Special Operations Forces (SOF) have shifted their leadership style from top-down to a more collaborative approach. This change was driven by the increasing complexity and unpredictability of their missions. Traditional hierarchical command structures were found to be inadequate in such unpredictable environments. Instead, SOF now prioritises decentralised decision-making, allowing teams on the ground to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

The new leadership model is based on three key principles. Firstly, ‘leading by influence’, which involves leaders acting as enablers rather than controllers, encouraging team members to think for themselves. Secondly, ‘developing trust-based relationships’, where leaders build trust through transparency, consistency, and shared experiences. Lastly, ‘focusing on human development’, which includes recruiting the right people, providing them with the necessary resources, and allowing them to learn from their mistakes.

This shift in leadership style has resulted in SOF teams becoming more agile, innovative, and effective. It’s a model that could potentially be applied to other organisations facing similar challenges in a rapidly changing world.

Go to source article: https://hbr.org/2015/05/why-special-ops-stopped-relying-so-much-on-top-down-leadership