Command and Control Leadership

“Command and control is I give it to you to go and do. Leadership is I give it to you so you can come on board and add your thoughts.

Rex Buckingham


What do you think when you hear ‘one plus a number equals greater than the sum of the number’?


This is just one of the many simple analogies that Rex Buckingham shares with us on The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast as we discuss command and control leadership. “Command and control leadership is, I give it to you to go and do. Leadership is, I give it to you so you can come on board and add your thoughts,” says Rex. Command and control can come from behaviour, attitude and perspective. It can come under you, up to you, on top of you, or across the peer groups but, it is us who allow it. The challenge is when you don’t know how to change it, so you let it be.


Command and control leadership is not about bad people or bad energy. It is just about habits that were applauded in the early days. Today, Rex challenges our thinking by sharing real life examples which prove that we can change anything in our life, by changing our sentences.


Before we go any further there is one important thing you need to know about Rex. At 73 years of age, Rex is an old-style leadership sort of guy and one thing he made perfectly clear during today’s conversation is – he prefers to hang out with people who argue with him. After all, it is the disagreements which test his thinking. 


Have you read: How to Overcome Ego & Win – Andrew Bartlow


Rex found himself in his first leadership role at Woolworths, at 17 years of age. School didn’t work out for Rex as the only thing he got good at year after year was living down to expectations. He then became successful at something else and that was stuttering, to the point of becoming incoherent. 


One of the skills Rex credits his father for was the capacity not to deal with can’t, no, but, try and hope. Instead, just get out there and do it. So, when he was 14 years old, Rex approached the headmaster saying, “I think it’d be good if I left school and went on to do something else” (which took him a good 10 minutes). The headmaster agreed.


He is still working in the leadership space to this day because he loves it. 


Rex has a substantial background in general management, marketing, manufacturing, finance, project management, HR personnel and strategic development at both the corporate, business owner, coaching and consulting level. He is the Principal of Colour Thinking and and an active public speaker and trainer. Rex is also the celebrated author of Develop Through Leadership Thinking (Amazon).


His current focus is on youth suicide and domestic violence as he believes in the positive impact of people leaving work feeling appreciated and included. When they leave work with a deficit mindset all they have left to take back to their personal environment is negativity. (If you have ever had to deal with bullying in the workplace then you won’t want to miss the case study Rex shares and the one sentence which empowered a nurse and changed her life.) 


Have you read: How to Communicate and be Heard – Amber Daines


You may not have heard the phrase ‘one plus a number equals greater than the sum of the number’ but you have probably heard of ‘groupthink’, ‘pre-emptive think’ and maybe even ‘intelligent disobedience’, which are all unpacked in today’s The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast. If you are determined to break the behaviour of command and control leadership then you definitely don’t want to miss the lifetime of experience and tools Rex generously shares in this episode which, in his words, are “complex in its simplicity”.


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