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The First Three Things you need to do when you get Promoted to Leadership

Stop, Forget and Deflect

Leon Purton
Sparks Publication
Published in
9 min readOct 20, 2019

The Military is a funny thing. A very unique working environment for many reasons. One of which, is that all positions are filled from within.

There is no external recruitment (although this may change in some areas soon). Even more unique to this process is there are next to no job interviews. Every single vacated leadership and management position is allocated by the equivalent of Human Resources. Firstly, people are promoted. Then a position identified for them. Then they and their new organisation are notified of their new position.

Doesn’t that sound weird?

Imagine you are promoted to Chief Technical Officer first, then a decision as to which company you would work second. That’s how the Military does it. Someone will be promoted to a certain rank, then a job will be identified for them. Now, don’t get me wrong, you and the company have a bit of a say — but in the end, it is ‘what is best for the Military’ that ultimately decides.

This changes as you get higher up the pyramid and there are less and less positions, but on that first promotion to a position in charge of a team, you have little say.

Because of this, there are a series of ‘promotion courses’ that every member must attend. These courses focus on aspects of military management, studies in recent and historic military campaigns, theory on leadership models, study and writing on force projection amongst other things.

All of these things are important to extend and deepen knowledge, create valuable peer networks and understand requirements for managing personnel. But, I believe it fails in one key area.

It does not adequately address the gap between being the best, to growing a team that is the best.

In my mentoring discussions with some peers and colleagues, many people are struggling with the transition from being the best contributor to a first level manager. This is both at the enlisted and the officer ranks.

They initially rely on all the things that got them noticed and earned that promotion. Being good at getting stuff done. But rather than double-down on trying…



Leon Purton
Sparks Publication

Inspired by life. Leadership, Growth, Personal Development. Engineer and Sports Enthusiast. Top Writer in Leadership