The Leading Man
The CEO Magazine - ANZ|June 2021
Having served with the UK special forces in Afghanistan and conquered Everest, Ant Middleton is someone who likes a challenge. But rather than being born a leader, he believes he has learned to be one.
Rob Pegley

Upon first appearance, Ant Middleton wouldn’t seem to be someone whom corporate executives could learn from. After all, he once said, “No special forces operative wants to sit behind a desk. We joined up to kick some doors down.”

The muscled, tattooed, former military man screams expletives at his charges as he forces them to their limits on SAS: Who Dares Wins. In an office environment, that sort of behaviour would have you up in front of HR in an instant.

And yet if you’re a fan of the TV series, you’ll know that whatever their treatment in training, the participants are deeply and sincerely grateful to Middleton at the end of their journey, whether or not they’re successful. All of them embrace the man and are thankful for the lessons they’ve learned and the way they’ve grown. And many of them are already successful in the fields of sport or business.

Middleton takes them to places they’ve never been before, because he’s been there already. “Never, ever command respect, always earn it,” he explains. “A great leader should never ask anyone to do anything that they haven’t done or they haven’t experienced.”

Having seen his career dramatically transition from the British Army to co-starring alongside Rebel Wilson in the TV series Straight Talking, Middleton has experienced a lot. This is a man who has served time for assault in his past, and became a tearaway teenager after his father died of a heart attack at just 36 years old.

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