Compassion, trust and courage are the three key ingredients needed to provide robust and successful leadership.
The application of this winning combination provided Stewart with the tools he needed to lead and manage both civilian and military individuals; teams and organisations in training, business and through to the confusion and fear of combat in Afghanistan. The lessons he learned stemmed from leading people; this is not military authority but leadership applicable to any civilian/corporate world.
On the 4th July 2009, Stewart was suddenly catapulted from a manager to being managed. Fragments of shrapnel from a bomb tore through his skull leaving him clinging on to life. As Stewart embarked upon his first few steps through rehabilitation the markedly different effects of a 'brain injury' hit home. He suffered changes to his entire cognitive behaviour and personality. He has had to manage life with brain impairments including impaired memory, loss of executive functioning skills and deep frustrations brought on by an inability to carry out everyday tasks as he used to, while retaining his intellect and aspirations to excel. Throughout this phase of his life Stewart clung on to his three keystones of leadership; not this time with others, but as he learned to manage himself. These struggles intensified the importance of successful leadership.
Stewart's experiences and sharpened views of leadership are perfectly placed to help people manage both operations and people. The lessons we can learn from his knowledge are relevant to civilian life for they are lessons learned from Stewart's ability to see those he led as individuals and not simply a body of people. This is neither a Colonel Blimp lecture nor Stewart just telling us about his experiences within his environment. These are real lessons essential to all who aspire to lead successfully.