Archive for command leadership

Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

Posted in Leadership, Toxic Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

“The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.”

Major General John M. Schofield
Address to the Corps of Cadets, U.S. Military Academy
August 11, 1879

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Major General John M. Schofield’s quote is required knowledge, and to be memorized and recited verbatim, among Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students, Officer Candidate School (OCS) candidates, Cadets at West Point and at the United States Air Force Academy, and other military leadership institutions.  I thought I would bring to you some background about General Schofield, and a little history about his quote on discipline.  Ultimately, the purpose of this post is to use the quote as a backdrop to the topic of toxic leadership that we’ve been discussing here at Command Performance Leadership.

First, I will provide a biography of Major General John M. Schofield.  For those of you who only know of his quote will be fascinated at his military experience and success.  Then, I will put into context General Schofield’s definition of discipline.

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John M. Schofield, US Army

John McAllister Schofield (September 29, 1831 – March 4, 1906) graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1853, ranking seventh in his class of 52 graduates, and was commissioned a brevet[i] second lieutenant in the artillery.  Schofield served for two years in the artillery, was assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at West Point from 1855 to 1860, and while on leave (1860–1861) was professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.[ii]

When the Civil War broke out, Schofield became a major in the 1st Missouri Infantry, and served as chief-of-staff under Major General Nathaniel Lyon.  During the Battle of Wilson’s Creek (Missouri), Schofield acted with “conspicuous gallantry” during the battle, and received the Medal of Honor for that action in 1892.[iii-a][iv-a][v]

On November 21, 1861, Schofield was promoted to Brigadier General, and placed in charge of all the Union militia in Missouri.  He was again promoted to Major General on November 29, 1862, though the Senate did not confirm the appointment until May 12, 1863.  From 1861 to 1863, he held various commands in the Trans-Mississippi Theater, most of the time in command of the Army of the Frontier.[iii-b][iv-b]

On April 17, 1863, he took command of the 3rd Division in the XIV Corps of the Army of the Cumberland in Tennessee, but returned to Missouri in May of 1863 to command the Department of the Missouri.  In January of 1864, Schofield led the Army of the Ohio during the Atlanta Campaign under Major General William T. Sherman.[iii-c][iv-c]

After the fall of Atlanta, took the majority of his forces on his infamous “March to the Sea” through Georgia.  Schofield’s Army of the Ohio was detached to join Major General George H. Thomas to stop the invasion of Tennessee led by Confederate General John B. Hood.  On November 30, 1864, Hood managed to attack Schofield’s Army of the Ohio in the Battle of Franklin.  Schofield successfully repulsed Hood, effectively crippled Hood’s army, and joined his forces with Thomas.  Two weeks later, on December 15 and 16, during the Battle of Nashville, General Thomas used Schofield and his XXIII Corps to effectively destroy what was left of Hood’s army.  For his service at Franklin, Schofield received a promotion to Brigadier General in the regular army on November 30, 1864.[iii-d][iv-d]

Schofield was ordered to operate under Sherman in North Carolina, and moved his corps by rail and sea to Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  He captured Wilmington on February 22, 1865, and fought at the Battle of Kinston on March 10, before meeting up with Sherman on March 23 in Goldsboro.  Working together with Sherman, Schofield led the Department of North Carolina until the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station.  For his service, he was brevetted to Major General in the regular army.[iii-e][iv-e]

After the war, Schofield went on to become the Secretary of War under President Andrew Johnson; June 1868 to March 1869.  In 1873, he was tasked by Secretary of War William Belknap to investigate the strategic potential of a United States presence in the Hawaiian Islands.  Schofield’s report recommended that the United States establish a naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.[iii-f][iv-f]

From 1876 to 1881, Schofield was superintendent of the United States Military Academy.  From 1888 until his retirement in 1895, Schofield was commanding general of the United States Army. He had become a major general on March 4, 1869, and on February 5, 1895, he was commissioned a lieutenant general. Schofield retired on September 29, 1895, upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 64.[iii-g]

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Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

The foundations of leadership are taught in every military institution, from ROTC students, to OCS candidates and those who attend each of the service academies.  The demonstration of moral and ethical attributes are essential for effective leadership as a commission officer in the United States military.  Leaders of character are defined as one who “seeks to discover the truth, decides what is right, and demonstrates the courage to act accordingly – always.”  Officers in the military are to epitomize humility, self-effacement, and selfless service.  So, at the basic and academic level, before the bars are pinned onto a newly commissioned officer, candidates are taught the importance of equality, dignity and respect.[vi]  Therefore, General Schofield’s quote encapsulates the philosophy to develop relationships that promote mutual respect and trust.  So, there is good reason for an officer candidate to learn Schofield’s Definition of Discipline to the letter.

Schofield’s quote comes from a much longer address on the venerable vice of hazing, and the treatment of new cadets by their seniors in the Corps, that existed at West Point while he was Superintendent there between 1876 to 1881.  Schofield said, “The practice of hazing is both injurious and humiliating to its victims and degrading to those who engage in it.  Your constant associates after you leave the Academy must be the members of higher and lower classes.  The memory of ill-treatment will remain with its victim as long as he lives.  You can never be a ‘brother officer’ to him whom you once degraded.  The stern discipline of a commanding officer will soon be forgotten when it can be remembered that he always treated his subordinates with justice and due respect.  But wanton injustice and contumely can never be forgotten, except by a spirit too mean to feel its sting…The very foundation of civil society is mutual respect for individual rights.  And nowhere is such mutual respect more strictly enjoined and rigidly enforced than in military organizations.  Without it, tyranny on the one hand and disaffection and mutiny on the other must destroy the efficiency of an army…A veteran soldier sees but little difference between the different grades, from his own down to that of a junior cadet, and treats them all with nearly equal respect.  It would be well for young soldiers to profit by such examples.  The road to military honor will be guarded all the way by the hearts of those who may be your subordinates.  You cannot travel that road unless you can command those hearts.”[vii]

The Army defines respect as treating people as they should be treated.  It is the “Golden Rule” principle — do unto others as you would have them do to you.  Attitudes about the worth of people, concepts, and personal belief systems are expressions of their values.  Respect means recognizing and appreciating the inherent dignity and worth of all people.  This concept goes well beyond issues of discrimination and harassment; respect includes the broader issue of civility, the way people treat each other.  Respect involves being sensitive to diversity and the impact of one’s own behaviors on others — behaviors that others may perceive as being insensitive, offensive, or abusive.  Ultimately, the Army fosters a commitment to ethical excellence essential to leaders of character for our military and our Nation.[viii]

Too often in the Army, leaders want unqualified loyalty.  Schofield knew that such loyalty had to be earned. He knew that harsh treatment– the kind too frequently mistaken for authoritative expertise– comes at the expense of performance.  He knew that hard-earned respect– the kind that comes from compassion, empathy, and a commander’s genuine interest in his subordinates– makes men reliable in battle.[ix]  General [Schofield] was trying to tell us that we’d succeed in gaining the discipline necessary for any future overwhelming fight, if we treated our people with respect and in a manner and tone of voice appropriate for American warfighters.[x]

The foundation of discipline is not accountability or punishment, but respect.  A leader must establish trust and credibility, communicate effectively, employ empathy, intimately know their people’s capabilities, and move their people into positions to be most successful.  Nobody should be the ‘bad guy’ when leading people.  No leader should be a bad guy intentionally, or go out of their way to be one.  If a leader is working to perfect his ‘bad guy’ image, he is dishonoring his responsibility as a leader, and is creating a hostile environment for his followers.  If a leader has successfully become a ‘bad guy,’ shame on them.  Their subordinates deserve better than that; and, so does the service they represent and the Command (organization) they are responsible for.[xi]  Ultimately, a good leader will lead through respect instead of leading through fear.  When you treat people right, word gets around.

The poisoning results of harsh and tyrannical treatment can be detrimental to people, teams and organizations.  A leader’s job, along with guiding individuals and groups towards victory and success, is to be a mentor.  All eyes are on the leader; everyone looks up to them.  However, the wrong tone of voice or form of ridicule, no matter how isolated or common, can have a negative impact on individuals and teams.  The results of such toxic leadership can have destabilizing effects on command and control, as well as destroy esprit de corps.

Good leaders seek to develop and nurture relationships that lead to growth and fulfillment.  They:

  • Understand their needs and goals for relationships
  • Are able to take the perspective of another in relationships
  • Are able to transcend or step-out of their own self-interests to serve the good of the relationship
  • Work to establish cooperative relationships so all benefit
  • Seek relationships where they are respected and valued
  • Respect and value others in relationships
  • Seek healthy relationships that provide autonomy and support for growth
  • Meet their responsibilities in relationships
  • Treat others in relationships fairly and honestly
  • Effectively communicate with others in relationships
  • Build relationships based on trust
  • Understand the impact of military service on relationships[xii]

General Schofield’s quote is not very long, but it certainly says a lot.  For the Army, and any organization for that matter, to work properly there must be a bond between the leader and those being led; a bond that rests not on authority alone – but on professionalism, good will, and above all MUTUAL RESPECT.  As I said earlier in this post, there is good reason for an officer candidate to learn Schofield’s Definition of Discipline to the letter.  The knowledge and execution of its very meaning will serve officers well when they are in a position to lead people in the military and in life.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Related Articles -

Schofield’s Definition of Discipline – West Point Association of Graduates – Gray Matter (westpointaog.org)

Bugle Notes: Learn This! (west-point.org)

Why You Should Treat Your People Like it’s 1879 (thoughtleadersllc.com)

Leadership and the Golden Rule (courageouslearning.wordpress.com)

Leadership as Influence (weareallleadersnow.wordpress.com)

Toxic Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Authoritarian Leadership vs. Democratic Leadership ~ The Officer Corps Explained (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

(Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Respect for Others: A Bedrock of Leadership (digital-library.usma.edu)

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Footnotes -

[i] The Articles of War adopted by the United States Army in 1776 and slightly revised in 1806 established the use and significance of brevet ranks or awards in the U.S. Army. When first used, a brevet commission in the U.S. Army entitled the officer to be identified by a higher rank but the award had limited effect on the right to higher command or pay. A brevet rank had no effect within the officer’s current unit, but when assigned duty at the brevet rank by the U.S. President such an officer would command with the brevet rank and be paid at the higher rank. This higher command and pay would last only for the duration of that assignment. The brevet promotion would not affect the officer’s seniority and actual permanent rank in the army (“Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue” by Roger D. Hunt and Jack R. Brown. Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, 1997. “Introduction”, p.v.).  Beginning on April 16, 1818, brevet commissions also required confirmation by the United States Senate, just as all other varieties of officer commissions did (“Civil War High Commands” by John H. Eicher and David J. Eicher. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. p. 34.).  Brevet promotions were quite common because the army had many frontier forts to garrison and other missions to perform but could not always appoint appropriately ranked officers to command these forts or missions. The U.S. Congress permitted only a limited number of each rank of officer. Thus, an officer of lower rank might receive a brevet commission to a rank more appropriate for his assignment. Also, newly commissioned officers often received brevet rank until authorized positions became available. For example an officer might graduate from West Point and be appointed a brevet second lieutenant until a permanent posting opened up (“Brevet [military]” – Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brevet_(military)– Accessed 19 February 2012)

[ii] “Civil War High Commands” by John H. Eicher and David J. Eicher. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. p. 472-73.

[iii-a,b,c,d,e,f,g] “John Schofield” – Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Schofield – Accessed 19 February 2012

[iv-a,b,c,d,e,f] “John M. Schofield” – Civil War Trust (Saving America’s Civil War Battlefields) – http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/biographies/john-schofield.html – Accessed 21 February 2012

[v] “Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas” by Benson Bobrick. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2009. p. 288, states “Much later, as secretary of war (1868-1869), he would award himself the Congressional Medal of Honor (actual award was in 1892) for Undocumented valor at Wilson’s Creek.”

[vi] “The Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS) – Moral Ethical Domain”- United States Military Academy Office of Policy, Planning, and Assessment – http://www.usma.edu/opa/clds/moral_ethical_domain.html – Accessed 22 February 2012 – United States Military Academy – http://www.usma.edu/

[vii] “Schofield’s Definition of Discipline” – West Point Association of Graduates – Gray Matter – Posted 4 November 2010 – http://www.westpointaog.org/page.aspx?pid=4329 – Accessed 19 February 2012 – http://www.westpointaog.org/

[viii] “Cadet Leader Development System” – USMA Circular: 1-101 (page 49) – 3 June 2002 – United States Military Academy – West Point, New York – http://www.dami.army.pentagon.mil/pub/dami-fl/Cr1-101.pdf – Accessed 21 February 2012 – Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2 (Army Intelligence) – http://www.dami.army.pentagon.mil/

[ix] “The Discipline Which Makes Men Reliable” – By Rich Stowell – Posted 29 March 2011 – http://my-public-affairs.blogspot.com/2011/03/discipline-which-makes-men-reliable.html – Accessed 21 February 2012 – My Public Affairs (A Teacher’s Education in the Army) – http://my-public-affairs.blogspot.com/

[x] “Year of Leadership: American-Made Discipline” – Commentary by Lt. Col. Mark Allen, 341st Operations Support Squadron – Posted 10/16/2008 ~ Updated 10/17/2008 – Malmstrom Air Force Base – News/Commentary – http://www.malmstrom.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123119911 – Accessed 21 February 2012 – Malmstrom Air Force Base – http://www.malmstrom.af.mil/

[xi] “(Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership” – By Dale R. Wilson – Posted 01/24/2012 – http://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/hard-lessons-learned-about-leadership/ – Accessed 23 February 2012 – Command Performance Leadership – http://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/

[xii] “The Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS) – Human Spirit Domain”- United States Military Academy Office of Policy, Planning, and Assessment – http://www.usma.edu/opa/clds/domain_of_the_human_spirit.html – Accessed 22 February 2012 – United States Military Academy – http://www.usma.edu/

BookLink: Army Leadership (Organization and Strategic Leadership) {Book 1, Wk. 3}

Posted in Army Leadership, BookLink with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Last week, I took a brief departure from BookLink and our weekly review of The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual.  Instead, I posted Leadership Effects (A Guest Blog Post from the Front Lines), which originated from a comment to this series about the Army’s leadership field manual.  From a weekly reader’s standpoint, it amounted to a virtual field trip to the front lines of military leadership.  If you haven’t taken the time to read that post, please set aside some time to do so.

Our previous assignment had been to read Chapter 10 thru Appendix A (pages 107 thru 155).  But, we are only going to summarize Chapters 10 thru 12, leaving Appendix A (pages 145 thru 155) for next week.  If you are new to the BookLink series, and you want to catch up on our reading of The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual, you can find links to the recent posts below.  Also, below, I have included links to the field manual found elsewhere on the internet for you to view and download.

BookLink ~ The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual – Posted 01/23/2012

BookLink: Army Leadership (BE ~ KNOW ~ DO) {Book 1, Wk. 1} – Posted 01/30/2012

BookLink: Army Leadership (Lead ~ Develop ~ Achieve) {Book 1, Wk. 2} – Posted 02/06/2012

http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/repository/materials/FM6_22.pdf

http://www.scribd.com/doc/6255277/FM-622-Leadership-US-Army

This coming week, our assignment is to finish reading the field manual; Appendix A thru the end of the book (pages 145 thru 216).  Then, on February 27, I will have a post for discussion on what we have read.

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Army Leadership FM 6-22 (FM 22-100) (Paperback) ~ US Army Cover Art

There are many influences and challenges that affect leadership.  Some of these are predictable, based on experiences.  Some are unpredictable, surfacing because of the situation.  As General Dennis J. Reimer, Chief of Staff of the Army (1995-1999) once said, “The role of leadership is to turn challenges into opportunities.”  Obviously, many of the challenges a soldier in the Army may face are a result of evolving threats, and their ability to adapt to those ever-changing challenges.

Stress –

In all walks of life, both military and civilian, stress is a human dimension we all have to deal with.  Leaders play a significant role in managing the stress levels of their subordinates.  The mental discipline and resilience to overcome the contributing factors of stress, and implementing countermeasures to confront it, becomes the responsibility of both the leader and follower.  Here are just a few of the ways to handle stress, as discussed in FM 6-22:

-          Admit that fear exists

-          Ensure communication lines are open between leaders and subordinates

-          Do not assume unnecessary risks

-          Provide good, caring leadership

-          Recognize the limits of a soldier’s endurance

Although the emphasis of FM 6-22 is on Army leadership, and applies to soldiers, there are obvious parallels to managing stress among people in the civilian community.  Stress is a result of varying levels of fear.  Dealing with fear and anxiety is vital to remaining focused and strong; easier said than done, I know.  But, good leadership will recognize the signs of stress among their people and teams, and will employ the necessary measures to manage those stress levels.  As General George S. Patton, Jr. said, “All men are frightened.  The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened.  The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on.”  (War As I Knew It, 1947).

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As a leader grows in knowledge and experience, they are preparing themselves for greater responsibilities, and will become organizational and strategic leaders.  These leaders lead by example, have a wide range of knowledge, and apply their competencies to build teams of teams with discipline, cohesion, trust and proficiency.  They focus their organizations down to the lowest level on the mission ahead by disseminating a clear intent, sound operational concepts, and a systematic approach to execution.  In some cases, these leaders may lead complex organizations, where they would have to apply elements of direct, organizational, and strategic leadership at the same time.  These leaders must be agile.

Now that they’re in charge of a larger organization, these leaders’ influences are more often indirect than direct down the chain of command.  They rely more heavily on developing subordinates and empowering them to execute their assigned responsibilities and missions.  They visualize the larger impact on the organization and mission when making decisions; they look at the big picture.  Lower level personnel and leaders look to their organizational leaders to set achievable standards, to provide clear intent, and to provide necessary resources.

A fitting quote to encompass the leader’s ability to drive the organization and lead by example is a quote by General Gordon R. Sullivan, author of Hope is Not a Method:

“If you are the leader, your people expect you to create their future.  They look into your eyes, and they expect to see strength and vision.  To be successful, you must inspire and motivate those who are following you.  When they look into your eyes, they must see that you are with them.”

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Organizational leaders play a critical part when it comes to maintaining focus.  They are at the forefront of adapting to changes and exploiting emerging opportunities by applying a combination of intuition, analytical problem solving, systems integration, and leadership by example.

Organizational leaders ensure clear and understandable communication.  They share as much information as possible with their subordinates, and allow for a two-way exchange of information to ensure a clear understanding of intent, priorities, and thought processes.  Within the organization, there should be a coordination of communication through multiple channels, creating a more complete picture.  With reliable information, staffs at different levels can productively assist in turning policies, concepts, plans, and programs into achievable results.

Middle level organizational levels also interact with the next-higher staff to gain a better understanding of the superior’s priorities and impending shifts.  This helps set the conditions for their own requirements and changes.  Constantly sensing, observing, talking, questioning, and actively listening helps to better identify and solve potential problems, or to avoid them.

Organizational leaders take a long-term approach to developing the entire organization.  They create a positive environment, they prepare themselves for the future, they develop others by building team skills and processes, they encourage initiative and acceptance of responsibility, and they choose talented staff leaders (middle managers).  Ultimately, they empower their organization to be prepared to take initiative and to make decisions, while holding them accountable for their actions.  They tell their people what needs to be accomplished and why, and leave the details to them.  Known as Pushing Smarts Down, soldiers today have better intellect and education and don’t need to be told how to do certain tasks, or be guided by step-by-step processes.  It is truly the elimination of micromanagement and the establishment of empowerment.

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Strategic leaders are high-level thinkers who sustain an organization’s culture and envision the future of the organization, and then convey that vision to the entire organization.  Strategic leaders apply knowledge, experience, techniques, and skills beyond those required by direct or organizational leaders.  They must think in multiple time periods and apply more adaptability and agility to managing change.  They operate in intricate networks of overlapping and sometimes competing constituencies.  They participate in and shape endeavors extending beyond their span of responsibility.  Strategic leaders must concentrate on the future.  They spend much of their time looking toward long-term goals and positioning for long-term success even as they often contend with mid-term and immediate issues and crises.

The constantly changing World challenges strategic leaders’ decision-making abilities.  Despite the challenges, strategic leaders personally tell the organization’s story, make long-range decisions, and shape the organization’s culture.  Like direct and organizational leaders, strategic leaders lead by example and exert indirect leadership by communicating, inspiring, and motivating.  Providing a clear vision is vital to the strategic leader, and they share this vision with a broad audience, gaining widespread support, and use it as a compass to guide the organization.  Strategic leaders identify trends and opportunities, and threats that could affect the organization’s future and move vigorously to mobilize the talent that will help create strategic vision.

Strategic leaders are skilled at reaching consensus and building coalitions.  They apply these skills to tasks, and routinely bring designated people together for missions.  Using peer leadership rather than strict positional authority, strategic leaders carefully monitor progress toward a visualized end state.  They focus on the health of the relationships necessary to achieve it.  Interpersonal contact sets the tone for professional relations: strategic leaders must be tactful.

And, strategic leaders lead and inspire institutional change.  They accept change in proactive, not in reactive fashion.  They anticipate change even as they shield their organizations from unimportant and bothersome influences.  Ultimately, good strategic leaders can effectively shape change to improve the institution while continuing to deal with routine operations and requirements.  They know that institutional change requires influence grounded in commitment rather than forced compliance.  Commitment must be reinforced consistently throughout the multiple levels of the organization.  While all levels of leaders lead change, strategic level leaders make the most-sweeping changes and ones that focus on the most distant horizon.  Strategic leaders guide their organizations through eight distinct steps if their initiatives for change are to make lasting progress.  The critical steps of the leading change process are:

  • Demonstrate a sense of urgency by showing both the benefits and necessity for change.
  • Form guiding coalitions to work the process of change from concept through implementation.
  • With the guiding coalitions and groups, develop a vision of the future and strategy for making it a reality.
  • Clearly communicate the future vision throughout the institution or organization; change is most effective when all members embrace it.
  • Empower subordinates at all levels to pursue widespread, parallel efforts.
  • Plan for short-term successes to validate key programs and keep the vision credible.
  • Consolidate the successful programs to produce further change.
  • Ensure that the change is culturally preserved.

The result is an institution that constantly prepares for and shapes the future environment.  The strategic leaders’ fundamental goal is to leave the organization better than they found it.  They create a positive environment to position the institution for the future.

When providing direction, giving guidance, and setting priorities, strategic leaders must judge realistically what the future may hold.  They incorporate new ideas, new technologies, and new capabilities.  From a mixture of ideas, facts, conjecture, and personal experience, they create an image of what their organizations need to be and where it must go to get desired results.

The strategic leader’s vision provides the ultimate sense of purpose, direction, and motivation for everyone in the organization.  It is the starting point for developing specific goals and plans, a yardstick for measuring organizational accomplishment, and a check on organizational values.  A shared vision throughout the organization is important for attaining commitment to change.  A strategic leader’s vision for the organization may have a time horizon of years, or even decades.

Leadership Effects (A Guest Blog Post from the Front Lines)

Posted in Army Leadership, BookLink, Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

A Comment in Response to BookLink ~ The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual

The Command Performance Leadership blog has enjoyed some early success in its less than three months of existence, with weekly readership growing and the number of followers gradually increasing. Of those who have frequently visited my blog, I have been quite fortunate to attract many members of militaries from around the World, at different levels of leadership; non-commissioned officers (NCO’s) and commissioned officers. Having a military readership and followership is important to me, as I want military members to provide their input, through blog post comments, to gain from their knowledge and experience, and to add value to this blog. Who better to provide insight on military leadership fundamentals and wisdom than those who are leading in our military. As you’ve seen, a few comments from military members have influenced the discussions here, and have inspired new content and articles. I hope that continues.

A few weeks ago, I introduced BookLink, a feature that provides this blog’s readers the opportunity to have direct and complete access to military-oriented leadership books, pamphlets, field manuals, and other resources of information. The first book I am featuring is the U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual, which we began reading on January 16. For the four weeks that follow, sections of the book are being read and discussed in weekly blog posts.

Last Thursday, I received a comment about this Army field manual from David Hickman, a U.S. Army NCO. In his comment post, he shared a comprehensive story about leadership in the Army, in his opinion. I replied to David, and started a dialogue with him about his comment. He informed me that his comment was actually an article he was attempting to get in front of a few military magazines to take interest in. Unfortunately, no military periodical has taken interest in his article. David explained that the article was written in response to his Company Commander asking him and his fellow NCO’s to define leadership and what it meant to them. He thought that leadership deserved more discussion than just a ‘definition,’ and that leadership is nothing unless we act upon it. David informs me that this article is the framework for a book he is interested in writing.

I told David that his article deserves to be read, and I offered the article to be posted here at Command Performance Leadership as a guest post. He accepted my offer. I have made slight modifications to the original article to correct any grammar, spelling and punctuation, but have not altered its content or changed any words. I have also added some approprate and related pictures.

I want to thank David for his cooperation in sharing this article, and the journalistic support he has provided to me. I am pleased to introduce you to Staff Sergeant David A. Hickman and his book excerpt, “Leadership Effects.

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Author’s Biography -US Army E-6 Staff Sergeant (SSG)

Staff Sergeant (SSG) David A. Hickman is currently assigned as an instructor with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment (IBOLC), 199th Infantry Brigade, Fort Benning Georgia. From the start of his tenure in the Army to present, SSG Hickman has served with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), 25th Infantry Division, the 172nd SBCT Fort Wainwright, the US Army Recruiting Command, the 25 Infantry Division (L) Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and with the 7th Light Infantry Division (Cohort), Fort Ord, California prior to a break in military service. He deployed with the 1st SBCT, 25th Infantry Division to Baqubah, Iraq from 2008 to 2009, with the 172nd SBCT to Mosul, Iraq from 2005 to 2006 and Baghdad 2006, and the 25th Infantry Division (L) with the Multi-National Forces and Observers (MFO) to Sinai, Egypt in 2000. He has served as an Instructor, Platoon Sergeant, Weapons Squad Leader, and Team Leader.

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Preface to the Article -

I had some reservations about publishing this paper that I wrote last year for concern that others would think ill of me or that it was an attempt to curry favor. At some point in life you will be confronted with a choice: simply speak your mind regardless of what others may think of you [, or to say nothing at all]. A few military magazines looked it over. It’s my take on leadership from those who were with me state side and Iraq.

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LEADERSHIP EFFECTS ~ January 2011

Singular perspective in the mind of any leader will lead him to fail. If uncorrected, it will pass to the others around him and the organization will follow. 

Leadership has been defined in a number of ways, but the end result should always be to the benefit of one another, our Soldiers, our military, and our country. Leadership as defined by the Army, uses phrases such as “influencing others” and “providing purpose, direction and motivation.”[i]

This is still true, but the focus of a leader should be on the effects of his or her leadership. Further, if leaders do not grasp the “human aspect” of leading, how can the organization improve? A number of us may overlook the cause and effect of leadership or the lack thereof. Poor leadership or leadership “in part” will not result in just failure alone when the cost paid for the lack of leadership may be another human life.

Leaders at every level should agree that there are two elements that make up any mission-oriented organization, those who follow during mission execution and the select few who lead them. Both are required to achieve any task that places the organization in a tactical advantage over another or to restore security. Failure by either will leave the unit with an incomplete task and lack of sufficient support to accomplish it to the fullest benefit of the organization.

ArmyStrongFrom our perspective, the odds will not be in favor of those left to deal with the failure of any leader or subordinate. Most of the failures of subordinates can be traced to their leaders. However, after a leader has implemented every measure of instruction and attention that can be given, a subordinate may still make the wrong choice. He or she is, in fact, just as human as their leaders, and that Soldiers’ free will may not always sway to do what is right. Regardless of the origin of the fault, we as leaders accept responsibility for what our subordinates do right and wrong. This approach to leading helps leaders to focus even further on their subordinates. The Army is the one institution in which the leader accepts the fault for what their subordinates fail to do. There is no blame. With regard to ethical decisions, there may be an unseen flaw within the subordinate’s moral judgment and character. As leaders, we spend time guiding subordinates both during training and after hours with regard to their personal actions and choices. We remind them that poor choices can lead to adverse actions which will be detrimental to their privileges and rank. How often do we convey to our subordinates the “effects” that their actions can have on others in the organization? How can we as leaders become more efficient in identifying the start of potential issues if the leader is not involved in the personal lives of their subordinates?

Rank has never been a requirement to lead. Rank never compels a Soldier to push himself beyond the limitations of his mind. Determined young Specialists can take charge and lead if they have been under sound leaders during the first part of their tenure in the military. Many of us have seen this. Rank is needed, but it is nothing more than a visual hierarchy that displays a level of authority that an individual leader has been entrusted with, not entitled to, for his or her position of duty. It is visible within the organization at every level. Our character must be balanced with regard to the rank that we hold and the rank that we advance to. At one end of the extreme, if we are not balanced in character, we run the risk of abusing our authority. Worse yet, at the other end, we fail to provide for our subordinates in training or human needs.

Human needs go beyond those that are required to survive in the physical body. All leaders should have learned this as they advanced up through their respective positions of authority, or so we think. Avoiding the mistake of promoting individuals with poor character or weak leadership ability is perhaps the one fact that causes leaders to have reservations about a Soldier being promoted to the rank of Sergeant based on time in service alone. Serious consideration needs to be taken when selecting subordinates for promotions. If we receive a leader who was promoted in this manner, all we can do is take what is there and make it better. In so doing, there are two points that leaders need to keep in mind when assessing incoming leaders who will either be our subordinates leaders, peers and Senior Leaders. First, the leader has no insight as to the methods of their training and mentorship. Poor leaders create more poor leaders, and bad habits carry from one to another. Every leader has faults and may fall short in some aspect of his duties, but it’s the leaders who choose to address these issues who become leaders of genuine character and look beyond “self” seeking to improve. Second, even if a leader has been instructed in the requirements of basic human needs, it is still not evidence that this leader is in practice of executing the correct actions of leadership. 

The leader development process for subordinate leaders and Soldiers is not to be taken with a “half-hearted” approach. One Army perspective states: “During this leader development process, the responsibility for a leader’s complete development is mutually shared by the leaders of the Army Education System, Commanders, and Leaders in the field, and the leaders themselves.”[ii]

Instructors in the Army Education System are in place to develop “line leaders” to better the organization. One unavoidable fact is that instructors are only with their respective student leaders for the duration of the developmental course. Course curriculum “highlights” the “job aspect” of their responsibilities and many leaders end up getting pushed through the course, keeping to the weekly schedule so long as all attendees receive passing scores on their exams. Instructors cannot fully evaluate leaders with regard to their ability to grasp and understand the “human considerations” in leading and developing their subordinate leaders and subordinates. Leaders on the line spend a good deal of their time involved daily with their Soldiers, but if the line leaders did not have the proper mentorship during their development, they will not be “in tune” with the human side of subordinate development. Many leaders in the Infantry often face the “taboo” designation as being a “Joe Lover” when other leaders witness the care for the well-being of subordinates. I agree that there needs to be a balance, but all leaders need to be attentive to the emotional and other human needs of their Soldiers. Neglect or failure to provide opportunity to resolve issues affecting emotional needs will allow doubt to enter the minds of subordinates causing instability in their emotional well-being. Issues left undone will foster an unfocused mind during the execution of missions. A subordinate who is not focused on the mission will prove to be detrimental to himself and those around him, which can result in the loss of life. The efforts of an unfocused Soldier provide nothing more than a void in security. He or she is of no use to the organization in their present state.

Leadership has focused mostly on compelling our subordinates to execute missions that affect those within the organization at every level as well as the host nation in which the organization operates. This is still both true and necessary for achieving the mission as set forth by the intent of any Commander. With regard to our history of leadership, mission accomplishment was a top priority regardless of the effects in human costs and subordinate needs. Today we recognize that care for the human side of our Soldiers is a fundamental requirement for the operation of a successful organization. It should never be to a point where subordinates become soft or fall short in standards, but there needs to be a balance between the two. Mission accomplishment is still top priority, but we cannot ignore the human side.

On today’s front, leadership often involves directing and continually encouraging subordinates to execute tasks that would normally be against any human will if given a choice because it places them in danger. For this reason, Soldiers and Leaders need to understand that being a Soldier is not just a “job” and should never be considered just a career. In truth, it is a profession that requires a great deal of personal conviction. We chose our profession and we also chose to lead well, in part or not at all. Whatever measure of effort we put into our leadership, it will be visible through our actions and the performance of our subordinates. Leading Soldiers will always have results and consequences. Choices in leadership will always have effects. Good or bad.

How do we accomplish the task of leading subordinates in the execution of missions that could result in the loss of life? Further, how can we grasp the reality of both our will and that of our Soldiers to strive for mission success during which it’s execution we’re acutely aware that it could be our lives that are lost? We as leaders must also be prepared to both witness and deal with the loss of those that we serve with as leaders and those with whom we lead. We’ll also deal with the emotional effects of our remaining subordinates that will be brought on by the death of a peer. I want to pose two questions for thought and a genuine inward reflection for all of us as leaders. This is the only time that “self” needs to come first; when assessing one’s character as a leader. What if that loss of life was due to the failure on our part to lead effectively? Do you really think Soldiers will be unaware of our part in this failure? This is reason for absolute personal conviction within every Soldier.  Most especially those in the ranks of the Infantry and Combat Arms, but all Soldiers facing adversity and genuine risk of death fit this category.

With regard to personal conviction, if Soldiers and Leaders do not have within themselves a sense of duty and belonging to each other, their unit and Nation, they do not possess genuine personal conviction. Conviction and belief in the preservation of the well-being of our subordinates and one another are the traits of selfless service. These traits are present within the character of only a few. Most new Soldiers use the military as a “test bed” for figuring out their lives and what they want. Leaders have the responsibility to instruct their Soldiers on the importance of selfless service. Further, while it’s ok for them to figure out their lives in the Army, leaders must help them grasp the reality that the effects of their choices have much more “gravity” when the organization as a whole must deal with the outcome. All Soldiers must understand that our purpose is greater than ourselves and we must implement sound judgment in every decision that we make both on and off duty. This personal conviction motivates these Soldiers and Leaders to give of themselves. When Soldiers see their peers wounded and regrettably at times their death, it will cause them to appeal in action on behalf of those around them that have fallen. The decision to step forward and take this action is the ultimate form of selfless service. This kind of selfless service happens often within our ranks. Our appreciation to one another for such actions is evident, but seen only by those who endured with us.

In one previous unit, our Battalion Commander made it clear that there must be a complete “buy in” in the unit mission and the Commander’s intent for that unit to succeed. Perhaps this instruction came from higher. I agree if the cause is just and there is no violation of moral character or ethics during mission execution. This applies to both tasks within the organization or any act carried out among the populous of the host country. In the countries we operate, there will be those of a mindset that follow extremist beliefs that justify the deaths of their own people. This will make it difficult for Soldiers to execute a Commander’s intent without individuals of this mind-set feeling as if the Americans are violating their morals and ethics. Their beliefs are not only contrary to good civil order, but also the entitlement of every human being to dwell peacefully. Our efforts are generally an “effect” of good leadership during the execution of operations that preserve the human entitlement of peace. Peace that at times cannot exist without selfless service and sacrifice for those who are unaware what is given for them. It is a basic human need. When viewed from the perspective of humanity, freedom can no longer be restricted within the boundaries of our country.

Each and every one of us should reflect inward and ask ourselves, “Am I here just for a career or just to be a Soldier and Leader?” If the answer is “just a career” you have no purpose within the ranks of the Infantry or any branch of the Military service. If a Leader or Soldier is only interested in a career alone or the pay, their first thought will be for “self” rather than “others”. During training and actual missions, the benefit of others and the organization will not be first in their minds. If leaders think this way, what will be the outcome of their decisions? Soldiers and Leaders of this character will never be willing to give of themselves or only give enough if there is some personal gain to be attained. Such gains could be the possibility for advancement in rank or to produce a “false perception” of one’s character in an effort to look good in the presence of superiors and not living sound leadership daily.

True leadership serves a higher purpose and benefits those above and below us. Leaders focused on “self” do not see the results of the implementation of good leadership. The end-state is the efficient execution of any task. Tasks or missions executed more efficiently will result in less chance of fratricide and the unintentional killing or wounding of civilians. All of which will affect the organization at every level. Genuine leadership is often thankless and any leader not driven by a “career” must understand that the best leadership often goes unseen, even by those that they lead. Subordinates are usually unaware of the sacrifices that leaders make on their behalf. Sacrifice of time, sleep or food. The list can go on. I am comfortable with this, because the daily tasks that need to be carried out are done so efficiently. This creates an environment with less stress. The “machine” runs smoothly. An atmosphere with less stress on subordinates keeps their minds clear and focused when it comes time to execute missions that have a high level of stress and personal threat. The same holds true for tending to the needs of Soldiers with regard to spiritual and emotional needs. For this reason, it’s necessary for leaders to be involved in the lives of their subordinates. Even simply stopping by the barracks during the week-end for a brief check on their Soldiers is important. At the time the subordinate may feel as if their leader is intruding, but usually it is appreciated even if the subordinate never expresses it. Caring for the well-being of subordinates does not stop after the unit gets back from the field, refit is complete, and everyone is on their way after the safety brief. A subordinate’s problems become the problems of their leaders all the way up through the Chain of Command and NCO Support Channel. Don’t ignore it or expect that the Soldier knows how to best deal with the issue. When deployed, if a subordinate learns that they have lost their spouse either to death or even if it’s a fidelity issue, their mind will not be clear during missions. It would be wise to leave this Soldier off of a few patrols in conjunction with seeing the Chaplin and other elements within the military that are present to help service men and women deal with problems.

Leadership is never executed for the recognition of “self” by higher leaders. Leadership is any action on my part to train and move my subordinates, conveying to them that this action must be executed for a greater good that affects their lives as well as others. It is more important than ourselves, and requires our genuine attention if it is to be successful. If we fail those who follow us may fail, leaving the task undone. Every action we perform and every decision we make as leaders will have an effect on someone. This is why knowing the “definition” of leadership is not leadership. Our actions, decisions and our example are what “cause” the desired “effects” needed for a successful organization.

Our country was founded on an unwavering belief in God and self-sacrifice for the whole rather than “self”. Our history reflects that we have a great nation, so I am inclined to believe that their belief in God and selfless actions were just. Regardless of belief in faith, race or ethnicity, leadership is required to succeed. Human needs are the same for all. Self-sacrifice will be demanded of any nation that expects to prosper and preserve the freedoms of its populace or the freedom of other nations who cannot stand for themselves against an oppressor that deprives them of such basic human entitlements. Leaders should never forget that even though his or her selfless service goes unseen, there is always someone looking for our faults as leaders. It will either be someone who only has the intention to point out our faults simply to correct and develop us or it very well may be a leader who is focused on “self” and looks for fault only for the gratification of holding their authority over you. Regardless of which, if we maintain our character and hold ourselves responsible for our duties, they will find very little to point out. But, this requires genuine leadership, daily selfless actions and the ability to look inwardly at our own character. When there is fault, do not let pride prevent the correction of your actions and character. If we are not cautious, we as leaders can become more concerned about how we look with regard to our Officer Evaluation Reports (OER) and Non-Commissioned Officer Evaluation Reports (NCOER) rather than taking care of our subordinates and the greater good of the organization. If we do not conduct an occasional “self-check”, a leader can develop a “power trip” or an attitude of “self” rather than executing good leadership. Subordinate leaders and Soldiers will see through it as well. This is often seen in a few newly promoted leaders advancing to a higher level of responsibility. Leaders should always be humble enough to remind themselves that the Army is still a “human organization”.

That being said, we as leaders can make mistakes. We must never let anything prevent us from addressing our short comings. We all must understand that no matter how high in the Chain of Command or NCO Support Channel we advance to, we can still learn more, improve and develop ourselves. The truth is never tasteful when it is not in our favor. One simple example is choosing the “easy wrong” over the “hard right” or being guilty of choosing “self” over the benefit of those around us. It happens more than we may think. It is still a truth that will eventually be seen, revealing our intent. We need to correct whatever prevents the truth from being in our favor. The majority of Leaders are of genuine character, but being human it’s always good to check our own character, giving our “moral compass” a quick shake to be certain that we’re on the right path regarding our leadership and that “self” comes last. The Seven Army Values are a good corner-stone if we as Soldiers and Leaders practice the values rather than just committing them to memory. If all Soldiers and Leaders choose to serve others rather than “self”, the organization as a whole will be in good care. The choice of “self” will never need to be addressed because your peers and leaders will see to your well-being and you theirs.

SSG David Allen Hickman
C CO, 2nd BN, 11th IN RGT


[i] Army Leadership: Competent, Confident, and Agile.” Washington, DC: Headquarters, Department of the Army. 2006. Print. p. 1-2.

 [ii] “Leader Development for America’s Army – Pamphlet 350-58” – 13 October 1994 – Page 5 (and see Figure 3, page 6) – http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/p350_58.pdf – Accessed 13 February 2012 – Army Publishing Directorate (APD) – http://www.apd.army.mil/

Good to Great (A Submariner’s Profile in Empowerment)

Posted in Leadership, Naval Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

David Marquet is the founder and President of the consulting firm Practicum, Inc., and creator of the blog Leader – Leader (Leader to Leader).  For those of us who are acquainted with David on social media, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, he often posts words of inspiration and motivation that are sometimes offered as points to ponder; things to make you stop and think.  David’s messages inspire the empowerment of engaged people and leadership at all levels.  He encourages leaders to release energy, intellect, and passion in everyone around them; to develop leaders not followers.  This obviously comes natural for David, as he has been an inspirational leader, taking people and organizations from good to great, since his days in the Navy.

A proven practitioner and innovative thinker, David graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981, and led a distinguished 28 year career in the United States Navy’s Submarine Force, serving on submarines in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  He commanded the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763), stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and completely turned around the boat.  Under David’s leadership, the crew went from being “worst to first.”  The USS Santa Fe earned numerous awards, such as the Arleigh Burke Award for being the most improved ship in the Pacific, as well as the Battle “E” award for most combat effective ship in Submarine Squadron Seven, and for retention excellence.  David’s bold and highly effective leadership techniques emphasize process over personality and empowerment over ego.  Noted author Dr. Stephen Covey rode USS Santa Fe and discusses one of Captain Marquet’s leadership practices in his book, The 8th Habit.[i-a] [ii-a]________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Command of the USS Santa Fe –

In early Jan. 1999, the USS Santa Fe experienced a change in leadership that would alter the way many on the crew would exercise leadership.[iii-a]  The crew Marquet inherited was the lowest performing crew in the US submarine fleet.  But it didn’t stay that way.  What Marquet did was change the culture aboard his boat from one of permission to one of intent.  Aboard his boat, his sailors didn’t ask permission, they announced their intentions.  The captain was still in charge and could still affirm or deny the intention, but every action was owned by the person performing the action.  He built in accountability.  The crew aboard the Santa Fe wasn’t just accountable for the results; they were accountable for their actions.  They were not just accountable to some arbitrary metric, they became accountable to themselves.[iv]

Through the process of running the day-to-day functions of the submarine and being trusted to do so, the crew came to understand that principles, not personality, ensured success. When they were trusted to make personnel decisions, relied upon with confidence for information and resources to get the job done, and invited to assertively exercise their individual strengths, they changed the way sailors viewed their jobs. Principles became their guides. Officers no longer waited for the captain to give direction. Instead, they began informing the captain of their intentions.[iii-b]

USS Santa Fe returns from deployment

The crew was united and empowered, and the sailors began to take ownership of the submarine to a degree.  They always held the key to empowerment within themselves. What they did was change their thinking from being followers to being leaders. Their guiding principle of empowerment read, “We encourage those below us to take action and support them if they make mistakes. We employ stewardship delegation, explaining what we want accomplished and allow flexibility in how it is accomplished.” Explaining what was wanted and allowing the chiefs the flexibility to determine how best to accomplish it had a drastic effect on the efficiency of the crew.[iii-c]

The key to empowering people is to not make them followers in the first place. This allows the managers (the chief petty officers) to be decision makers. They are the critical component to the completion of tasks that need to be completed. The sailors on Santa Fe are trained and educated to perform their particular skill sets to an advanced level. Trusting them to be decision makers, giving them access to vital information and supporting them when they make mistakes results in principle-based leaders that continue to grow.[iii-d]

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Capt. L. David Marquet is piped ashore after being relieved by Capt. Joseph Tofalo as Commander, Submarine Squadron Three.

Capt. David Marquet is piped ashore

Captain Marquet went on to command Submarine Squadron Three, a front-line submarine squadron in Pearl Harbor.[ii-b]  Although that tour’s duration was only 13 months, David’s leadership again produced results.  Marquet relinquished command with three of his squadron’s six fast-attack submarines deployed to the Western Pacific, a fact that Pacific Submarine Force commander Rear Adm. Jeffrey Cassias hailed as a huge accomplishment.[v-a]

“That Commodore Marquet is changing command with half of his squadron deployed is just the way he would’ve wanted it,” said Cassias. “It speaks volumes about the great challenges he has tackled during his command of Submarine Squadron 3.”[v-b]

At the time of David’s change of command ceremony Sept. 23, 2005, aboard USS Olympia (SSN 717) at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station, the USS Key West (SSN 722), USS Louisville (SSN 724) and USS Columbia (SSN 771) were deployed, having completed their deployment preparations under Marquet’s command.  Additionally, Olympia completed a deployment in the Western Pacific, while USS Chicago (SSN 721) was nearing completion of its deployment preparations.  The squadron’s sixth submarine, USS Honolulu (SSN 718), was nearing completion of maintenance availability in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.[v-c]

“Getting a submarine ready to deploy is not easy,” said Cassias. “It requires significant time training and certifying the crew, putting them through an intensive series of drills and inspections, and ensuring the ship is in peak material readiness, as well.”[v-d]

“Deploying four – almost five – of six submarines in a squadron is a great accomplishment for such a short tour,” said Cassias. “It’s something that wouldn’t have happened without a visionary leader at the helm.”[v-e]

Marquet, who was awarded the Legion of Merit by Cassias, credited his commanding officers and squadron staff for his success in preparing submarines to deploy.[v-f]

“It was a little over a year ago that I joined a happy few band of brothers here at Squadron 3, and we had a mission,” said Marquet. “The mission was very simple – the mission was to improve the combat effectiveness of our submarines.”[v-g]

Captain Marquet completed his Navy career running the Navy’s internal think tank, Deep Blue,* where his insightful and provocative analysis is being used to transform the Navy.[ii-c]

With his “Turn this Ship Around!” leadership program, Captain Marquet focuses on the people side of today’s highly technological and complex organizations – providing mechanisms and practices that foster empowerment and initiative; minimize errors and rework; develop leaders at all levels; and embed continuous learning and improvement in the work environment. The result is dramatically improved and enduring operational excellence.[i-b]

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David Marquet Develops Leaders -

Modern business requires moving beyond hierarchical leader-follower structures. The fastest and most effective way to accomplish this is by getting everyone in the organization to think like leaders. Practicum’s leadership development programs and leadership consulting stress empowerment over ego and process over personality. By learning to implement these ideas you will develop leaders throughout your organization and take the first step towards long-term organizational success.

The goal of leadership should be more than organizational effectiveness. Great leadership should:

  • Achieve organizational excellence along with superior morale
  • Embed mechanisms of excellence into the fabric of the organization, thereby creating enduring excellence independent of the leader’s tenure
  • Spawn multiple additional leaders throughout the organization capable of further developing highly successful organizations.[vi]

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David Marquet Delivers the Powerful Message that Anyone Can Be a Great Leader -

Great Leadership requires accomplishing three things. First, it must create a highly effective organization with superior morale. Second, leadership practices must be embedded into the fabric of the organization, beyond the current leader, to create an enduring leadership mentality. Finally, Great Leadership creates an organizational culture that spawns generations of additional leaders throughout the organization.

Accomplishing all three pieces of Great Leadership requires rejecting the traditional notion of leaders and followers, and instead embracing the concept of leaders and leaders. This method of leadership is based on empowerment, not ego, and process, not personality.

Based on his first-hand experience leading and turning around organizations, David Marquet espouses the following three overarching principles:

  • Practical Empowerment: rejecting the notion of leaders and followers, instead having leaders and leaders
  • Technical Competence: having a zealous dedication to preparation and knowing our craft
  • Continuous Improvement: embracing learning as the primary activity of the organization[vii]

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On Friday morning (Feb. 10), I saw one of David’s inspirational posts.  It said, “Leadership is an action, not a position.”  This simple quotation inspired me at that moment, and I thought about what David was saying.  Nothing happens without action.  Too often, people who call themselves ‘leaders’ fail their followers by not leading, and not inspiring action through those followers.  This is one of my biggest pet peeves about leadership, and it bothers me that there are followers out there who are not being properly led.  It bothers me that this kind of leader does not care about the fundamental growth of their followers.  It bothers me that those followers are not finding the success they deserve because they have inept leaders who care only about their next promotion.

The leader-leader movement was started by Mr. Marquet after he saw first-hand the debilitating effects of leader-follower, the limitations of empowerment programs, and the liberating power of treating everyone as leaders.[viii]  His goal is to change the way we interact as humans in a way that nourishes the natural proactivity, initiative, and creative energy of everyone.  His call to action is to develop leaders at every level and to empower people; people throughout an organization.[ix]

My response to David’s quote was this:

“Give a leader a title, he’s only as ‘good’ as his character will allow.

Give a leader a responsibility, he’s only as ‘good’ as his people.

But, give a leader the title of coach & mentor,

and give him the responsibility to develop his people in a servant style,

and he goes from ‘good’ to GREAT.”

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Related Articles -

No Room for followers: A Guide to Creating Leaders at Every Level by David Marquet

Re-Imagining Leadership, Re-Energizing the Workplace by David Marquet

“Empowerment in action” – Santa Fe’s lessons at work in the private sector- By Andy Worshek – Practicum Newsletter, September 2010

If You Want Your People to Perform, Don’t Give Them Permission…Give Them Intent – (http://blog.startwithwhy.com/refocus/)

How We Learn from our Mistakes on Nuclear Submarines: A 7 Step Process – (http://leader-leader.com/blog)

How We Made Leader-Leader Work on Santa Fe (Written by David Adams) – (http://leader-leader.com/blog)

How Does a Manager’s Leadership Style Influence Effectiveness? Provide example (http://leader-leader.com/blog)

Are Businesses Doing Enough to Encourage Leadership within their Organisation? – (http://leader-leader.com/blog)

A SEAL Mission – (http://leader-leader.com/blog)

Marquet Relieves Toti as Commander, Submarine Squadron 3 – (http://www.navy.mil/)

Seven Key Benefits of an Empowered Workplace – (majorium.wordpress.com)

Do You Have Faith in Your People? – (majorium.wordpress.com)_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*In my research of the Navy’s think tank, Deep Blue, I found the following article in the February 2006 issue of Seapower (Vol. 49, Number 2, page 6), The official publication of the Navy League of the United States, which discussed the broader role of Deep Blue as dictated under Admiral Mike Mullen (at the time, Chief of Naval Operations, and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff):

A Broader Role For Deep Blue

Deep Blue, an internal Navy think tank founded in the wake of 9/11, is being given a far broader role within the service by Adm. Mike Mullen, chief of naval operations (CNO).

Deep Blue’s primary bailiwick was to provide the CNO with ideas about how to better support joint combat operations and advise him on his roles as the Navy’s service chief and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

But Mullen has expanded its purview to include short-notice staging of naval and joint force maritime component commanders to provide “deliberate, contingency, crisis and exercise planning.” Top officials of Deep Blue began reaching out months ago to Navy component commanders to support their planning needs and bolster tepid support within some sectors of the Navy. The office now is internally being revamped to handle its broader role under Mullen’s aegis.

Deep Blue’s new role is envisioned as similar to that of Checkmate, the lair of Air Force air and space power strategists that provides the Air Staff and warfighters with options that are logistically supportable and politically feasible. Founded in the mid-1970s, Checkmate provides research, analysis, operational planning and strategic concepts development.

Rear Adm. (Sel.) Philip H. Cullom, Deep Blue director, told Seapower that the office’s “CNO-directed realignment is consistent with its latest portfolio of current projects, which includes operational plan development, introduction of new technology to the fleet, global war on terrorism initiatives, naval operational concept development, the use of advanced analytics in data management and a number of classified efforts.”

Deep Blue’s broader mission includes projects such as real-world planning in the Pacific and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.[x]

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Footnotes -

[i-a,b] http://www.afcea.org/events/west/09/documents/MarquetDavid.pdf – The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association – West 2009 – Documents: David Marquet – Accessed 10 February 2012 – http://www.afcea.org/

[ii-a,b,c]Practicum Inc. – About Us”http://www.practicuminc.com/about-us/ – Accessed 10 February 2012 – Practicum, Inc. – http://www.practicuminc.com/

[iii-a,b,c,d] “Empowerment in Action – Santa Fe’s Lessons at Work in the Private Sector” – By Andy Worshek – Practicum Newsletter, September 2010 – http://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1410479805 – Accessed 10 February 2012 – Practicum, Inc. – http://www.practicuminc.com/

[iv] “If You Want Your People to Perform, Don’t Give Them Permission…Give them Intent” – By Simon Sinek – Posted 01/30/2009 – http://blog.startwithwhy.com/refocus/2009/01/if-you-want-your-people-to-perform-dont-give-them-permissiongive-them-intent.html – Accessed 10 February 2012 – Re:Focus (Simple Ideas to Help You Thrive) – http://blog.startwithwhy.com/

[v-a,b,c,d,e,f,g] “Marquet Hands Over Reins of Submarine Squadron 3” – By Lori Cravalho – Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs – Story Number: NNS050924-02, Posted 09/24/2005 – http://www.navy.mil/search/print.asp?story_id=20287&VIRIN=28525&imagetype=1&page=1 – Accessed 10 February 2012 – NAVY.mil (Official Website of the United States Navy) – http://www.navy.mil/

[vi] “Welcome! Practicum Develops Leaders”http://www.practicuminc.com/ – Accessed 10 February 2012 – Practicum, Inc. – http://www.practicuminc.com/

[vii] “Programs”http://www.practicuminc.com/programs/ – Accessed 10 February 2012 – Practicum, Inc. – http://www.practicuminc.com/

[viii] “Leader-Leader Blog – About”http://leader-leader.com/blog/about/ – Accessed 10 February 2012 – Leader-Leader (The Movement) – http://leader-leader.com/blog/

[ix] “David Marquet – LinkedIn Profile”http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmarquet – Accessed, via subscription to LinkedIn and authorized connection with Mr. Marquet, 10 February 2012 – LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com

[x] “A Broader Role For Deep Blue”SEAPOWER Magazine (The Official Publication of the Navy League of the United States), February 2006 (Vol. 49, Number 2, page 6) – http://www.navyleague.org/sea_power/feb06-06.php – Accessed 10 February 2012 – Navy League of the United States – http://www.navyleague.org/

Photo Credits -

Capt. L. David Marquet is piped ashore after being relieved by Capt. Joseph Tofalo as Commander, Submarine Squadron Three - photo by Lori Cravalho, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs – http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=28525 – Accessed 10 February 2012 – http://www.navy.mil/
David Marquet and USS Santa Fe Returning From Deployment – Practicum, Inc. – Accessed 10 February 2012 – http://www.practicuminc.com/
USS Santa Fe Logo – USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) – http://www.csp.navy.mil/subssquadrons/santafe/santafe_homepage.shtml – Accessed 10 February 2012 – Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet – http://www.csp.navy.mil/

BookLink: Army Leadership (Lead ~ Develop ~ Achieve) {Book 1, Wk. 2}

Posted in Army Leadership, BookLink with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

BookLink continues with review and summary of the second week of reading the The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual.  Our assignment this past week was to read chapters 6 thru 9 (pages 54 thru 106).  Below, you can find links to the recent Command Performance posts discussing The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual, which have an embedded version of the field manual.  Also, below, I have included links to the field manual found elsewhere on the internet for you to view and download.

BookLink ~ The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual – Posted 01/23/2012

BookLink: Army Leadership (BE ~ KNOW ~ DO) {Book 1, Wk. 1} – Posted 01/30/2012

http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/repository/materials/FM6_22.pdf

http://www.scribd.com/doc/6255277/FM-622-Leadership-US-Army

This coming week, our assignment is to read chapters 10 thru Appendix A (pages 107 thru 155).  Then, on February 13, I will have a post for discussion on what we have read.

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Army Leadership FM 6-22 (FM 22-100) (Paperback) ~ US Army Cover ArtFrom this week’s reading, the book goes a little further into leading people, leaders developing themselves, subordinates and organizations, and achieving mission accomplishment.

Leader intellect is what you know and think. How you act or what you do in a situation depends on your mind. What you’ve learned ahead of time and what you are thinking will drive your actions.  A leader must utilize their mental agility, judgment, innovation, interpersonal tact, and their tactical and technical knowledge.

Leaders serve to provide purpose, direction and motivation.  Leaders go about this by: 

  • Setting a clear direction 
  • Enforcing standards 
  • Taking care of their people to ensure they remain productive and successful in their duties 
  • Working alongside various levels of an organization, where many departments and cross-functional teams are directly and indirectly tied to the project, but may not be under their authority 
  • Leading by example, serving as a role model to all of the people they encounter 
  • Communicating their intentions so that it is clearly understood to achieve the goals and tasks necessary for mission accomplishment.

Within the Army’s competency-based leader model, there are core leader competencies that fall into three main categories derived from the basic parts of our leadership definition:

  • Leads
  • Develops
  • Achieves

Each of these categories has within it competencies that a leader must possess.  Remember that these competencies are mutually supporting.  You need to do some of each of them.  As a leader (and a follower) you need to find the right balance—different leaders in different jobs and organizations will allocate different attention to competencies depending on the situation.

The leader who leads provides vision through purpose, motivation, universal respect, and direction to guide others to inspire action.  They extend one’s influence beyond the chain of command to build trusting partnerships and alliances to accomplish complex work.  Leaders build consensus among individuals within and outside the organization, while resolving conflicts.   is conveyed by communicating and setting the example, while enforcing standards and instilling discipline.

A leader leads by displaying character at all times, putting the organization and subordinates above personal self-interest, career and comfort.  They project confidence, especially under adverse conditions, displaying the moral courage to stand firm on values, principles and convictions.  Leaders who take full responsibility for their decisions and actions display such moral courage.  And, along with moral courage, the leader demonstrates competence; tactical and technical knowledge.

The results that the leader achieves through their people depend on good communication.  Communication is not a one-way street.  While the leader must clearly state the goals for action, they should also be an active listener.  To be effective in their communication, the leader and the followers should ensure that there is shared understanding about what needs to be done, what the desired results should be, and the progress towards those results.  Good leaders keep their finger on the pulse of their organization by getting out to coach, to listen and to clarify.

The leader who develops leads organizations by creating and maintaining a positive environment that fosters teamwork, promotes cohesion, and encourages initiative and acceptance of responsibility.  A leader should also maintain a healthy balance between caring for people and focusing on the mission.  A positive climate is developed through fairness & inclusiveness and open & candid communication. 

Developing includes assessing needs to improve self, others and the organization.  The leader must seek self-improvement, mastering their profession at every level.  They must make a full commitment to lifelong learning and self-improvement, ultimately acquiring new skills necessary to adapt to changes in their environment.  Preparing for expected and unexpected challenges and developing self-awareness, the leader should strive to expand their knowledge. 

The leader must invest adequate time and effort to develop individual subordinates and build effective teams.  Success demands a fine balance of teaching, counseling, coaching and mentoring.  The Army, after all, is a learning organization, gaining strength from the experience of its people and organization to improve the way it operates.  The leader should, therefore, develop the learning environment that supports learning among its leaders and people.

A leader develops others by: 

  • Assessing developmental needs 
  • Developing them on the job 
  • Supporting professional and personal growth 
  • Helping them learn 
  • Counseling, coaching and mentoring 
  • Building team skills and processes

“Soldiers learn to be good leaders from good leaders.” – Richard A. Kidd, Sergeant Major of the Army (1991-1995)

The leader who achieves focuses on what needs to be accomplished.  They have an expeditionary mindset and can adapt to unanticipated, changing, and uncertain situations.  Achieving in the short-term is about getting results.  But, in the long-term, it is about setting the vision to obtain objectives. 

Getting results embraces all actions to get the job done on time and to standard; planning, preparing, execution.  The leader provides direction, guidance, and clear priorities, considering intended and unintended consequences, guiding teams in what needs to be done and how.  Developing and executing plans for mission and task accomplishment involves anticipating how to carry out what needs to be done, managing the resources used to get it done, conducting the necessary actions, and adapting to changes that might occur.  Accomplishing missions consistently and ethically involves monitoring organizational, group, and individual performance to identify strengths and correct weaknesses.  A successful mission requires the reinforcement of good performance.  And, of course, a failed mission requires a little more evaluation and review to assess what may have gone wrong, learning from those lessons, and improving performance for the next mission.

Leaders who have the competencies to lead, develop and achieve also have the “BE – KNOW – DO” necessary to be successful in today’s United States Army.  And, when these leaders apply these competencies, the Army wins America’s wars.  As General Gordon Sullivan, retired former Chief of Staff of the Army (1991-1995), said to Third Army staff following the Operation Desert Storm victory in 1991, “The American People expect only one thing from us: That we will win.  What you have done is no more than they expect.  You have won.”

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Next assignment (February 6 to February 13) is to read chapter 10 thru Appendix A (pages 107 thru 155) – Discussion post will be on February 13

Forthcoming BookLink Leadership Reading Series schedule is as follows:

February 27, March 5, 12, 19 and 26 – Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals – By Jeff Cannon and Lieutenant Commander Jon Cannon

April 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 – Leading Marines – By The United States Marine Corps

Authoritarian Leadership vs. Democratic Leadership ~ The Officer Corps Explained

Posted in Leadership, Toxic Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

a.k.a. Autocratic Leadership vs. Participative Leadership

On Tuesday, I was again surfing WordPress for blog posts to read about leadership, the military and various branches of the military. In my search, I came across a post called “The Officer Corps Explained.” In this post, the author features a series of cartoon screens that depict a Roman military officer having a conversation with what is portrayed as a younger, lower rank soldier. In the cartoon, the officer and the soldier have a conversation that becomes a debate about authoritarian (or autocratic) leadership vs. democratic (or participative) leadership.  In order to understand the context of what I’m about to discuss, I encourage you to visit the blog post “The Officer Corps Explained” before continuing with this post.

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Obviously, the cartoon is a satirical view of officership in the military, and military leadership in general. But, there are a few things that should be highlighted from their conversation. I’m not going to dissect this frame-by-frame or word-for-word, and I don’t want to insult your intelligence by defining what you’ve already read and figured out. But I do want to discuss some important parts of it.

First, there is a certain level of respect to be rendered to a commissioned officer, usually in the form of a salute and/or courteous greeting; even before true trust and respect are earned by that officer. And, that is illustrated by the soldier when he said that respect is earned, especially if he didn’t know the officer. But, at the same time, an officer should not demand such respect. In this example, however, there is a military protocol where there should be a customary rendering of respect by the junior soldier; in this case, a salute.

Second, it is obvious that the person posting this cartoon is attempting to express his opinion of how the social status of an officer within a military establishment is harsh and totalitarian. It is quite possible that he has experienced this first-hand in his life as a member of the military. It may not be a true depiction of his experiences, but it seems he has observed or experienced a military officer who was autocratic, domineering and/or rude. But, if we cut through the cynicism and sarcasm, you can obviously see the point of his post. Unfortunately, if it is true that he has seen, or experienced, this type of officer, that is a shame; especially if the officer threatened him with certain punishments for failure to obey or conform. Don’t get me wrong, we have to follow orders, but we must do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times.

Unfortunately, this cartoon’s portrayal, to some extent, remains a factor in today’s military among those who lead and those who follow. There are a few ego-driven officers and NCO’s (non-commissioned officers) who think they can bully their way, through fear and intimidation, to better performance of their team. Power, titles and rank seem to be more important to a few officers than taking care of their troops and earning their trust; it gets to their heads. So, I won’t sit here and deny that there are leaders like this in the military. Autocratic leadership had been the standard in the military. But, the military has realized, gradually over the last couple of decades, that kind of leadership style is somewhat archaic. It is becoming less top-down and hierarchical leadership structure. As a result, the number of officers and NCO’s who practice an autocratic leadership style is diminishing.

At one point in the conversation between the soldier and the officer, the soldier asks him, “what if you’re wrong about something? Can I question you then?” The officer’s reply is, “only if I let you, and only if you do it like you’re tiptoeing on egg shells.” As I stated on this blog in a recent post, the military is moving more toward the type of leadership organization where it invites participatory involvement in decision-making; where people at every level, from the sides and the bottom, have a voice and a view, and are permitted and encouraged to provide feedback. In the private sector, more leadership organizations will find that transforming to a more ‘democratic’ leadership style, where everyone is a leader, everyone has a voice, and leadership at every level produces better, timely and more successful results.

I resent the notion that many (or most) military leaders conduct themselves in this fashion. Too often, military leaders are painted with a broad brush as tyrannical and authoritarian. Maybe we can thank Hollywood:

Of course, this is boot camp, and those of us who lived the 8 to 13 weeks of Hell at basic training can relate to this, and know that the real military is nothing like it. But, my point of using this video was to illustrate Sergeant Harman’s tyrannical, authoritarian leadership style. He is your typical drill instructor portrayed by Hollywood, and much of what you see in that Full Metal Jacket clip can no longer be done or said in today’s military boot camp; no, not even the Marine Corps. Boot camp, as well as military academies, have become more instructional. An example is at The United States Military Academy at West Point’s R-day (receiving day), the first day of Beast Barracks, where new Cadets (Plebes) are to report to the ‘Cadet in the Red Sash.’ Watch the following video to see the contrast in instruction and interaction between these Cadets, from what you saw with Sergeant Harman.

You can see that the ‘Cadet in the Red Sash’ is giving orders and instructions in a much different tone of voice than Sergeant Harmon. The senior Cadet tells the Plebe what he expects, instructs him how to accomplish the task, and observes his actions. For example, as soon as the new Cadet does not salute properly, the instructor quickly corrects the Plebe in a mentoring fashion, and teaches the Plebe a more proper way of saluting. It may seem insignificant or trivial about how to properly salute, but what is really happening here is the senior Cadet is teaching the Plebe, while establishing trust and credibility. He is not yelling at him; he is not in his face. He is not coming across as the boss, with a “you better listen to me” attitude. He is practicing a more democratic/participative style of leadership, although the Plebe doesn’t have much input in the decisions that are made, nor the way tasks are to be completed. The tone is more professional and tactful, and the senior Cadet is able to get more out of his subordinate. The senior Cadet is quickly establishing the required level of respect and trust necessary to successfully lead his followers. Let’s look at a similar example from the Naval Academy’s I-Day (Induction Day):

What is important, above all else, in these examples is for the Plebes to pay attention to detail and complete the task properly and completely. You can see in this video that the Plebes were not completely following instruction. The senior Midshipmen patiently instructed them until they mastered the task. The Plebes continued to work on getting it right until their senior instructor was satisfied. The group of Plebes worked as a team, and so did the senior Midshipmen in the way they instructed.

Then you have Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, fictitious officer in the United States Marine Corps, from the Movie “A Few Good Men.” In A Few Good Men, Col. Jessep, commanding officer at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, orders a couple of low-ranking NCO’s to haze a weakling in their unit — an unofficial military procedure otherwise known as a ‘code red.’ Unfortunately, this kid dies in the process, and the colonel lets his subordinates take the fall. When Jessep is finally asked to explain his actions, he barks that what he has done might be considered offensive to some — but, ultimately, American soil is a little safer because of his unpopular executive decision. This, again, is an example of an autocratic style:

I think (and I hope) the extremely autocratic, authoritarian military leader gets washed out early in their career before they can damage the morale and effectiveness (esprit de corps) of the troops under their command. There are much more mentor and servant-oriented leaders in the military, and I am certain that the new and improved leadership style is cascading down the ranks to the young officers and NCO’s, and also to the military academy Midshipmen, Cadets and Airmen. The “in your face” style is old; the servant leader is the leader of the future. Hopefully, once the changes in leadership styles take hold in the military, the stereotype of the military leader changes as well.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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There are a few online resources that discuss this very topic specifically.  Rather than attempt to echo what they say, and risk plagiarizing their content, I will provide you the various links.  I encourage you to check them out:

“Toxic Leaders” – By Colonel George E. Reed, U.S Army – Military Review – July – August 2004 (pages 67 thru 71) – http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/milreview/reed.pdf – Accessed 1 February 2012 – Maxwell Air Force Base (Montgomery, Alabama), United States Air Force Air War College, Gateway to the Internet Home Page – http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/

“Toxic Leadership in the U.S. Army” – By Colonel Denise F. Williams, U.S. Army – Report Date 18 Mar 2005 – http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA431785 – Accessed 1 February 2012 – The Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) – http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/

“Toxic Leadership: Part Deux” – By Colonel George E. Reed, Ph.D., U.S. Army, Retired and Lieutenant Colonel Richard A. Olsen, D.Min., U.S. Army, Retired – Military Review – November – December 2010 (pages 58 thru 64) – http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/English/MilitaryReview_20101231_art011.pdf – Accessed 1 February 2012 – http://usacac.army.mil/ – United States Army Combined Arms Center

“Antecedents and Consequences of Toxic Leadership in the U.S. Army: A Two Year Review and Recommended Solutions” – By John P. Steele – Technical Report (2011-3) – Center for Army Leadership – Report Date 30 June 2011 – http://info.publicintelligence.net/USArmy-ToxicLeaders.pdf – Accessed 8 February 2012 – Public Intelligence – http://publicintelligence.net/

BookLink: Army Leadership (BE ~ KNOW ~ DO) {Book 1, Wk. 1}

Posted in Army Leadership, BookLink with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

If you have seen my recent posts introducing BookLink (“BookLink ~ An Introduction to the Leadership Reading Series” and “BookLink ~ The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual“), you know that it is a leadership reading series that provides you the opportunity to have direct and complete access to military-oriented leadership books, pamphlets, field manuals, and other resources of information.  BookLink will be a weekly “book club” where I will provide you a link to the full text of a book, and together we will read and discuss its content.

Last week, we started with The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual.  Below, you will find an interactive embedded version of this book.  You may also go directly to Scribd.com at http://www.scribd.com/doc/6255277/FM-622-Leadership-US-Army to view or download it.   Also, The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual can be found and downloaded for free at The United States Army Combined Arms Center (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas), Center for Army Leadership, website at http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/repository/materials/FM6_22.pdf.

This past week, our assignment was to read Chapter 1 thru 5 (pages 1 thru 53).  I hope you had the opportunity to read this first section of the book, as it introduced the foundations of leadership in the Army; BE – KNOW – DO.  I have provided a summary below of these chapters for your review.  I am eager to get our interactive discussion started, and I would like to hear from you on your impressions and opinions about chapters 1 thru 5 of The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual.

This coming week, our assignment is to read chapter 6 thru 9 (pages 54 thru 106).  Then, on February 6, I will have a post for discussion on what we have read.

View this document on Scribd

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The United States Army leadership doctrine, through the U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual (FM 6-22), establishes the framework of leadership for all soldiers.  It discusses how Army values form the basis of character.  The values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage build the foundation of an Army officer, and are most of the virtues that make up any officer in the military.

There are two reasons why leadership is important to someone in the United States Army.  The first was expressed eloquently by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur in a 1962 speech:

“[Y]our mission…is to win our wars…[Y]ou are the ones who are trained to fight.  Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory; that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed…”

Every organization has an internal culture and ethos.  On the shoulders of an Army leader rests the mission ‘win our wars.’  The desire to accomplish that mission despite all adversity is called the Warrior Ethos, which is as follows:

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

This statement represents the professional attitude, selfless commitment, discipline, pride and belief that characterizes the American Soldier’s winning spirit.

The second reason one must strive to become the very best leader they can be: your people deserve nothing less.  “The most precious commodity with which the Army deals is the individual soldier who is the heart and soul of our combat forces.” (General J. Lawton Collins, VII Corps Commander, World War II).  As a leader, in any walk of life, taking care of people is a primary function.  There are many aspects of this that the U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual discusses to include understanding human behavior, motivating people, mentorship, along with other people management skills.

From the moment an Army leader takes the oath, they accept many responsibilities.  The foremost of those responsibilities is the leadership of people; the most precious resource in their care.  These people deserve competent, professional, and ethical leadership.  They expect their Army leaders to respect them as valued members of effective and cohesive organizations and to embrace the essence of leadership.  An ideal Army leader has strong intellect, physical presence, professional competence, high moral character, and serves as a role model.

Being a good leader also means being a good follower.  With the same expectations a leader has of their subordinates, there is always someone who has similar expectations of them.  Therefore, the people’s success is the leader’s success – the leader’s success is their boss’ success – all the way up the chain until the entire organization benefits from everyone’s performance and success.  The teamwork throughout this chain of people contributes entirely to the organization’s success, and is vital to accomplishing the mission.

None of this occurs without competent leadership.  The Army Leadership Field Manual answers many questions about how to lead.  Among those questions are:

1)      How do you prepare to be a leader?

2)      How do you learn and embrace those values and skills that will enable you to meet the challenge?

3)      What makes a good leader and person of character?

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There are things that a leader must BE, KNOW, and DO.

Leadership begins with what a leader must BE.  The values and attributes that shape a leader’s character.  These are the internal qualities that a person possesses, and are no different from one leader to another, regardless of position.  These qualities continue to develop and strengthen through experience and increased responsibility.  A leader must BE!

BE

                 VALUES                           ATTRIBUTES                            

                Loyalty                               Mental

                Duty                                   Physical

                Respect                              Emotional

                Selfless Service

                Honor

                Integrity

                Personal Courage

Skills are the things a leader must KNOW.  Everything from the technical side of one’s job to the people skills becomes the knowledge that leaders should use when leading people.  Again, as one moves through their career, this knowledge contributes to their ability to make decisions and take appropriate action.  A leader must KNOW!

KNOW

                      SKILLS                            

                Interpersonal

                Conceptual

                Technical

                Tactical

A leader cannot be effective until they apply who they are (their values and attributes) and what they know (skills).  The leaders actions (what they DO) are influenced by their personal character and knowledge, and DO things that are morally and technically correct.

DO

                ACTIONS             

Influencing

  • Communicating
  • Decision-Making
  • Motivating

Operating

  • Planning & Preparation
  • Executing
  • Assessing

Improving

  • Developing
  • Building
  • Learning

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Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization.  Leaders Influence their people to do what needs to be accomplished, while providing a clear purpose and reason to take action.  They communicate what tasks need to be accomplished and they assign the responsibility and the standards for accountability.  The leader’s ability to convey a clear vision and intent allows followers the freedom to modify plans and orders to adapt to changing circumstances.

Motivation plays a significant role in the leadership function, and is a key ingredient in the completion of tasks.  Although motivation comes from within each individual, it is affected by external influences.  The leader needs to understand their people; to know what they need, what their desires and aspirations are, and to know what motivates them.  Also, a good leader will learn about their people’s capabilities and what their limitations are, and then align the tasks and responsibilities to those abilities, while providing them increased challenges.

Learning from mistakes and improving performance is an ongoing, never-ending process.  The Army has this down, literally, to a science.  The Army is accustomed to performing an after-action-review (AAR), which is a professional discussion of an event, focused on performance standards.  Consider it a team’s self-assessment of what happened, why it happened, and how to correct mistakes and improve.  This feedback identifies strong areas, and how to improve on weaknesses.

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The foundations of Army leadership are firmly grounded in history, loyalty to our country’s laws, accountability to authority, and evolving Army doctrine.  By applying this knowledge with confidence and dedication, leaders develop into mature, competent, and multi-skilled members of the Nation’s Army.  Additionally, character contributes significantly to how one acts, as well as knowing what is right and to do what is right.  Army leaders must be those critical individuals of character themselves and in turn develop character in those they lead.

The ingredients of one’s character are the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor integrity, and personal courage.

Loyalty – Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other soldiers.

“Loyalty is the big thing, the greatest battle asset of all.  But no man ever wins the loyalty of troops by preaching loyalty.  It is given to him as he proves his possession of the other virtues.” – Brigadier General S. L. A. Marshall, Men Against Fire

Duty – Fulfill your obligations.

“The essence of duty is acting in the absence of orders or direction from others, based on an inner sense of what is morally and professionally right…” – General John A. Wickham Jr., Former Army Chief of Staff

Respect – Treat People as they should be treated.

“The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment.  On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army.  It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey.  The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander.  He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.” – Major General John M. Schofield, Address to the Corps of Cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 11 August 1879

Selfless Service – Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army, and subordinates.

“The nation today needs men who think in terms of service to their country and not in terms of their country’s debt to them.” – General of the Army Omar N. Bradley

Honor – Live up to all the Army Values.

“What is life without honor?  Degradation is worse than death.” – Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson

Integrity – Do what is right – legally and morally.

“The American people rightly look to their military leaders not only to be skilled in the technical aspects of the profession of arms, but also to be men of integrity.” – General J. Lawton Collins, Former Army Chief of Staff

Personal Courage – Face fear, danger, or adversity (physical and moral).

“The concept of professional courage does not always mean being as tough as nails either.  It also suggests a willingness to listen to the soldiers’ problems, to go to bat for them in a tough situation, and it means knowing just how far they can go.  It also means being willing to tell the boss when he’s wrong.” – Former Sergeant Major of the Army William Connelly

Leadership is therefore values-based, relying on impeccable character and professional competence.

Attributes are what a leader is:

1)      A leader of character with values, empathy and the Warrior Ethos

2)      A leader with presence; military bearing, physically fit, composed, confident, resilient

3)      A leader with intellectual capacity; mental agility, sound judgment, innovation, interpersonal tact, domain knowledge

Core Leader Competencies are what a leader does:

1)      Leads: leads others, extends influences beyond the chain of command, leads by example and communicates

2)      Develops: creates a positive environment, prepares self and develops others

3)      Achieves: gets results

Leader competence develops from a balanced combination of institutional schooling, self-development, realistic training, and professional experience.  Over time, leaders develop their competencies through experience, and they become increasingly proficient in those competencies where they can apply them to increasingly complex situations.  To excel at the core leader competencies, a leader must:

Leads

1)      Leads others by providing purpose, motivation, and inspiration; enforcing standards; balancing mission and welfare of soldiers.

2)      Extends Influence beyond the chain of command by building trust outside lines of authority; understanding sphere, means, and limits of influence; negotiating, building consensus, resolving conflict.

3)      Leads by example by displaying character; leading with confidence in adverse conditions; Demonstrating competence.

4)      Communicates by listening actively; stating goals for action; ensuring shared understanding.

Develops

1)      Creates a positive environment by setting the conditions for positive climate; building teamwork and cohesion; encouraging initiative; demonstrating care for people.

2)      Prepares themselves by being prepared for expected and unexpected challenges; expanding knowledge; maintaining self-awareness.

3)      Develops leaders by assessing developmental needs and developing them on the job; supporting professional and personal growth; helping people learn; counseling, coaching and mentoring; building team skills and processes.

Achieves

1)      Gets results by providing direction, guidance, and priorities; developing and executing plans; accomplishing tasks consistently.

Army leaders also show empathy.  They try to see things from the point of view of their soldiers, can identify with them, and can understand their feelings and emotions.  Competent and empathetic leaders take care of their people by providing them the support they need to accomplish the mission, resulting in troop cooperation, good morale and mission effectiveness.

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Becoming a person and leader of character is a career-long process from experience, education, and self-development, as well as from continual study, reflection, experience, and feedback.  Leaders hold themselves and subordinates to the highest level of ethical standards.  Soldiers are expected to do the right thing for the right reasons and with the right goal in mind.  Adhering to the principles that the Army values embody is essential to upholding high ethical standards of behavior.

‘Leadership presence’ is the impression that a leader makes on others.  Some might call this charisma.  A leader’s appearance, demeanor, actions, and words make up this attribute.  It is the image that a leader projects.  Military and professional bearing (image), physical fitness (including health fitness), confidence, and resilience are important when developing one’s ‘leader presence.’

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Next assignment (January 30 to February 6) is to read chapter 6 thru 9 (pages 54 thru 106) – Discussion post will be on February 6

Forthcoming BookLink Leadership Reading Series schedule is as follows:

February 27, March 5, 12, 19 and 26 – Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals – By Jeff Cannon and Lieutenant Commander Jon Cannon

April 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 – Leading Marines – By The United States Marine Corps

Decision-Making in the New ‘Leadership Organization’

Posted in Leadership, Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Last Friday, I posted Leading The Charge: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom as the Video of the Week.  The video featured General Anthony Zinni, retired four-star Marine Corps General and a former Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).  If you haven’t seen that post yet, please take some time to view it.  If you do not have the time to watch the video, I have provided a comprehensive summary of what General Zinni said in his lecture.

In that video, at the very end, following his lecture, around the 50th minute, General Zinni conducted a question and answer session with the audience.  A few of the questions were focused on World affairs and military actions in Afghanistan.  However, the second question that was asked (at approx. minute 56:43) led to one of the most poignant and educational messages of the entire video.  The answer that General Zinni provided compelled me to write this post.  I summarize the question and its answer below:

Question - Military teaches that leadership is a two-way street.  However, that thought process seems to be missing in the civilian sector.  Corporate executives are often viewed as ‘first in the chow line.’  How can we change this culture?

Anthony Zinni.jpgGeneral Zinni’s AnswerWhat’s important is how you view the leadership in your organization.  If you view the leadership as top down, the leadership is a structure – there is a line and a chain – There are designated bosses.  So, leadership in your organization is through that line, through that chain, through those tiers, through those individuals, and comes from the top and goes down to the bottom, which is a common way people think about it.  You’re missing the boat.

Think about your organization, in total, as a leadership organization, where you invite participatory involvement in decision-making; where people at every level, from the sides and the bottom, have a voice and a view, and are permitted and encouraged to provide feedback.  If you delegate more, if there is more distributed decision-making, then you see an organization that is a ‘leader organization.’

When we went to the all-volunteer military, after the Vietnam War, we changed to that model.  And, what became important, when we used to give an operations order, the commander gave a mission statement and a set of tasks.  And, we added to that what was called “Commander’s Intent”; the intention of the commander.  That overrode the tasks and the mission, because you were given a set of missions and tasks that were based on what you knew at that moment.  Like everybody knows, no plan survives the first shot that is fired.

By giving that intent, by making sure your unit and your organization understood your style of leading – what your expectations were – what you wanted to achieve – what you hoped those tasks would achieve – if those tasks don’t work, the freedom of subordinates to act within the intent, and not to the letter of the law.

In many ways, this is what frustrated our enemies.  The Soviet system was pure “top down.”  The commanders at the smallest levels did not have transmitters in their combat vehicles; they could only receive.  We wanted sergeant’s and corporal’s to input and respond.  We wanted to have a pool system; “tell me what you’re seeing up front?”  To take independent action, but it was very difficult because you had to create a culture and an understanding of where we were heading.  Everybody knew where we were heading and what we wanted to do.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

General Zinni then proceeded to talk about when he was a regimental commander, talking to his junior officers who wanted to know what ‘intent’ meant.  He said to them, in a role-play-oriented conversation:

“Lieutenant, when you’re sitting on a hill, and you have no communications, you’ve executed your last mission and you don’t know what to do next, you’re going to say to yourself, “What would Colonel Zinni want me to do right now?”  And, you’d be able to answer that question, and act.  And I would have known I had succeeded in communicating intent, creating an environment (an organizational environment) that we understood how we operated.  That would have been a successful way we do business.”

(That lieutenant) is part of the leadership.  He isn’t just the receiver of instructions, he is an executor of intent.  He provides leadership; sometimes laterally, sometimes from the bottom up.  He makes recommendations.  He doesn’t just report.  “Don’t just tell me what you see, lieutenant, tell me what YOU think should happen up there.”  He has a say.  It’s integrated into the decision-making process. 

So, the answer has to be, and what the military learned through tough experience, the hard-line monkey tree doesn’t work.

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What was General Zinni referring to, a ‘monkey tree’ organization?  Much earlier in the video, General Zinni described the “Monkey Tree.”  It goes like this:

“The leadership chain-of-command is like a tree full of monkeys.  When you look from the top down, you see a bunch of smiling faces.  When you look from the bottom up, the perspective’s a little different.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Not everybody gets it in the military yet.  You want to change that perception from the bottom up.  (Everybody is part of it).  It’s a leadership culture – it’s a leadership organization, as opposed to a leadership structure that just comes top down.  That’s the philosophy and the way we’ve got to approach leadership in successful organizations today.

That SEAL Team Six leader has to make decisions on that ground, he doesn’t have the next command up – the next command up – the next command up sitting next to him.  How does he make those decisions?  He is what we call in the military “the strategic corporal”; that young NCO (non-commissioned officer) on a street corner can make or break the entire operation if he makes a bad decision.  A (video or television) camera is going to be right on him.  (For example), those NCO’s at Abu Ghraib devastated the mission and the good work of thousands of troops by a lack of leadership and a lack of understanding what they were doing.

The organization has to be all glued in to the same intent, and have buy-ins and believe they are part of the leadership, and have input and have a say.  That’s the way we have to change the culture in that kind of environment.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

That concludes the General Zinni portion of this post.  But, regarding decision-making, taking action, and risk-taking, I wanted to bring General George S. Patton, Jr. into the discussion.  To hit upon each of these topics, below I present General Patton’s philosophy -

PROVIDE CREATIVE SPACE -

“Never tell people how to do things.  Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

Patton believed in exploiting, encouraging, and rewarding individual initiative.  Patton saw leadership as mostly training and motivation.  The object of leadership is to create people who know their jobs and who can reliably supply the how to your what.

Source – Axelrod, Alan. Patton on Leadership: Strategic Lessons for Corporate Warfare. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. Page 165.

INDECISIVENESS -

“In case of doubt, ATTACK!!!”

Instead of waiting to see what might develop, attack constantly, vigorously, and viciously.  If you’re standing around trying to figure out what is happening or what the enemy is up to, you are making one hell of a good target out of yourself and your men.  Never let up.  Never stop.  Always attack.  “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.*

Source – Province, Charles M. Patton’s One-minute Messages: Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995. Page 46.

* Translation is, “audacity, more audacity, and even more audacity.”  Audacity, if you look in a thesaurus, also translates to boldness, daring, courage, bravery and nerve.  So, when in a position of indecisiveness, “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.”

TAKING ACTION and AVOIDING INACTION -

“Lack of orders is no excuse for inaction.”

It’s everyone’s job to strive unceasingly toward goals and objectives to ensure total victory.  Don’t think that you’re finished just because you’ve reached one objective.  Don’t wait for orders to continue the battle.  While you’re working and fighting for the current objective, you must be planning for the next assault.  History is full of tragic accounts of campaigns lost because leaders stopped on the wrong side of a river, because they didn’t have the initiative to exploit the advantage of a battle just won, and because they failed to obey the basic requirement to constantly be on the offensive.  Patton said, “I assure all of my officers and soldiers that I have never and will never criticize them for having done too much.  However, I shall certainly relieve them for doing nothing.”  When orders fail to come, they must act on their own best judgement.

Source – Province, Charles M. Patton’s One-minute Messages: Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995. Page 55.

RISK-TAKING -

“Take calculated risks.”

The key word here is calculated.  Almost everything in life is a risk to some degree, especially the outcome of a battle.  If you have well-trained soldiers, you have a good chance of winning, even though the odds may not be in your favor.  The key to a calculated risk lies in the esprit de corps of your soldiers.  If you and your enemy have a parity of resources in weapons, supplies, and men, the purely statistical chances of winning will be fifty-fifty.  However, If your men are well-trained, are highly motivated, have good morale, and possess a fighting and winning spirit, they’ll have what it takes to tip the scales and make the fight ninety-ten in your favor.  You’ll most probably win.  Your soldiers’ good morale and winning attitude can allow you to take a calculated risk.

Source – Province, Charles M. Patton’s One-minute Messages: Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995. Page 77.

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Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

(Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership

Posted in Leadership, Toxic Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

This past weekend, I found myself surfing WordPress for blogs with tags and topics I am interested in.  I must admit, I’ve become quite addicted to this blogging thing, and to the cyberworld known as the Blogosphere.  I continue to be fascinated with the vast array of  information being shared by some very interesting people from around the World.  In this Blogoshere, many communities of bloggers evolve from topic to topic and become intertwined into circles of influence that, quite honestly, can change the World, let alone the individuals who participate in reading and writing blogs.  Through this exercise, in the short time that I’ve been blogging (51 days), I have connected with people from around the World that have taken an interest in what I have to share with my blog, and I have found a lot of valuable information from them through their blogs, or their comments to my posts.

As I was browsing WordPress, I came across “Ten (Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership after Eight Months in Command,” posted by a military officer who is apparently guiding troops through Advanced Infantry Training (AIT); training in the Army or the Marine Corps that typically follows basic training (boot camp).  It is very seldom that I come across a military leadership-oriented blog post, and I was quite interested to see what it had to say.  What hard lessons about leadership could have compelled someone to write a post about them?  When I began to read this ‘top ten’ list of what this military officer felt were ‘hard’ lessons, I realized that this leader was struggling with lessons that were both unfortunate and avoidable.  At first, after reading the first couple of lessons, I was taken aback by this blogger’s leadership style and approach.  But, to keep it in perspective, to remain fair, and to properly rationalize each lesson, I took a step back and carefully considered each one.

I had mixed emotions on if these ten lessons needed to be so “hard.”  From some of the lessons on the list, this person gives the impression that they are an autocratic leader.  During the last two decades, the military has become less of an autocratic leadership organization, although leadership by intimidation is still practiced by some non-commissioned officers (NCO’s) and mid to senior officers in all branches of the military.  In the military, there are still those ego-driven, autocratic type leaders (Generals in spurs, like George Patton), and some are well-respected and are followed to the letter.  And, I must admit, some do a pretty good job of leading in their own style, and get the desired results from their people.

Don’t get me wrong, there are hard missions to accomplish, and following direction and paying attention to detail are key.  But, more recently, from the day a recruit goes to boot camp, or a cadet goes to West Point, or other academy, to the time they spend downrange, our military men and women are experiencing a more down-to-earth, mentoring-oriented, lessons learned leadership atmosphere.

Let me go over each one of these hard lessons. Below, I list each of the topical items from the post.  After each one, I provide my thoughts as Command Performance’s Response.  Then, afterward, I will continue with some final thoughts:

1) Someone has to be the bad guy when managing 300+ people (if the other guy isn’t going to do it I have to be the bad guy)

Command Performance’s Response – Nobody should be the ‘bad guy’ when leading people.  Although you may be seen as one by your subordinates because of what you require them to do, and how they may need to go about doing it, the leader is not the bad guy.  However, if, by your very nature as a leader, you convey to your people who you are a bad guy, then followership will diminish or disappear.  No leader should be a bad guy intentionally, or go out of their way to be one.

2) Becoming the bad guy takes practice (The effectiveness of my “bad guy” didn’t take full effect until after about five tries – but I’m good at it now)

Command Performance’s Response – If a leader is working to perfect his ‘bad guy’ image, he is dishonoring his responsibility as a leader, and is creating a hostile environment for his followers.  If a leader has successfully become a ‘bad guy,’ shame on them.  Their subordinates deserve better than that; and, so does the service they represent and the Command (organization) they are responsible for.

3) It’s a good thing for people to walk out of my office feeling bad about what they did wrong (it helps them learn) – don’t give them a “but, you’re doing a good job speech” after the ass chewing.  It ruins the lesson.

Command Performance’s Response – I AGREE with most of this one.  We should never confuse praise with criticism, and never ‘kid glove’ anything that doesn’t deserve it.  As leaders, we have to keep it real.  If someone made a mistake, they should face the appropriate consequences; they should be accountable for their actions.  But, the days of an ‘ass chewing’ are going away.  Although I realize that the military deals with life or death actions (or inactions), and the consequence of failure can be deadly and be damaging to the Command (equipment, morale, mission accomplishment, etc.), most mistakes are not typically that extreme or hazardous.  Great leaders allow their people to fail without giving them the impression that they are failures.  I think that mistakes and failure, to some degree, is a teaching moment.  The “after action” of someone’s failure becomes important.  The leader then becomes mentor and coach.

4) Whenever a subordinate completes a major project applaud them, compliment them, and if possible find something wrong with the way they did things (this way they won’t get too comfortable and they’ll keep producing)

Command Performance’s Response – I AGREE with most of this one.  Not all ‘projects’ or ‘tasks’ are completely perfect.  We should evaluate the work done and provide feedback and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.  We do need our people to produce, but we need them to develop further to be better producers.

5) Mentoring takes more work than doing it myself but if I mentor now I will work less later on

Command Performance’s Response – I AGREE with every word of this one.  Mentoring is one of the most important jobs of a leader.  And, it develops the credibility and trust that is absolutely necessary in a leader-to-subordinate relationship.

6) Don’t let subordinates know that I’m tired (it gives them permission to be tired as well)

Command Performance’s Response – I AGREE with this one.  It goes along with, “never let them see you sweat”

7) Don’t complain to subordinates about missions given to me by higher headquarters (it gives them permission to complain about the mission to their subordinates – and the job won’t be performed well)

Command Performance’s Response – I AGREE with every ounce of this one.  Never arouse criticism in any unconstructive fashion about anything in an organization.  It is never a good thing to openly complain or talk unfavorably about the boss, the people, the department, the company, etc., in front of anyone within or outside of the organization.  The only constructive criticism should come from the work and production that goes into the accomplishment of the mission.  Becoming a rebel will poison a team.

8) Leaders in ranks beneath me will do well at things I check on, and will do poorly at things I don’t check on

Command Performance’s Response – I COMPLETELY AGREE with this one.  Follow-up…follow-up…follow-up!!!  Then, hold your people accountable.

9) The mission comes before Soldier Care / Soldiers always find ways to take care of themselves

Command Performance’s Response – I AGREE with 98% of this one.  However, we should always be watchful of those signs and indications that an individual or a team needs our moral or command support.  The safety, welfare and morale of our people are important; the glue to esprit de corps and cohesiveness.

10) There’s no such thing as a tired company, only tired company commanders

Command Performance’s Response – THIS IS SO TRUE!!!!

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As I stated earlier, this leader’s overall command (leadership) philosophy is not uncommon in today’s military.  But, if it works for him, and he gets the desired results, that is all that matters.  If he is accomplishing the mission with this, without sacrificing the morale of the troops, then he should do what is working for his leadership style.  You can see the dialogue between the blogger and myself in the comments section of the post to see how he justifies and rationalizes his approach to leading his soldiers.

Leading a team is not about command and control, but about listening and communicating – and about learning.[i]  A leader must establish trust and credibility, communicate effectively, employ empathy, intimately know their people’s capabilities, and move their people into positions to be most successful.  I think anybody who aspires to put these things into action can be a leader, over time, practice, and failure, and then learn through their faults and mistakes.

Some leaders are often more experienced at expressing negative emotions – reactively and defensively, and often without recognizing their corrosive impact on others until much later, if at all.  The impact of negative emotions – and more specifically the feeling of being devalued – is incredibly toxic.[ii]  In his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,Dale Carnegie discussed techniques in handling people, ways to make people like you, how to win people to your way of thinking, and how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment.  Some leaders struggle with their people skills, and the effects of that are shown through the morale and (lack of) productivity of their team or organization.

Leaders who are facing any challenge guiding their team to success should take a step back and revisit the core values and principles that are the qualities that lead to successCourage to face challenges, and to have the moral and mental strength to properly manage and lead; the commitment to be dedicated, with integrity and respect, to the professional and personal well-being of people; employ the appropriate Justice to be fair and consistent, with professional tact that maintains good relations and avoids problems (polite, calm, and firm); to have the enthusiasm that conveys a sincere interest in people’s performance, while being optimistic, cheerful and willing to help and guide them; and, to be devoted to your people – loyalty.

Today’s post reveals a first-hand account of a leader attempting to understand and overcome people management challenges.  As a result of my comments to his post, I have connected with him, and have had a few short conversations on his blog and mine.  As a result of our connection, we both will be able to interact and learn from each other’s blog, and to openly discuss the leadership challenges that we all face from time to time.

The Command Performance Leadership blog has been created to discuss leadership, the struggles that are experienced as leaders, and the solutions that can lead all of us to victories that before were bitter losses…..stay tuned.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson


[i]What the Heck is Wrong With My Leadership” – By Pekka A. Viljakainen – Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 – HBR Blog Network – http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/01/what_the_heck_is_wrong_with_my.html – Accessed 24 January 2012 – http://hbr.org

[ii]Why Appreciation Matters so much” – By Tony Schwartz – Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 – HBR Blog Network – http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2012/01/why-appreciation-matters-so-mu.html – Accessed 24 January 2012 – http://hbr.org

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Other Sources –

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” – By Dale Carnegie – MindMeister Mind Map http://www.mindmeister.com/40950677/how-to-win-friends-influence-people – Accessed 24 January 2012 – http://www.mindmeister.com

Carnegie, Dale. How to Win Friends and Influence People Featuring Dale Carnegie. New York: NBC, 1938.

Related Article -

Ten (Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership after Eight Months in Command” (antiwasp.wordpress.com)

BookLink ~ The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual

Posted in Army Leadership, BookLink with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Army Leadership ~ Competent, Confident, and Agile

As I said in my inaugural post, I wanted this blog to not only be informative, but interactive as well.  One of the interactive elements of this blog is to have a virtual reading room for my blog’s readers; where recommended books, articles, etc., would be listed, and where there would be a forum for discussion about what we are reading.

Today, I am introducing a new feature that will provide you the opportunity to have direct and complete access to military-oriented leadership books, pamphlets, field manuals, and other resources of information. The BookLink Leadership Reading Series will be a weekly “book club” where I will provide you a link to the full text of a book, and together we will read and discuss its content. With the rapid growth in e-book popularity, and the ever-increasing availability of books and literature online (in some cases for free), I saw BookLink as a logical forum for delivering valuable information and knowledge, as well as the opportunity of sharing together what we learn from the books and manuscripts I will be presenting.

We start with The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual. For the next four weeks, we will read prescribed sections of the text and then discuss them here. I hope you will join me for this invaluable reader’s journey to increased knowledge and leadership wisdom.

Below, you will see an interactive embedded version of this book. You will see that it is easy to page through the document, zoom in & out, expand to the full screen view, etc. You may also go directly to Scribd.com at http://www.scribd.com/doc/6255277/FM-622-Leadership-US-Army to view or download it. Also, The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual can be found and downloaded for free at The United States Army Combined Arms Center (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas), Center for Army Leadership, website at http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/repository/materials/FM6_22.pdf.

Our reading schedule, along with weekly discussions of what we’ve read, for the next four weeks will be as follows:

January 23 to 30 – Chapter 1 thru 5 (pages 1 thru 53) – Discussion post will be on January 30

January 30 to February 6 – Chapter 6 thru 9 (pages 54 thru 106) – Discussion post will be on February 6

February 6 to 13 – Chapter 10 thru Appendix A (pages 107 thru 155) – Discussion post will be on February 13

February 13 to 20 – Remainder of the book (pages 156 thru 216) – Discussion post will be on February 20

View this document on Scribd

For more than 50 years, The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual has provided leadership training for every officer training program in the U.S. Army. This edition brings the manual’s value-based leadership principles and practices to today’s business world. The result is a compelling examination of how to be an effective leader when the survival of your team literally hangs on your decisions. More than 60 gripping vignettes and stories illustrate historical and contemporary examples of army leaders who made a difference.[i-a]

The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual also provides:

  • A leadership approach based on the army’s core principles of “Be, Know, Do”
  • Hands-on lessons to enhance training, mentoring, and decision-making skills
  • Chapters that focus on the different roles and requirements for leadership[i-b]

This volume is the product of The Center For Army Leadership, which conducts research on emerging leadership trends, and establishes the standards of leaders in the U.S. Army. The Center, located at the General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, also creates the leadership training curriculum used throughout the Army. This book is known in the military as FM 6-22 (formerly FM 22-100), The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual. It is the single-source reference for all U.S. Army leaders. American army training repeatedly emphasizes moral leadership, character and integrity, as seen in this primary field manual of leadership, which is used by soldiers and officers everywhere.[i-c]

As the keystone leadership manual for the United States Army, FM 6-22 establishes leadership doctrine, the fundamental principles by which Army leaders act to accomplish their mission and care for their people.[ii]

The Army does two things each and every day: it trains its soldiers, and it grows them into leaders. The principles and practices of effective leadership that make the United States Army the greatest land force in the world are relevant, as well, to civilian organizations–businesses, nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies.[iii]

In the Army, leaders need to lead men into battle, and keep them cohesive in the face of danger and death. How do you do that? It’s not about shouting orders, the book makes clear. It’s about taking responsibility and leading from the front, sharing risks with your people, and forging your own character so that you deserve to lead. This book shows you how to do that, and how that kind of leadership works just as well in business. It doesn’t make this kind of leadership sound easy, because it’s not. But it does show that if you’re willing to do the work and adopt the discipline, you can be a leader.[iv]

Army Leadership describes the character, competence, knowledge, and results-driven initiative that the U.S. Army seeks to develop within every one of its soldiers, regardless of rank.  It teaches to Be of strong ethical and moral character (loyalty, integrity, discipline), Know valuable skills and knowledge (technical and personal), Do utilize the leadership skills to make a difference.[v]

Be– To be an effective leader you have to be the kind of person people want to follow. This comes down to almost the Golden rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Other words would be loyalty, integrity, personal courage; a good set of personal qualities that make a good person. Leadership is about character. It is not a pretense. Honesty, discipline, and duty are paramount for a leader.[vi-a]

Know – Every leader must be knowledgeable.  Not only about their job, but everyday things. You have to know what you are asking subordinates to do. It’s hard to lead people into doing things that you can’t do yourself.[vi-b]

Do – The old adage, Follow Me, summarizes the leader’s point of view. You have to do; you have to show the way. Leaders put their skills to good use.[vi-c]

People want leaders who are honest, competent, forward-looking, and inspiring…People willingly follow only those who know what they are doing. One of the quickest ways for a leader to lose trust and commitment of followers is to demonstrate incompetence…Character and competence, the Be and the Know, underlie everything a leader does. But character and knowledge – while absolutely necessary – are not enough. Leaders act; they Do…They solve problems, overcome obstacles, strengthen teamwork, and achieve objectives. They use leadership to produce results.[vii]

Leadership is a deep and complex subject because it requires one to deeply understand oneself and the others. The leadership curriculum at West Point, and virtually all military leadership training schools, repeatedly emphasizes moral leadership, character and integrity. The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual stresses ethics and high moral character.[viii]

The Army teaches leadership at all levels from the squad leader with only a few subordinates to generals with hundreds of thousands. The US Army has determined that in some fashion everyone that reports to you is also a leader and needs to be trained and respected as such. The US Army’s leaders are actively developed at all levels so that they can lead and develop others. The “values” and the “leadership” embodied by the U.S. Army make it one of the most respected institutions in the world.[ix] Learn from the best. The US Army produces the most effective leaders. Ask anyone who has hired a veteran.[x]
 
Copyright © Dale R. Wilson
 

Footnotes -

[i-a,b, c] The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manualhttp://www.getabstract.com/en/summary/leadership-and-management/the-u.s.-army-leadership-field-manual/3498/ – getAbstract (The World’s Largest Library of Business Book Summaries) – Accessed 23 January 2012 – http://www.getabstract.com

[ii] Headquarters, Department of the Army, Army Leadership – Competent, Confident, and Agile, October 2006, page v.

[iii] Eric K. Shinseki (USA Ret.), Frances Hesselbein, Be – Know – Do: Leadership the Army Way: Adapted from the Official Army Leadership Manual. From the Introduction by Frances Hesselbein and General Eric K. Shinseki. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004. Print.

[iv] Be – Know – Do: Leadership the Army Way: Adapted from the Official Army Leadership Manual – Customer Reviews – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/be-know-do-eric-k-shinseki-usa-ret/1006063934 – Barnes & Noble (BN.com) – Accessed 23 January 2012 – http://www.barnesandnoble.com

[v] The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual – Customer Reviews – http://www.amazon.com/U-S-Army-Leadership-Field-Manual/dp/0071436995 – amazon.com – Accessed 23 January 2012 – http://www.amazon.com

[vi-a,b,c] Be – Know – Do: Leadership the Army Way (J-B Leader to Leader Institute/PF Drucker Foundation – Customer Reviews – Page 1 – http://www.amazon.com/Know-Leadership-Institute-Foundation-ebook/product-reviews/B003C2SOVA – amazon.com – Accessed 23 January 2012 – http://www.amazon.com

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual – Customer Reviews – http://www.amazon.com/U-S-Army-Leadership-Field-Manual/dp/0071436995 – amazon.com – Accessed 23 January 2012 – http://www.amazon.com

[ix] Be – Know – Do: Leadership the Army Way (J-B Leader to Leader Institute/PF Drucker Foundation – Customer Reviews – Page 2 – http://www.amazon.com/Know-Leadership-Institute-Foundation-ebook/product-reviews/B003C2SOVA?pageNumber=2 – amazon.com – Accessed 23 January 2012 – http://www.amazon.com

[x] Army Leadership FM 6-22 (FM 22-100) – Customer Reviews – http://www.amazon.com/Army-Leadership-FM-6-22-22-100/dp/0981620671 – amazon.com – Accessed 23 January 2012 – http://www.amazon.com

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