There is a moment in the critically acclaimed film 'The Darkest Hour' when the Calais garrison has been annihilated and the order 'every man for himself' is issued. It falls upon Brigadier Nicholson, the head of command to tell his men most of whom are mortally wounded and distressed, that basically this is the end.

Is there any other job in the world where you will be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice for your boss?

I am fortunate enough to be a trustee of a military charity. As one of the few civilian trustees I am always struck by three things:

1. The respect and loyalty the team have for one another.

2. The ability to follow instructions accurately, on time and without wavering.

3. The ability to make swift decisions and execute them.

The MOD has been criticised recently for the lack of emotional skills in the services. Apparently this is affecting their recruitment campaign. 'To be the best' was not cutting it for today's generation.

I was recently training a long serving officer in interview skills. I asked him if he could describe a time when he had to use his leadership skills.

'All the time' he said. 'Can you give me an example' I asked. 'Well, I was in Afghanistan' he said 'and ..you know..' 'Actually, I don't, tell me?' 

His voice went quiet, he looked down and said 'We were on operations and I went out with my men...when we came back two of them had had their legs blown off. The rest had various shrapnel wounds. They were all pretty shaken at what had happened. That evening I went to my men with some cigarettes and beer and we talked...about everything really, family, girlfriends, parents hopes and dreams...you know that sort of thing.' His eyes were wet when he looked at me. No lack of emotional intelligence there. He really cared deeply about his team of men.

Real leadership comes when the team does stuff because they are doing it for each other and because their team leader is making them feel really good about themselves. They know what they are trying to achieve and want to be the best. 

I am lucky enough to have a fantastic team. They love the challenge of getting it right and will work their proverbial's off to get it.  If there is a 'man or woman' down, boy do they step in!  

Every man for himself really is the last resort and when that happens you can be sure the end is nigh!