Updated January 16th, 2024 at 15:39 IST

Combination of daring & self-confidence: CDS on Role of Leadership and Trust in Armed Forces

General Chouhan highlighted leadership essence, underlined trust, agility, and 'follow-me' principles in military strategy at NDA's 75th anniversary.

Digital Desk
Chief of Defence Staff, General Anil Chouhan.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Anil Chouhan. | Image:ANI

New Delhi: In a recent address at the celebration of the National Defence Academy's 75th anniversary, Chief of Defence Staff, General Anil Chouhan emphasised the crucial role of leadership in the armed forces. He highlighted three significant tangible elements – technology, tactics, and organisational structures – as key determinants of the outcome in any combat scenario.

Military Leadership Essence

General Chouhan pointed out that military leadership plays a pivotal role, not only during combat but also in the preparations leading up to it. He underscored the common intangible thread of military leadership as a battle-winning factor, irrespective of the nature of the combat. According to him, leadership requirements vary based on the specific characteristics of the engagement.

 "Leadership in the armed forces is generally exercised in combat or war, or as a run-up to it. The outcome of any combat, in fact, the smallest form of engagement to the largest campaign or battle, I believe is dependent on three big tangible elements. These are technology, tactics and organisational structures. However, there's a common intangible thread of military leadership that runs across the entire spectrum of combat as a battle-winning factor. The leadership requirements are different as per the nature of combat," the Chief of Defence Staff said.

Follow-Me: Direct Military Leadership

 At the direct military leadership level, he mentioned the importance of "follow-me" leadership, where officers believe they are born to lead. This type of leadership combines daring and self-confidence. As the engagement progresses to the level of battle, such as at the unit or brigade level, a mix of direct and indirect leadership becomes essential. The leader is present at critical battles while trusting his subordinates in other areas.


"It's a combination of daring and self-confidence which is important. At the level of battle where probably occupational art is exercised, say at the unit or brigade level is a mix of direct or indirect leadership. The leader will be present at the most critical battle, rest of the places, he places his trust on his subordinates”, Chauhan added.

Building Trust: A Foundation of Military Leadership

General Chouhan also  underlined the need for leaders to be agile thinkers. Acknowledging the complexity of military leadership, he stated that carefully planned strategies often deviate once the first bullet is fired. Therefore, leaders must possess the ability to navigate complex situations with creativity and resilience. He emphasised that subordinates should have faith in their leaders, and military academies play a crucial role in instilling similar ideas and ideals.

"Subordinates must have faith in their leaders. Military leadership is complex. The most carefully laid out plans go airy after the first bullet is fired. Leaders must therefore must be agile thinkers, capable of navigating complex situations with creativity and resilience. Military academies and their training generate similar ideas and ideals," the CDS said.

In a straightforward message to the cadets, General Chouhan likened their role to that of the Light Brigade, emphasising the importance of fighting without questioning. He stressed the necessity of being prepared to enter battle with determination and without doubt.







Published January 16th, 2024 at 15:39 IST

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