Victoria Cross Winner Ben Roberts-Smith Just Gave Australia's Venture Capitalists A Few Tips On Leadership

Ben Roberts-Smith. Paul Kane/Getty Images

In war, your decisions can mean the difference between life and death.

Ben Roberts-Smith, the Australian Victoria Cross winner, has seen many situations where the wrong decisions would have ended in disaster.

He says leadership is about making the right decisions because they are right and not because they are easy.

“What we are judged on is visual action,” he told the annual AVCAL (Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association) conference in Melbourne. “You must lead by example.”

The personal values he strives for are: integrity, empathy, humility, courage and the endless pursuit of excellence.

“These are the attributes I strive for every day,” he says.

Roberts-Smith warns about emotion in decision making.

“Sometime in business, or in life for that matter, you feel you are losing control of the situation,” he says.

“The project or deal is falling over.

“These are moments when you must remain focused on the goal. You must be able to remain emotionally detached from the situation so you remain objective and make decisive decisions.

“Negative or positive emotion must be removed from the decision making process. It will only cloud your judgement.

“Decisions must be based on facts and your own personal experience.”

The 35-year-old Roberts-Smith is currently studying for an MBA and then plans to seek a senior executive position in corporate Australia.

The former SAS soldier won the Victoria Cross, the highest bravery award, for his actions in 2010 during an assault in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

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