Leadership Secrets of the Australian Army

Peter Leahy, Lieutenant General (Retd), former Chief of the Army

At a time when we are deluged with theories of leadership and management from universities and airport bookshops, it is refreshing to find a practical and common-sense guide on how to make decisions, be a genuine and authentic leader and position your organisation for success.

The methods are not complicated or difficult to apply.  They make sense and are well explained in this easily digestible and astute book.  It is enormously practical and explains how and when the Australian Army's unique style of leadership came about and why it has been so successful.

If you are in the Army you can read this book and be proud.  

If you work in industry, commerce, education and the professional services you should read this book and decide how you are going to apply these “secrets” to your life and workplace.

Peter Graham, former CEO of Pacific Power, senior executive with Fairfax and the University of NSW, and current mentor and executive coach.

This is an excellent contribution to the emerging conversation about leadership in turbulent times. I will be buying multiple hard covers to use in my mentoring work (and to give to our children). I particularly appreciate how you have faithfully written up the examples we discussed.

Congratulations on an excellent book which honours the wonderful men and women who serve our country on the front line, and to the leadership practices of the leaders who support their efforts.

Sid Forsey, Clinical & Organisational Psychologist (Ret’d), Organisational Development consultant and foundation member and former Victoria Branch Chair and National President of the Australian Human Relations Institute.

The secret that Nick Jans reveals is that the Australian Army has righted the values pyramid. From the Chief of Army down, officers at all levels exemplify the values of authenticity and respect for followers. This cascades down in greater and smaller ways right to the lowest echelons. Far from being driven by “carrot and stick”, soldiers grow to trust their leaders and strive to show that their immediate leaders can trust them; they become more open and proud of themselves and their group, with self-doubt replaced by self-confidence.

This book offers a unifying and empowering future for all of us. It can be used as a broad-based training manual for any situation involving leader/follower roles – a manual that the Australian army has already put into practice. That indeed is a heartening thought.

Neville Taylor, Royal United Services Institute,Victoria.

Written in non-technical language, with a glossary, well-documented notes and index, this could well be considered a 'must read' for personal development courses and individuals seeking to improve their leadership and managerial skills.


Brian Willis, business man and former Army Officer

It would have been good to have had this book available when I was a young officer and later.


Sam Duncan, news producer at The Australian

This review appeared in the lift-out magazine Deal of The Australian, Friday 21 September edition as an accompanying article to an 8-page special on the Sydney Invictus Games in October. See The Australian book review.