to stay. Most emergency service and defence organisations have a number of things in common but the most significant is probably a rank/authority structure. There is so much we could talk about here trying to justify why leaders should take command and provide control. I hear many of you saying “business command and control“ is something from the past and we don’t subscribe to such a draconian form of management. I’m not suggesting you treat your best asset, your employees, poorly I’m just asking you to consider the importance of every person in an organisation understanding who is the boss.


Extreme Ownership:

There is one theory (Extreme Ownership) that all leaders should probably be aware of and that is the need to take responsibility for their own actions, and never place the blame on others. If a project is not working there is a desire for many leaders to attribute the failings to a department or group of individuals.

This theory suggests that the responsibility for the failings fall on one person – ultimately that is the manager. This theory is called ‘Extreme Ownership’ and can be researched by placing the words into the Google Search engine.

There’s no one else to blame except the leader. If appropriate leadership was provided then the problem shouldn’t have occurred. Some of the questions that leaders of organisations may like to ask when thing didn’t go so well. Was the objective clearly communicated to all involved?

Were the strategies and tasking detailed enough and again clearly communicated to those required to take action? Did your supervisor or business partner truly understand what your objective was?

Why command and control leadership is here to stay

Its the leader’s responsibility to ensure that everyone up and down the chain is clear about every part of the business objectives and strategies.

One of the hardest things to do is to take the blame for something. Its human nature to find another who is to blame. If managers take full responsibility for the problems ultimately success and respect will follow.

Without effective leaders, whether male or female, overall control of an organisation is unlikely to be effective without structures, which is essential when the business starts to grow. I’m not talking about lining up employees each morning and screaming at them while they do some marching (lol).

Structure Leads to Clear Objectives:

To give some perspective these structures can be moulded around your own personality, but whatever you do there is a need to be put in place from day one. The emergency services and defence force are just an example of how they have used effective structures to serve the Australian people for nearly two centuries.

As I’ve spoken about in other posts it’s important to not only have objectives but to have extensive detail providing a pathway to achieving objectives i.e. strategies.

When a business is just starting out the owner may have to spend late nights and long days putting a detailed pathway together. The more quality data available the more likely the pathway will lead to success. Nearly every business owner who finds their way onto TV or similar says that their success was through hard work. “They can’t all be lying”.

It does take a lot of work to be successful and if you can’t find motivation deep in your heart then probably go and work for an employer who will take all the risk for you. Millions of people are happy to do this – success is probably a sense of personal well being and less how much profit you earn.

Take Command & Control of Your business:

So many times I’ve stayed up late only to find the effort I put in didn’t lead to the success I wanted. The command is about leading people through this process. In the fire services, we have leaders at every level providing command and control to ensure that the established details (procedures) for dealing with situations are implemented.

Imagine sending out 20 recruit firefighters to deal with a major bushfire. It may get put out but the potential for loss of life and property would be far greater than if they had access to experienced and effective leaders. To me, a loss of life is a catastrophic failure, even though it’s not possible to save every life and believe me. Sometimes I wish my eyes could forget what they have seen.

Relating it to workers in a factory whose job it is to produce a great product. There are employees who have engineered and designed products and yet another has put together a marketing plan. The workers that put the product together have to be commanded by leaders to make sure that quality and productivity is as efficient as possible.

Its ok for the emergency services – they are given money by the taxpayer to provide a service. It’s not that easy for other businesses who have to produce and sell products to stay afloat in the big bad business world.

Businesses need to account for so much and there are so many other things to consider. Success depends on a structure of command using an effective span of control. Leading those employees to produce a product or provide a service to the best of their ability.

Bringing it together:

A good leader/business person is a facilitator who has the vision and drives. Bringing all plans together into a pathway to sell a service or product.

In conclusion, some are lucky because they find something very unique which makes it a bit easier but still pretty hard to achieve good results. Business Command & control is a process of facilitation and how it’s all done. One thing is for sure in terms of why command and control leadership is here to stay – don’t ever assume anything and the road to success isn’t an easy one.

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