The outgoing head of the Armed Forces, General Sir Nick Houghton, talks about the Chilcot report in an interview in The Daily Telegraph with Con Coughlin.
I do not wish to enter the political debate about Chilcot here, but was interested in the General’s comments about decision-making and his suggestion that “we mustn’t allow the retrospective clarity of the report to allow us to indulge in the thought that there are easy ways to win wars.”
And this was the bit that really caught my attention, because it made me think of its relevance to leadership:
“You could be nursed into thinking that if only you make the right decision at the right time, there is a way of navigating warfare so that you can conduct war without casualties, and that the logistics runs like Tesco.”
Leaving warfare aside, I have occasionally witnessed the decision-making of a leader being criticised after the event.
Well, hindsight is wonderful. Especially for those who feel they can look down on others and give blame. And being a leader exposes you to censure and scrutiny, and sometimes you don’t get it right. But making a mistake for the right reason isn’t a disaster. It’s simply a lesson learnt. And to have the support of those you look up to when you don’t get it right is wonderful.