Contact Professor Bryan Watters


Bryan is Professor of Defence Leadership, 
Prior to joining Cranfield, Bryan had a successful career in the British Army. Having commanded 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment he was Director of Military Studies (Colonel Training) at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, a member of the Directing Staff at the Joint Services Command and Staff College (Advanced Command and Staff Course), Founding Director of the Ministry of Defence Strategic Leadership Programme and Vice President of the Army Officer Selection Board. In direct leadership roles, culminating in a one star (Brigadier’s) appointment on General Petraeus’s staff in Iraq, Bryan has commanded on active service in a number of theatres, including: N. Ireland, Rhodesia, Belize, Bosnia, Iraq and Kosovo. His leadership has been formally recognised on 3 occasions in the UK’s Operational Honours and Awards List (OBE, QCVS, CinC's Commendation)  and in 2005 he was awarded the Legion of Merit (Officer) by The United States.

Current activities

In addition to supervising Masters and Doctoral students his scholarly interests include: 

  • Cross cultural leadership
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Contemporary innovations in leadership development
  • Toxic leadership
  • Leadership as a relationship and the constructs that underpin that relationship
  • Leadership research methodologies and the use of Personal Construct Theory. 
His current consultancy includes writing the second edition of leadership in Defence for the Defence Leadership Centre. 

He is the Head of the Centre for Defence Leadership and Management,  Director of the Cranfield Defence Leadership MSc and Academic Director of the MOD Senior Strategic Leadership Programme. He has guest lectured at Oxford, Warwick and Plymouth (Duchy College) Universities.  In the last three years he has run Strategic Leadership Programmes in S. America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. 


Bryan has undertaken educational projects and consultancies for the UK MOD and a range of companies and oversees governments.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Watters BSC (2010)

    Command leadership ethos and culture

  • Watters BSC (2009) Identity and loyalty.
  • Watters BSC (2007) Constructs of Loyalty Within an Iraqi Police Leadership Paradigm.
  • Soffe RJ, Stone M & Watters BSC (2005) Generational Leadership in the UK Military and Public Sectors
  • Watters BSC (2004) Mission Command - Mission Leadership (Creating the Climate for Maximising Performance) - A Corporate Philosophy.
  • Watters BSC (2004) National Models of Military Leadership: Towards a Common Methodology. In: NATO Advanced Research Workshop, Vilnius, 22 September 2004.
  • Watters B S C (2003) Leadership in defence - a contemporary view taking aspiration to exemplar with a reality check. In: 2nd International Studying Leadership Conference, Lancaster University, Lancaster, 1 January 2003.