Archive for integrity

Character is Crumbling in Leadership

Posted in Core Values, Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2016 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

In military and civilian academic institutions around the world, above and beyond their core curriculum, character is taught and inspired.  In each of the military academies in the United States, as well as college Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs, the purpose and responsibility is to produce leaders of character.  To accomplish this, they incorporate the values of integrity, respect, responsibility, compassion, and gratitude into the daily life of cadets and midshipmen who aspire to become tomorrow’s leaders.

The U.S. Naval Academy’s mission, for example, is to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor, and loyalty.  They provide graduates who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.[i]  The Naval Academy has a deep and abiding commitment to the moral development of its midshipmen and to instilling the naval service core values of honor, courage, and commitment.[ii]

At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point character development strategy promotes living honorably and building trust.  West Point believes that their approach not only develops character, but modifies behavior over the course of the 47-month cadet experience.  Ultimately, the desire is for cadets and rotating faculty members to depart West Point with the character, competence, and commitment to build and lead resilient teams that thrive in complex security environments.  Most importantly, everyone commits to living honorably and building trust, on and off duty.[iii]

The Cadet Honor Code at West Point:

A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.[iv]

Recommended Reading: Duty, Honor, Country

The U.S. Air Force Academy has the Center for Character and Leadership development, where they advance the understanding, practice, and integration of character and leadership development as a catalyst for achieving the academy’s highest purpose, while also preparing the cadets for service to the nation in the profession of arms.[v]  I think the Air Force Academy has it absolutely correct when they say that there has never been a more critical time to increase understanding of how moral and ethical dimensions interact with the complexities of leadership – not only in the military context, but across many fields of human endeavor.[vi]

The demonstration of moral and ethical attributes are essential for effective leadership as a commissioned officer in the U.S. military.

Those who possess leadership characteristics seek to discover the truth, decides what is right, and demonstrates the courage to act accordingly – always.[vii]  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.[viii]

Aside from all of these foundations for character development from which scholars transition into professionals in varying fields of expertise and responsibility, it seems that the façade of character in today’s military is crumbling.

Recommended Reading: Defining Military Character

The Moral Compass is Broken

In 2015, just in the U.S. Navy alone, there were twenty commanding officers, four executive officers, and eight senior enlisted firings.  In one of last year’s cases, the commanding officer of the Norfolk-based USS Anzio propositioned a subordinate for sex in exchange for career advancement during a “wetting down”[ix] party at a nearby bar.  There was heavy drinking and inappropriate fraternization that evening, followed the next day by an encounter in the commanding officer’s cabin.

The list for 2016 is already growing.  From the firing of top leaders of a U.S. Navy destroyer for allowing fireworks and gambling on their ship, to a Navy officer being accused of spying, it appears that the moral compass for these leaders has broken.

Related: Relieved of Command

How can it be that the moral compass for these leaders has broken?  Why have they ventured off course so far that they ruin their careers, tarnish the branch of service they belong, and betray those who have, up to that point, trusted them with precious people, equipment, and resources?  Has leading by example become so difficult in today’s complex military environment that doing the right thing has become challenging?

In an article on the Military Times website, Andrew Tilghman reported that the Pentagon’s force-wide look at misconduct among senior military officers, and the efforts to prevent it, found that the Navy and Air Force lag behind in professionalism, while the Army and the Marine Corps have a very mature profession of arms.  Rear Admiral Margaret “Peg” Klein, the defense secretary’s senior advisor for military professionalism, attributes the Army and Marine Corps’ success to sending junior officers into leadership positions, and their professional identity is learned very early in their careers, where they quickly learn the importance of trust, humility, integrity, and empathy.

Not only are officers and non-commissioned officer’s responsible for upholding their own ethical behavior, they are responsible for instilling morals in their subordinates.

It seems the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality is a growing epidemic throughout the ranks.  Maybe it’s time for the Pentagon to conduct an ethics stand down to reach every service member from four-star rank down to the recruit in basic training, similar to what the Marine Corps did a few years ago, to emphasize code of conduct and core values.  But, will that really begin the process to reduce and eliminate the problem?

Retired Army colonel, David S. Maxwell, Associate Director for Security Studies at Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, in an article about the growing concern over top military officers’ ethics, was quoted saying, “Faced with stress, and a very complex combat environment, people make mistakes.”  Andrew Bacevich, professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University, in an article asking if recent ethics and sex scandals undermine integrity of the officer corps, said “The truth is just because people are wearing stars, doesn’t mean they are immune from human frailties.”  Are these legitimate reasons for these ethical lapses in judgement, or merely excuses?

Character is the foundation upon which all leadership traits are built.

Moral and ethical behavior is truly where one’s leadership becomes the bedrock of who we are as individuals, and as leaders.  Its strength comes from the fortitude to always do our best, and to always do what is right, no matter what may lure us away from making the right decision.  The four cornerstones of this foundation are the values of integrity, respect, responsibility and professionalism.  Or, to use a different and more common metaphor, these become the four points on the moral compass.  They are the core values of a leader that lead to uprightness and success.

No matter what our challenges happen to be, either driven by stress or human urges, we must strive to reach deep within ourselves to overcome the temptation to make poor decisions; no matter if we are in uniform downrange, or in daily life with our family or friends.  Our country, society, superiors, peers, subordinates, family, and friends are relying on our steady and consistent moral courage to translate into professional decorum and behavior; always.

Many respected military leaders of the past espoused the vitally important qualities of a leader.  Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps said, “Leadership is the sum of those qualities of intellect, human understanding, and moral character that enables a person to inspire and control a group of people successfully.”  Among General Douglas MacArthur’s 17 Principles of Leadership, which essentially acts as a leader’s self-assessment questionnaire, there is this question: “Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment and courtesy?”[x]

An excerpt from the West Point Cadet Prayer reads, “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole truth can be won.  Endow us with the courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”[xi]

The trailhead to success was clearly identified to us early in our lives and careers.  Ultimately, it became our responsibility to continue to travel along a wholesome path.  But, at some point in our lives, we find ourselves at the intersection of human-nature and temptation, faced with the challenge to make the right decision.  When this happens to you, which way will you go?  Will your moral compass point you in the right direction?  Is the foundation of your character strong enough to stand firm?  Or, will your character crumble to the ground?  What will your leadership legacy be?  Lessons learned through life’s experiences, as well as the awareness and attentiveness to your surroundings, should always provide you the sense of direction necessary to make the right decision.  You must have courage, faith and confidence that your moral compass will point you in the right direction; the path toward the intersection of character and integrity.  If your ultimate destination is success and victory, follow your moral compass.[xii]

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Notes:

[i] U.S. Naval Academy. Mission of USNA. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usna.edu/About/mission.php.

[ii] U.S. Naval Academy. Character Development. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/Military-Preparation/Character-Development.php.

[iii] The William E. Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic. “Character Development Strategy – Live Honorably and Build Trust.” Letter by Robert L. Caslen, Jr., Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, Superintendent, United States Military Academy: Page 3. Dec. 2014. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usma.edu/strategic/shared documents/west point’s character development strategy(digital-2-4-15).pdf.

[iv] “The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic – Honor.” The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic – Honor. Web. Accessed 17 Apr. 2016.  http://www.usma.edu/scpme/sitepages/honor.aspx

[v] “Center for Character & Leadership Development Homepage.” Center for Character & Leadership Development Homepage. U.S. Air Force Academy. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usafa.edu/Commandant/cwc/.

[vi] U.S. Air Force Academy, Journal of Character & Leadership Integration (JCLI). Center for Character Development – Publications Archive. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usafa.edu/Commandant/cwc/cwcs/docs/cwcsPub_Archive.cfm.

[vii] “Building Capacity to Lead – The West Point System for Leader Development.” Officership & Perspective: Our Targets for Leader Development | Leader of Character: Page 18. United States Military Academy. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usma.edu/strategic/siteassets/sitepages/home/building the capacity to lead.pdf.

[viii] Wilson, Dale R. “Schofield’s Definition of Discipline.” Command Performance Leadership. Command Performance Leadership, 23 Feb. 2012. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. https://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/schofields-definition-of-discipline/.

[ix] A ‘Wetting Down’ is a ceremony or event held congratulating a newly promoted officer.  More information can be found here:  “Social Customs & Traditions of the Sea Services.” Functions & Traditions – Wetting-Down Parties: page 14. Naval Services FamilyLine. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. htttp://www.goatlocker.org/resources/cpo/downloads/customs.pdf

[x] Donnithorne, Larry. The West Point Way of Leadership: From Learning Principled Leadership to Practicing it. New York: Currency Doubleday, 1993. pp. 178-179. Print.

[xi] Cadet Prayer. Office of Chaplains. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usma.edu/chaplain/SitePages/Cadet Prayer.aspx.

[xii] Adapted from “Pithy Points to Ponder (A Leader’s Moral Compass),” by Dale R. Wilson on the blog Command Performance Leadership. 14 Nov. 2012. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. Edited and adapted for this publication. https://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/pithy-points-to-ponder-a-leaders-moral-compass/.

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Pithy Points to Ponder (A Leader’s Moral Compass)

Posted in Leadership, Pithy Points to Ponder with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

As a leader, which way will you go when your moral compass brings you to the intersection of human nature and temptation?  Your life’s experiences and lessons learned, as well as your attentiveness (remaining aware of your surroundings), should provide you the sense of direction necessary to make the right decision.  You must have courage, faith and confidence that your moral compass will point you in the right direction to the path toward the intersection of character and integrity, and your ultimate destination of success and victory.

Dale Richard Wilson, Sr.

Blogger @ Command Performance Leadership

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Related Articles:

More on the Navy’s “Moral Compass” (navycaptain-therealnavy.blogspot.com)

The Navy’s Moral Compass: Commanding Officers and Personal Misconduct (www.dtic.mil)

Power and the Fallen Man (blog.usni.org)

Moral Courage and Faith to Become a Leader of Character

Posted in Leadership, Quote of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Quote of the Day

“Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole truth can be won.  Endow us with the courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”

Excerpt From the Cadet Prayer, United States Military Academy, West Point

What Will Your Leadership Legacy Be?

Posted in Quote of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Quote of the Day

“And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us, recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state, our success or failure in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions: First, were we truly men of courage…Second, were we truly men of judgment…Third, were we truly men of integrity…Finally, were we truly men of Dedication?”[i][ii]*

John F. Kennedy


* Address of President-Elect John F. Kennedy Delivered to a Joint Convention of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The State House, Boston, January 9, 1961. Also know as the “City Upon a Hill” speech.

Audio and text of this speech can be found at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum online HERE AND audio with historical perspective can be found at The Speeches of President John F. Kennedy website HERE.

Footnotes –

[i] Montor, Karel. Naval Leadership: Voices of Experience. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute, 1987. p. 3.

[ii] Barnes, John A. John F. Kennedy on Leadership: The Lessons and Legacy of a President. New York [etc.: AMACOM, 2007. p. 217.
 
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Additional Resources –
 
 
 

Toxic Leadership

Posted in Leadership, Toxic Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Last week, I posted Authoritarian Leadership vs. Democratic Leadership ~ The Officer Corps Explained, discussing the contrasts between being an autocratic leader and a participative leader.  At the very end of that post, I offered some additional resources that discuss toxic leadership and its effect on individual and team productivity and morale.  As many of you know, from day-to-day, a blogger can check to see who’s visiting their blog, where those people found the blog, what posts they are reading, among other interesting statistics.  One of the statistics is the number of page clicks people have made to internal links that appear within particular posts.  I must admit to you that I am addicted to blogging, and I am fascinated who and how many visit my blog.  I keep an eye on my statistics page too much often.  I noticed that nobody has clicked on any of the articles related to toxic leadership; articles that offer a wide-ranging view of traits that can be destructive to people and organizations.  I find these articles to be very good references to the topic of toxic leadership, and I encourage you to read each of them.  Not only are they informative, but they are also enlightening.  Again, at the end of this post, under Additional Resources, I offer those four article links for you.

Beyond ethical leadership, there must be effective leadership that inspires individuals and teams to perform at a high level; mentor and servant-oriented leadership.  As important as it is for a leader to learn and apply themselves to the principles of leadership, core values and the qualities that lead to success, it is also important for leaders to know how to avoid being a toxic leader; an ego-driven leader who thinks they can use fear and intimidation to get results.  As I said in last week’s post, toxic leaders damage the morale and effectiveness (esprit de corps) of their people and organization.  Employing the wrong approach to followers can be quite damaging.

What is a Toxic Leader?

Toxic leaders have very poor interpersonal skills, and all of their actions are dictated by self-interest.  This causes them to be very ineffective, and they are hard to like.  Toxic leaders are also self-promoting.  They will promote themselves over the interests of the organization, mission, profession, and worst of all, their subordinates.  The way they treat others is appalling.  They act aggressive toward them, are critical of them, blame them, and will even try to intimidate them.  They dole out information, resources and tasks to their subordinates in a restrictive manner in order to maintain tight control.  Toxic leaders avoid their followers, if possible.  At every opportunity, they will denigrate them, and they will always act as if the subordinate is disposable; nothing more than a tool for them to use.  Ultimately, the toxic leader is self-destructive.

Personal Characteristics of a Toxic Leader –

– Incompetence                                   – Egotism

– Malfunctioning                                   – Arrogance

– Maladjusted                                      – Selfish values

– Sense of inadequacy                        – Avarice and greed

– Malcontent                                        – Lack of integrity

– Irresponsible                                    – Deception

– Amoral                                              – Malevolent

– Cowardice                                        – Malicious

– Insatiable ambition                          – Malfeasance

– Rigid                                                 – Callous

– Self-serving                                     – Unethical

– Corrupt                                             – Evil

Additionally, Toxic Leaders:

– Do not allow a free and frank flow of open thinking and ideas

– Destroy trust

– Promote themselves at the expense of their subordinates

– Criticize subordinates without considering long-term ramifications

– Cripple the confidence of subordinates; thus derailing other potential leaders

– Cause retention to suffer among the brightest and most talented personnel

– Negatively impede efficiency and effectiveness throughout the workplace[i]

If you have ever been exposed to a leader with one or more of these negative, demoralizing leadership traits, you have first-hand knowledge of what a toxic leader is and how they can affect an organization.  A good and skilled leader will avoid being seen possessing any of these characteristics, and will employ the appropriate leadership style according to the individual, team, task, and goal/objective.  To know how to deal with people is an acquired skill; one that should have been developed from a very young age in grade school.

On his blog, Ovation Leadership, Steve Riege discusses the Integrity of Character, where values, experience, knowledge and wisdom complete the dimensions of the individual.  He writes, “The combination of morality, values and ethics create a strength [of] your Character consistent of being true to values, and doing the right thing because it is the right thing.  This inner strength enables Teams and organizations to trust their leader, whose Character embodies this knowledge, comfort, and trust of their own personal core.”  In his short e-pamphlet, The Rare Leader, Steve calls this Integrity of Character.  Integrity of Character embodies the Golden Rule, because it represents every gift of morality, value, and ethics we would hope to receive from others.  Integrity of Character is the true measure of how you bring the core of your life to the surface for you, and those who choose to follow you.[ii]

Integrity of character is the foundation of a great leader.  To use a metaphor, it is what you build your very being up from, if you so choose.  The building blocks of leadership are built upon the value of integrity and trust.  Each block represents the values, virtues and principles that will house your team.  It will be built with duty, honor, courage, commitment, selfless service, respect, justice, judgment, dependability, initiative, decisiveness, tact, enthusiasm, bearing, unselfishness, knowledge, loyalty, and endurance.  It will be a strong structure if you build with these traits properly and effectively.  You need to make sure the leadership “structure” your team works in is built with these things.  Within that strong structure, under the strong roof of your leadership, your team will be safe and secure.

Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.[iii]  A leader’s ability to be situationally aware of the environment they are encountering is obviously developed over time, experience, trial and error.  But, once a leader can master the ‘push button’ ability to adapt their style to the circumstances, that leader’s successes will increase and team morale will improve.  And, they will never become a toxic leader.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Additional Resources –

“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 – Thesis – U.S. Army War College – 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/

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Footnotes –

[i] “Toxic Leadership” – John Evans CSP – Accessed 08 February 2012 – http://businesssurvivalstrategist.com/ToxicLeadership.aspx

[ii] “Integrity of Character” | Ovation Leadership | Steve Riege | Accessed 08 February 2012 – http://ovationleadership.com/integrity-of-character/

[iii] “Toxic Boss”indaba – network toolbox – Accessed 08 February 2012 – http://indabanetwork.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/toxic_boss.pdf (a link from the source page http://publicintelligence.net/u-s-army-has-a-problem-with-toxic-leadership/) – In “Organizations and Networks”http://indaba-network.net/resources/in-organizations-and-networks/ – indaba – network – http://indaba-network.net/

Putting the Principles into Practice

Posted in Leadership, Principles, Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Marine Corps Principles of Leadership

The Video of the Week

Video length = 44:11

The most popular post on this blog to date has been the Eleven Principles of Leadership.  It has experienced the most page views of any post since this blog’s inception on December 5, 2011.  In recent posts, I have been establishing the foundation of leadership by discussing the qualities of a leader, the qualities that lead to success, core values, and the eleven principles of leadership.  Since this has had such popularity, and people have recognized the importance of these principles, I am continuing the discussion by introducing you to Retired Marine Corps Colonel Rick Craig.  In this week’s Video of the Week, Colonel Craig describes how using the principles of leadership will help you become a better leader.

In this video, Colonel Craig covers a great deal more than just a discussion of the principles of leadership.  As I always do with the video of the week, for those who cannot invest the time to view the entire video, I have summarized the important points of the video.  Below the video, you will see the summarization of Colonel Craig’s lecture.

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What is the difference between a manager and a leader?  Managers deal with complexity.  Managers take their team and tries to best assign each person; to put people where they can make the best and most effective contribution to the team, while being efficient.

Leaders care about how the manager is dealing with their complexities.  But, in addition, leaders care about motivation.  Leadership is about motivation.  What a good leader does is they establish the climate and opportunity where people can motivate themselves.

What is the difference between leadership and management?

  • Leadership is the art of motivating a group toward a common objective
  • Management is the process of working with and through others to achieve organizational objectives in an efficient and ethical manner

In the United States Marine Corps, leadership is learned and earned.  Marine Corps leadership is considered an inventory of assets, and are a guideline for self-improvement that builds the personal plan for the future.  They are the leadership traits; integrity, knowledge, courage, decisiveness, dependability, initiative, tact, unselfishness, enthusiasm, bearing, endurance, justice, loyalty and judgment.

Are Leaders made or born?

                “Effective leaders are made, not born.  They learn from trial and error, and from experience.  When something fails, a true leader learns from the experience and puts it behind him.” – General Colin Powell

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Performance appraisals are one of the most important jobs a leader must do.  Feedback is an important part of what all leaders do.  Colonel Craig referenced the Marine Corps Order 1610, the Marine Corps Fitness Report (FitRep); the Marine Corps performance appraisal system.  Although there is one objective for Marines, they rank them in a pyramid of where their leadership potential lies.  The Marine Corps grades Marines subjectively; to subjectively judge the character of the people they work with.

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The cornerstones of Marine Corps leadership are authority (legitimate power), responsibility (obligation to act) and accountability (answering for one’s actions).

Authority – The power vested in the manager by senior management in the organization.  That authority must be earned.

Responsibility – Taking action when a task needs to be completed.  Knowing when it is time to take such action.

Accountability – Those who are responsible for something must be accountable.  And, leaders are accountable for each and every person that works them.

Good leaders always give credit for accomplishments of their staff.  Giving credit to individuals and teams will motivate them.  But, if something goes wrong, and a leader blames an individual or the team, the leader will erode the leadership (credibility and trust) of that group.  Leaders will take credit collectively for the group (“WE did this…we did that…my people did this…”).  But, if something goes wrong, a good leader will take personal responsibility for what went wrong (“I made the wrong decision”).

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Leadership Styles –

Many people think that the military is more autocratic than democratic in its leadership style.  Styles of leadership can be situational, as well as based on the leader’s personality. 

       AUTOCRATIC                                              DEMOCRATIC

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Telling               Selling                         Participant               Delegate

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Leadership is about motivation.  What is motivation?

  • People must be motivated and encouraged to work effectively
  • Ways to motivate include:

               – Recognition

               – Approval by management

               – Respect

               – Rewards for work done

Some motivational techniques may fail due to certain influences.  Projects may fail due to unexpected delays, unattainable objectives, impossible deadlines, etc.  No amount of effort, overtime, etc. can help change the outcome.  No amount of motivation will get the individuals and the team any closer to accomplishing the task or project.

All people are different, and deserve to be treated differently.  What motivates one person may be totally demotivating to someone else.  Good leaders will know this and treat each person the way that best motivates them.  The mark of a good leader is to understand what motivates individuals.

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Morale

  • The motivation of an entire group collectively
  • “The capability of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.” – Alexander H. Leighton
  • Esprit de corps (the spirit of the corps)

Examples of a morale problem:

  • People coming in late
  • People calling out sick
  • Lack of productivity

Signs that morale is good:

  • Productivity is up
  • The working atmosphere is positive
  • People are willing to do things
  • People offer ideas
  • People take initiative

How does the leader maintain morale? (from the “User’s Guide to Marine Corps Leadership”)

  • Teach belief in the mission
  • Instill confidence (through training, knowledge and experience)
  • Consider job assignments carefully (who does what jobs)
  • Demonstrate concern

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In addition to the leadership principles, Colonel Craig discusses additional leadership guidelines.  They are:

  • Be patient
  • Give Clear Directions
  • Banish the “zero defect” mentality
  • Do not over-supervise
  • Be helpful
  • Demand accountability
  • Instill loyalty
  • Reward
  • Encourage
  • Maintain integrity
  • Anticipate needs

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A Leader’s Span of Control

The effective span of control (number of direct reports a leader can effectively manage) for a typical leader is 4 to 8.  The Marine Corps uses the “rule of 3.”

What is an influence leader?

A person who is a de facto leader, but their authority is not embedded by the organization, but is given to them by their peers; because of their personality, their charisma, their longevity, their knowledge.  Influence leaders are those who make organizations tick.  They are also the agents of change.  Influence leaders are the individuals organizations should identify to be promoted into management and leadership roles.

The Importance of Influence Leaders

  • In a very flat organization, “influence” leaders emerge
  • They may become de facto leads
  • They are chosen by their peers due to their longevity, experience, personality, or communication skills
  • They are also the agents of change

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The Leader as a Teacher

According to the United States Marine Corps’ Fleet Marine Force Manual ONE (FMFM-1), leaders should see the development of their subordinates as a direct reflection on themselves.  Leaders and their subordinates accomplish this in various ways:

  • Mentoring

               – Shadowing

               – Controlled Exposure

  • Training

               – Hands-On

               – Formal (e.g., Instructor lead)

               – Self-Taught (e.g., Books, CBT, E-Learning, etc.)

  • Trade Publications

               – Magazines (Authored or Read)

               – White Papers (Authored or Read)

  • Certificates/Association Membership

               – Internally Recognized

               – Industry Recognized

  • Conference/User Groups

               – Speaking

               – Attendance

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Colonel Craig’s Bottom Line is summarized as follows:

Managers who are also leaders:

  • Motivate
  • Train
  • Challenge
  • Learn from their employees
  • Lead within the parameters of their personality
  • Allow team members to succeed by failing
  • Accept responsibility
  • Promote testing within the organization
  • Embrace new ideas and technology

Even with the best tools and processes in the World, if your staff is not focused and productive, your efforts as a leader will be weak and ineffective, and your finished product will reflect your poor leadership.

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Next week’s Video of the Week will feature General Anthony Zinni, USMC (ret.).  It will be entitled “Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom.”

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

Qualities that Lead to Success

Posted in Leadership, Traits with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

In recent posts, I have been introducing the core values and the eleven principles of leadership that are the foundations of an effective and successful leader.  I continue that discussion here with the traits that are the dimensions of the professional leader that are the guiding tenets that drive toward success and victory.

These 14 leadership traits are qualities of thought and action which, if demonstrated in daily activities, help leaders earn the respect, confidence, and loyal cooperation of their followers, peers and superiors.  It is extremely important that you understand the meaning of each leadership trait and how to develop it, so you know what goals to set as you work to become a good leader and a good follower.  Knowledge of the following leadership traits is essential for the practice of good leadership.

JUSTICE

Definition: Justice is defined as the practice of being fair and consistent. A just person gives consideration to each side of a situation and bases rewards or punishments on merit.

Suggestions for Improvement: Be honest with yourself about why you make a particular decision. Avoid favoritism. Try to be fair at all times and treat all things and people in an equal manner.

JUDGMENT

Definition: Judgment is your ability to think about things clearly, calmly, and in an orderly fashion so that you can make good decisions.

Suggestions for Improvement: You can improve your judgment if you avoid making rash decisions. Approach problems with a common sense attitude.

DEPENDABILITY

Definition: Dependability means that you can be relied upon to perform your duties properly. It means that you can be trusted to complete a job. It is the willing and voluntary support of the policies and orders of the chain of command. Dependability also means consistently putting forth your best effort in an attempt to achieve the highest standards of performance.

Suggestions for Improvement: You can increase your dependability by forming the habit of being where you’re supposed to be on time, by not making excuses and by carrying out every task to the best of your ability regardless of whether you like it or agree with it.

INITIATIVE

Definition: Initiative is taking action even though you haven’t been given orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action. It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.

Suggestions for Improvement: To improve your initiative, work on staying mentally and physically alert. Be aware of things that need to be done and then to do them without having to be told.

DECISIVENESS

Definition: Decisiveness means that you are able to make good decisions without delay. Get all the facts and weight them against each other. By acting calmly and quickly, you should arrive at a sound decision. You announce your decisions in a clear, firm, professional manner.

Suggestions for Improvement: Practice being positive in your actions instead of acting half-heartedly or changing your mind on an issue.

TACT

Definition: Tact means that you can deal with people in a manner that will maintain good relations and avoid problems. It means that you are polite, calm, and firm.

Suggestions for Improvement: Begin to develop your tact by trying to be courteous and cheerful at all times. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

INTEGRITY

Definition: Integrity means that you are honest and truthful in what you say or do. You put honesty, sense of duty, and sound moral principles above all else.

Suggestions for Improvement: Be absolutely honest and truthful at all times. Stand up for what you believe to be right.

ENTHUSIASM

Definition: Enthusiasm is defined as a sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of your duties. If you are enthusiastic, you are optimistic, cheerful, and willing to accept the challenges.

Suggestions for Improvement: Understanding and belief in your mission will add to your enthusiasm for your job. Try to understand why even uninteresting jobs must be done.

BEARING

Definition: Bearing is the way you conduct and carry yourself. Your manner should reflect alertness, competence, confidence, and control.

Suggestions for Improvement: To develop bearing, you should hold yourself to the highest standards of personal conduct. Never be content with meeting only the minimum requirements.

UNSELFISHNESS

Definition: Unselfishness means that you avoid making yourself comfortable at the expense of others. Be considerate of others. Give credit to those who deserve it.

Suggestions for Improvement: Avoid using your position or rank for personal gain, safety, or pleasure at the expensive of others. Be considerate of others.

COURAGE

Definition: Courage is what allows you to remain calm while recognizing fear. Moral courage means having the inner strength to stand up for what is right and to accept blame when something is your fault. Physical courage means that you can continue to function effectively when there is physical danger present.

Suggestions for Improvement: You can begin to control fear by practicing self-discipline and calmness. If you fear doing certain things required in your daily life, force yourself to do them until you can control your reaction.

KNOWLEDGE

Definition: Knowledge is the understanding of a science or art. Knowledge means that you have acquired information and that you understand people. Your knowledge should be broad, and in addition to knowing your job, you should know your unit’s policies and keep up with current events.

Suggestions for Improvement: Suggestions for Improvement: Increase your knowledge by remaining alert. Listen, observe, and find out about things you don’t understand. Study to become more knowledgeable in your field.

LOYALTY

Definition: Loyalty means that you are devoted to your organization, and to your seniors, peers, and subordinates. You owe unwavering loyalty up and down the chain of command, to seniors, subordinates, and peers.

Suggestions for Improvement: To improve your loyalty you should show your loyalty by never discussing the problems of the organization, your team, or members on your team with outsiders. Never talk about seniors unfavorably in front of your subordinates. Once a decision is made and the order is given to execute it, carry out that order willingly as if it were your own.

ENDURANCE

Definition: Endurance is the mental and physical stamina that is measured by your ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress, and hardship. For example, enduring pain during a conditioning march in order to improve stamina is crucial in the development of leadership. As they say in the Marine Corps, pain is weakness leaving the body.

Suggestions for Improvement: Develop your endurance by engaging in physical training that will strengthen your body. Finish every task to the best of your ability by forcing yourself to continue when you are physically tired and your mind is sluggish.

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In addition to the fourteen leadership traits discussed above, there are seven others that have not been discussed in detail.  six of these seven are mentioned in the book Fundamentals of Naval Leadership, by the Department of Leadership and Law, U.S. Naval Academy.  The additional traits are cooperation, sense of humor, ability to write well, ability to speak effectively, creativity, self-discipline and charisma.  Charisma is the only one not referenced by the United States Navy.  The ability to write well and the ability to speak effectively would easily fall into one central trait, communication.  In a future post, I will define and discuss these additional leadership traits.  Also, we will go into further detail and discussion about all of the leadership traits and qualities that lead to success.

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Source –

Maxwell Air Force Base (Montgomery, Alabama), United States Air Force Air War College, Gateway to the Internet Home Page – United States Marine Corps – Marine Corps Leadership Traits – http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmc/leadership_traits.htm

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