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#S2E5: The selfless side of military leadership with Paul Kinkaid

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Most people’s concept of leadership in the armed forces is primarily led by popular culture, TV and film, but the truth of leadership principles in the military couldn’t be more radically different. Paul Kinkaid’s brave service taught him many qualities that form the basis for his leadership coaching company, Selfless Leadership.

We hear from Paul about the effect of emphasising a unifying purpose for your team, identifying what motivates your staff beyond monetary gain, and how picking the best person to head up a team isn’t always the best person at the job itself.

This episode of 10th Degree covers:

  • Army leadership in popular media vs real life

  • How people manage things, but leaders manage people

  • Identifying the best leader for the job, and how that’s not always the most talented person

  • Conveying a unifying purpose

  • Paul’s concept of forensic leadership - everything leaves a trace

  • Finding the right motivation for your team beyond purely financial


Paul Kinkaid: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulkinkaid

Anthony Story: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-story-4032a63/

Key highlights:

“We don’t shout in the military to get things done. If I’m the leader that’s always shouty, my team won’t come to me with wellbeing issues - they’ll go to someone else, and that takes away a good portion of my leadership capability.” - 6:30 - Paul Kinkaid

“People manage things, leaders manage people. The saying is a bit tired and cliche but I think it’s quite accurate, and we need to understand what gets the best of people.” - 9:30 - Paul Kinkaid

“Just because you’re the best accountant, doesn’t mean you’ll be the best chief accountant - you might not have any leadership qualities.” - 15:15 - Paul Kinkaid

“Every mission statement in the army has 3 constituent parts - Title, task and unifying purpose. The unifying purpose in the military is always defined with the prefix ‘in order to’, so you know your specific role in the bigger story.” - 21:20 - Paul Kinkaid

“If you work better in the night hours when the bats are flitting about in the back garden then so be it, as long as the job gets done.” - 30:40 - Paul Kinkaid

“The underpinning theory of forensic science is condensed down to the fact that every contact leaves a trace. You can lift that concept and drop it into leadership, except leaders can choose the trace that they leave.” - 35:00 - Paul Kinkaid

“There’s lots of different ways of harnessing and defining reward that aren’t necessarily that immediate financial element.” - 46:00 - Paul Kinkaid

“If something feels wrong and looks wrong it probably is, so stop and take stock.” - 49:45 - Paul Kinkaid