All the King’s Horses

Ensuring Congruency of Message and Behaviors Across Your Team

Your reputation is the convergence of your words, actions, character, competence, and the perception of others. As you progress up the leadership chain, your team will grow and the perception of you will no longer be a direct result of your interactions and behaviors alone. Your team will play an increased role in how people perceive you. The larger your organization, the more you have to delegate authority. With that delegation, you empower your team to represent you and your organization.

King John III Sobieski after the Battle of Vienne

Seeking Wisdom

Glory, Lies, Humility, and Hustle

You can seek wisdom or withstand the hardships required to gain it through experience. Learning from others, through study and observation, is certainly a less painful means of benefiting from life’s lessons. Inc. Magazine article, “5 Lessons Most People Learn Way Too Late in Life,” provided a worthwhile list, but why stop there?

The Triumph of Aemilius Paulus reminding us that all glory is fleeting and we are but mortal.

It’s Not About You

Lessons from Poor Leadership

Ego prevents us from living that John Maxwell quote. But, what about learning from leaders with an enlarged ego? Is our leader development hopeless without good leadership? Case studies focusing on ‘what right looks like’ hold a monopoly on leader development and create a void. This vacuum is most felt by young leaders lacking role models for “what right looks like”. We are tricked into thinking we only learn from good leadership. Learning from, and working for, good leaders is enjoyable, energizing, and sustaining. But, those who are not as blessed with great leadership early in their career are not flapping in the wind. They too have an example from which they can learn.

An Enlisted Perspective

Expectations of a Company Commander from the Ranks

Perception matters and the perspective of the Soldiers you lead provides insight. How are you being perceived? How do you know what they need from a Company Commander? Who is experienced enough to lend legitimacy to the enlisted perspective? Enter, the Noncommissioned Officer. Every young lieutenant can remember the Noncommissioned Officers who significantly impacted his or her career. When I arrived to my first unit,  one week before deployment, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. The leadership and perspective of my NCOs informed my leadership. One NCO in particular gave me even more than I could have expected.

The 8th Army Command Sergeant Major addresses Soldiers at Yongson Garrison, Republic of Korea.

4 Tips for Transitioning Organizations

Originally Published on From the Green Notebook

The United States Military provides an outstanding leadership laboratory to grow yourself and your team. Perhaps the most impressive means of continuing personal and organizational growth is a personnel system that requires leaders to promote out of position and transition organizations. Controlled change breeds innovation and progress. But, change can also bring discomfort and anxiety. Fear not – there are steps you can take to transition well and establish yourself in a new organization.

A Change of Command is just one of many transitions in the United States Army.

Leadership Starts with…Love?

Lead to Serve, Serve to Lead

A military leader’s first encounter with leadership is rarely through the military lens. Our early leadership experiences with parents, teachers, coaches, church leaders, etc., are often the most influential. These relationships help develop the men and women of character who will later lead our nation’s Armed Forces. Perhaps the family bonds of service in combat inspired Sun Tzu’s emphasis on parental love in leading an Army. No one thinks it is crazy to consider love an integral part of leading a child, spouse, student, or athlete – but when we discuss military leadership it is rarely part of the conversation. Rather than ignore the leadership examples set by those who positively influenced us as children, let’s embrace the example set by these monumental personalities who shaped us along the way.

The Fourth Phase of Ranger School

The Social Aspect of Leadership

It’s not the Desert Phase at Dugway Proving Ground; at least, it’s not anymore. The “Fourth Phase” of Ranger School is an abstract construct that transcends geographic location. It is continuous. For some, it starts when they first arrive. For others, it started well before, while attending Pre-Ranger. It is going on during RAP Week, as you shiver your way out of Victory Pond or break ice into Malvesti. The phase is well underway as you traverse the Darby Queen Obstacle Course. It is providing the most significant impacts on your overall success as you side-slope your way “one more hill, one more “click” through the mountains of Dahlonega, GA. Success in the Fourth Phase will see you through The Weaver in the swamps of Florida. If you make it to Graduation Day, it will have determined whether you are standing there alone in success or standing beside your peers in a team triumph. What is this Fourth Phase?

McChrystal and a Grain of Salt

Originally Published on The Military of Leader

Stanley McChrystal (retired General and Managing Partner at McChrystal Group) posted a LinkedIn article, How I Keep Up with an Unrelenting Work Pace. The article, published on February 1, 2016, received excessive praise from many. It also received criticism from those who note the inherent risks of applying strategic level leadership experiences without thought or reflection. Here are some things you should pay attention to when reading McChrystal’s article.

General Stan McChrystal wastes no time – laptop open and working aboard a military aircraft.


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