Leadership is a great honour
For me personally it was a great honour to serve in the British Army. But watching the sum of the British Army’s work in Afghanistan unravel over the past month has been difficult.
It’s made me really consider what I value professionally and the fragile relationship between professional success and failure.
I was kindly asked by The Independent to write about how it felt as a Veteran to watch Afghanistan lose the relative peace that had been secured there. On top of this, I was in the unfortunate position of having my former interpreter and his family trapped in the country, struggling to leave and scared of Taliban repercussions.
The Army doesn’t have all the answers for creating excellent leaders. In fact, the style of leadership is very specific for the environment. But once you learn to utilise one set of skills, then adapt them, with softer skills from working in a range of environments or the charitable sector for example, then you are able to better deliver decisive leadership that involves compassion for those who need help and support.
Loyalty is a two-way street, but in business it’s not always possible to show that. Financial pressures can mean it is sometimes hard to exercise unwavering loyalty to team members during a crisis. But there are other ways to demonstrate loyalty to team members who have sacrificed and worked hard for a leader. Loyalty is not only a job and employment security issue. Loyalty is created by emotional and physical safety too. I was forced into considering whether or not I create emotional and physical safety for my team…
August’s Afghan crisis made me consider my ongoing contribution to the world as a leader, as well as an individual. I am fortunate that the charity I founded in 2015 continues to grow, and I am now excited by the fact that it delivers meaningful change in the lives of a small but concentrated group of people. But this past month, in between the despair in Afghanistan, has empowered me to want to use Amodigo as a force for good.
Good leaders shape the world. They affect what they can day to day and enable their teams to have wider positive impact. This is the leadership culture that we are sharing at Amodigo.
My interpreter “J” and his family are now safely in the UK. This is a huge relief and positive outcome for a largely tragic story.