Introduction

The Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) course is being scrapped in favour of a more challenging package that troops must complete in full before being able to promote.

From October 2020, all Regular soldiers from Lance Corporal to Warrant Officer will instead undertake the Army Leadership Development Programme.

They will get one year to finish it instead of the two years allowed for the CLM course. And, until they do, individuals will not be able to take the rank or salary of their next role.

Previously, troops who had not done part three of the package were still able to act up in a new position – meaning those who did not want to promote further had little motivation to finish it.

The new course blends the fieldcraft skills and in-unit training currently developed on CLM part one with the military education of part three.

However, its content has been made more varied and challenging, and standardised between the cap badges. It can also be completed in any location, not just a soldier’s own unit.

Training will be more aligned with officers.

As well as a culture change, the overhaul means that individuals part way through their latest CLM course need to finish part three before next October or they may struggle to secure a place.

Questions about the changes should go to regimental career management officers or Army education centres.

Background

First introduced in January 2004, the Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) programme was initially designed to develop effective non-operational CLM skills in the Army’s NCOs and WOs.

In July 2007, the Review of Soldier Career Training and Education (RoSCTE) recommended that the scope of CLM training should be widened to include practical, operationally relevant leadership training.

As a result, the timing and content of CLM training was revised with mandatory CLM training being introduced, for the first time, for those selected for the rank of Lance Corporal.

In 2015, the British Army commissioned a leadership review. After prolonged and intense campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, it seemed the right time to reflect on mistakes and failures – and learn from them.

Whichever challenge was considered by the review, the answer always came back to leadership – and a fundamental insight emerged. Recalling Henry Kissinger’s famous (if apocryphal) question – “Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?” – the Army did not have an agreed definition of what it meant to be an Army leader. Nor did it have an individual point of contact, or specific place, for its leadership thinking.

It was such a commonplace – the Army just ‘did’ leadership – that the concept had not been accorded that sort of focus. While everyone had a vested interest in leadership, there was no one individual to write the policy, nobody with ultimate responsibility for specifically developing leadership and no place in which the discussion could be had.

This insight led to two actions: the writing of the British Army’s Leadership Doctrine and the establishment of the Centre for Army Leadership (CAL). The two dovetail:

  • The doctrine codifies what the Army does; and
  • The CAL institutionalises and underpins the doctrine.

The Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), the premier British Army officer training establishment, a Major General (OF-7), became (jointly) the Director of Leadership.

In 2016, the Leadership Doctrine was published.

Consequently, the Army considered that its CLM programme needed to be updated and, from October 2020, the Army Leadership Development Programme will replace it.

References

Rock, S. (2019) How the British Army Defined Leadership. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.managers.org.uk/insights/news/2019/july/how-the-british-army-defined-leadership. [Accessed: 27 October, 2019].

Soldier. (2019) Switch from CLM to New Course will be ‘Culture Change’. Soldier: The Magazine of the British Army. October 2019, pp.20.

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