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Compare defence force ranks to public sector roles

It can be difficult to translate Australian Defence Force (ADF) ranks, experiences and capabilities into the roles and titles we use in the Queensland public sector (the sector).

Use the Workforce Capability Success Profile (the success profile) to understand how defence force ranks align with sector roles and titles. Our leadership competency framework describes leadership and management behaviours across 4 roles:

  1. Individual contributor (manages self)
  2. Team leader (manages individuals)
  3. Program manager (manages multiple teams/projects)
  4. Executive (manages program managers)

Find out how ADF ranks align to these 4 roles, including transferrable experiences and capabilities, vision, results and accountability.

1. Individual contributor

Individual contributors have the broadest capability range, and can vary from entry-level ranks, such as Seaman, Private or Aircraftman, through to technical specialists of any rank. 

Transferable experiences and capabilities

  • Has undertaken specialised training and development
  • Teamwork and relationship skills
  • Takes instruction and produces results
  • Accountable for decisions and outcomes.

Vision

  • Understands how their work aligns to organisational objectives
  • Acts proactively
  • Responds flexibly to change
  • Focuses on customers
  • Seeks continuous improvement

Results

  • Focuses on performance
  • Supports others’ capability development
  • Manages internal and external relationships
  • Gives constructive feedback

Accountability

  • Models professional and ethical behaviour
  • Commits to personal development
  • Displays rigour in analysis
  • Applies specialist knowledge and skills

2. Team leader (small teams)

Responsible for small teams, often in direct service delivery, and guides others to ensure specific outputs are delivered. These roles often require high levels of technical skills to monitor and support team members to deliver services effectively.

Ranks

  • Navy:
    • Leading Seaman, Able Seaman 
  • Army:
    • Corporal, Lance Corporal, Bombardier, Lance Bombardier 
  • Air Force:
    • Corporal, Leading Aircraftman, Leading Aircraftwoman

Transferable experiences and capabilities

  • Supervises a small team and is responsible for monitoring team performance and outcomes
  • Has undertaken specialised training, trade development or qualifications
  • Develops relationships to engage with the team as individuals and as a group
  • Communicates objectives and provides consistent feedback
  • Inspires team commitment and motivation

Vision

  • Understands how their team’s work aligns to organisational objectives
  • Manages ambiguity
  • Implements change
  • Understands customers’ perspectives
  • Drives continuous improvement

 Results

  • Manages team performance
  • Manages internal and external relationships
  • Builds team capability
  • Inspires individual and team commitment in pursuing results 

Accountability

  • Models professional and ethical behaviour
  • Displays rigour in advice
  • Applies business management skills
  • Commits to personal development

3. Team leader (medium teams)

Responsible for medium-sized teams, often in direct service delivery, and guides others to ensure specific outputs are delivered. These roles often require high levels of technical skills to monitor and support team members to deliver services effectively.

Ranks

  • Navy:
    • Petty Officer 
  • Army:
    • Sergeant 
  • Air Force:
    • Sergeant

Transferable experiences and capabilities

  • Leadership responsibilities for up to 40 soldiers
  • Coaches team members, with a special focus on development and support.
  • Operational management responsibilities, including administrative, training and performance management
  • Strong capabilities in instruction and training, logistics and technical disciplines

Vision

  • Understands how their teams’ work aligns to organisational objectives
  • Manages ambiguity
  • Implements change
  • Understands customers’ perspectives
  • Drives continuous improvement

Results

  • Manages team performance
  • Manages internal and external relationships
  • Builds team capability
  • Inspires individual and team commitment in the pursuit of results

Accountability

  • Models professional and ethical behaviour
  • Displays rigour in advice
  • Applies business management skills
  • Commits to personal development

4. Team leader (large teams)

Responsible for leading large teams, often in direct service delivery, and guiding others to ensure specific outputs are delivered. These roles often require high levels of technical skills to monitor and support team members to deliver services effectively.

Ranks

  • Navy:
    • Warrant Officer
    • Chief Petty Officer
    • Lieutenant
    • Sub Lieutenant
  • Army:
    • Warrant Officer Class 1
    • Warrant Officer Class 2
    • Captain, Lieutenant
  • Air Force:
    • Warrant Officer 1
    • Flight Sergeant
    • Flight Lieutenant
    • Flying Officer

Transferable experiences and capabilities

  • Senior team leader role with leadership responsibilities for between 200 and 650 officers and soldiers
  • Develops and communicates strategy and objectives to very large audiences
  • Operational and general management duties
  • Exceptional skills in instruction and training, logistics, and technical and trade disciplines

Vision

  • Understands how their teams work aligns to organisational objectives
  • Manages ambiguity
  • Implements change
  • Understands customers’ perspectives
  • Drives continuous improvement

Results

  • Manages team performance
  • Manages internal and external relationships
  • Builds team capability
  • Inspires individual and team commitment in pursuing results

Accountability

  • Models professional and ethical behaviour
  • Displays rigour in advice
  • Applies business management skills
  • Commits to personal development

5. Program manager (multiple projects/teams)

Program managers are responsible and accountable for the outcomes of multiple projects or teams or both, and guide team leaders to deliver business strategies. They are expected to deliver outcomes by working across boundaries.

Ranks

  • Navy:
    • Commander
    • Lieutenant Commander
  • Army:
    • Lieutenant Colonel
    • Major
  • Air Force:
    • Wing Commander
    • Squadron Leader

Transferable experiences and capabilities

  • Provides high level management to support the running of a unit of up to 650 soldiers
  • Translates organisational strategy into operational requirements
  • Makes policy decisions and accepts responsibility for operations, performance of staff, achievement of targets, and adherence to budgets, standards and procedures
  • Represents the organisation in dealings with other organisations and the public
  • Prepares budgets and management plans
  • Prepares reports, authorises the release of information, and handles public relations activities

Vision

  • Demonstrates broad perspective
  • Navigates ambiguity and politics
  • Leads change
  • Delivers by working across boundaries
  • Champions innovative ideas and solutions

Results

  • Manages group performance
  • Manages internal and external relationships
  • Builds group capability
  • Inspires individual and team commitment in pursuing results

Accountability 

  • Models professional and ethical behaviour
  • Displays courage when providing advice
  • Applies business acumen
  • Commits to personal development

6. Program manager (divisions/branches)

Responsible for divisions or branches of a government agency dealing with strategy, policy, service delivery or a range of other initiatives. These roles are expected to liaise with other agencies and sectors to ensure government service delivery is relevant, effective, provides value for money for the community and meets the needs of people.

Ranks

  • Navy:
    • Commodore
    • Captain 
  • Army:
    • Brigadier
    • Colonel
  • Air Force:
    • Air Commodore
    • Group Captain

Transferable experiences and capabilities

  • Plans policy and sets standards, strategy and objective for the organisation
  • Sets operational direction, leadership and management
  • Consults with immediate subordinates and departmental heads on matters such as methods of operation, equipment requirements, finance, sales and HR.

Vision

  • Demonstrates broad perspective
  • Navigates ambiguity and politics
  • Leads change
  • Delivers by working across boundaries
  • Champions innovative ideas and solutions

Results

  • Manages group performance
  • Manages internal and external relationships
  • Builds group capability
  • Inspires individual and team commitment in pursuing results

Accountability 

  • Models professional and ethical behaviour
  • Displays courage when providing advice
  • Applies business acumen
  • Commits to personal development

7. Executive

Executives are responsible for divisions or branches of a government agency dealing with strategy, policy, service delivery or a range of other initiatives. They are expected to liaise with other agencies and sectors to ensure government service delivery is relevant, effective, provides value for money for the community and meets the needs of people.

Ranks

  • Navy:
    • Admiral
    • Vice Admiral
    • Rear Admiral
  • Army:
    • General
    • Lieutenant General
    • Major General
  • Air Force:
    • Air Chief Marshall
    • Air Marshall
    • Air Vice Marshall

Transferable experiences and capabilities

  • Highest ranks in the defence force
  • Requires high-level accountability and judgement in decision-making processes
  • Responsible for authorising major policy implementation programs.

Vision

  • Leads strategically with vision
  • Navigates complex, ambiguous and political environments
  • Leads change with agility
  • Operates across boundaries
  • Engages with ideas, innovation and risk

Results

  • Manages organisational performance
  • Manages internal and external relationships
  • Builds organisational capability
  • Inspires individual and team commitment in pursuing results

Accountability 

  • Models professional and ethical behaviour
  • Displays courage when providing advice and making decisions
  • Applies sound corporate governance
  • Commits to personal development