Archive for values

Leadership: My Military Heritage

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Trevor, over at the blog Leadership Musings of a Skeptical Positivist is proud of his military heritage, and what the military has done to help lay his leadership foundation. The values of honor, courage and commitment are the cornerstones of that foundation, and he opens up in this post what those values mean to him, and to leadership in general.

I/O Musings of a Skeptical Positivist

Leadership ValuesNestled amidst the swampy forests of Fort Benning, Georgia, the image of Iron Mike is a common site.  No, not Mike Tyson.  Rather, Iron Mike, the U.S. Army’s Infantry symbol and mascot.  An advancing soldier, rifle clutched in one hand and his other arm raised above his head, beckoning others forward.  The infantry motto….Follow Me!

It’s this image that inspired a nineteen year old Army Private in the early 90s, not only for its romantic visage of honor and courage, but for the message it held up as the standard for leadership.

Half a decade later, it was the Navy’s touted values of Honor, Courage, Commitment that helped round out my vision of what leadership means.  It’s a combination of all these that defines the highest quality of leadership to me.

Follow MeFollow Me – More than simply being provided the authority to demand performance of others, it’s the essence of…

View original post 368 more words


Toxic Leadership

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

One of my blog posts, Authoritarian Leadership vs. Democratic Leadership ~ The Officer Corps Explained, discusses 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


Twitter Share Button


Additional Resources –

“Toxic Leaders” – By Colonel George E. Reed, U.S Army – Military Review – July – August 2004 (pages 67 thru 71) – – Accessed 1 February 2012 – Maxwell Air Force Base (Montgomery, Alabama), United States Air Force Air War College, Gateway to the Internet Home Page –

“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 – – Accessed 1 February 2012 – The Defense Technical Information Center (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) – – Accessed 1 February 2012 – – 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 – – Accessed 8 February 2012 – Public Intelligence –


Footnotes –

[i] “Toxic Leadership” – John Evans CSP – Accessed 08 February 2012 –

[ii] “Integrity of Character” | Ovation Leadership | Steve Riege | Accessed 08 February 2012 –

[iii] “Toxic Boss”indaba – network toolbox – Accessed 08 February 2012 – (a link from the source page – In “Organizations and Networks” – indaba – network –

Core Values

Posted in Core Values, Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2011 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Whoever you are and wherever you fit into an organization, core values are the basic guide to how to conduct yourself in your day-to-day activities, and how you work together as a team to improve the quality of your work, your people and yourself.  Core values are much more than minimum standards.  They inspire us to do our very best at all times.  They are a common bond among all people, and are the glue that unifies any group.

The United States military is dedicated to core values to build the foundation of trust and leadership upon which their strength is based and victory is achieved.  They are the principles on which each military service was founded, and they continue to guide them today.  Service members understand and live by these core values, and have stood ready to protect the nation and its freedom; ready to carry out any mission, to deter any conflict around the globe, and if called upon to fight and be victorious.  They are faithful to these core values as their abiding duty and privilege. 

The core values I will be discussing are the elements of character that lay the foundation of leadership and followership in any walk of life.  They are the valuable traits, virtues and competencies that make great people and successful organizations.  As you will see, these core values are intertwined, and are uniquely related to one another.  They become the standard for behavior that should never be compromised. 


Duty is the legal or moral obligation to accomplish all assigned or implied tasks to the fullest of your ability.  Everyone must do what needs to be done without having to be told to do it.  Duty requires a willingness to accept full responsibility for your actions and for the performance of your subordinates.  It also requires a leader to take the initiative and anticipate requirements based on the situation.  Some people think that duty means putting in their time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  But, duty means accomplishing all assigned tasks to the best of your ability.  Leaders, and the teams they lead, must have a deep commitment to duty and what is best for the organization. 


To abide by an uncompromising code of integrity, taking full responsibility for your actions and keeping your word; to conduct yourself in the highest ethical manner in all relationships with peers, superiors and subordinates, as well as being honest, truthful and sincere in your dealings with each other, and with those who you do business with.  You must be willing to make honest recommendations, and to accept advice and suggestions of junior personnel; encourage new ideas.  You are accountable for your professional and personal behavior, and you must fulfill or exceed your responsibilities with honor.  You should never give in to pressures that can challenge your ethical reasoning such as self-interest, peer pressure, pressure from subordinates or pressure from superiors.  Living with honor, and being honest with oneself is perhaps the best way to live each of the core values. 


Have the courage to meet the demands of your profession and the mission when it is challenging, demanding, or otherwise difficult.  Make decisions and act in the best interest of your organization, without regard to personal consequences.  Meet these challenges while adhering to a higher standard of personal conduct and decency.  Courage is the value that gives you the moral and mental strength to do what is right, with confidence and resolution, even in the face of personal or professional temptation or adversity.  Expect and encourage candor and integrity of your people.  If you believe you are right, after sober consideration, hold your position.  Practicing moral courage in your daily lives builds a strong and honorable character. 


Dedicate yourself to the professional, personal and spiritual well-being of your people.  Be obligated to and strive for positive change and constant improvement.  Exhibit the highest degree of moral character, professional excellence, quality and competence in what you have been entrusted to achieve.  Be loyal and have a faithful adherence to your people, team, department, unit and/or company.  Loyalty is the thread that binds actions together and causes everyone to support each other, your superiors, and your company. 


Selfless service is placing your duty before your personal desires.  It is the ability to endure hardships and insurmountable odds because of your dedication and loyalty to your fellow employees and your company.  Selfless service is a rare virtue in today’s society, and it needs to be instilled throughout the organization through inspired leadership.  Organizations who work as a cohesive team become an unbeatable force.  The selfless employee and/or leader does not make decisions or take actions designed to promote self, to further a career or to enhance personal comfort. 


Integrity is a character trait that means to firmly adhere to a code of moral and ethical principles.  It is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking.  Possessing high personal moral standards and to be honest is the basis for the trust and confidence that must exist within an organization.  It is the source for great personal strength and is the foundation for organizational effectiveness.  As leaders, all employees are watching and looking to see that you are honest and live by your word.  And, no person of integrity tries to shift the blame to others or take credit for the work of others.  Most importantly, a person of high integrity has self-respect; as a professional and a human being.  They do not behave in ways that would bring discredit upon themself or the organization to which they belong. 


Respect is treating others with consideration and honor.  It is the ability to accept and value other individuals.  Respect begins with a fundamental understanding that all people possess worth as human beings; to show respect toward people without regard to race, religion or gender.  It is developed by accepting others and acknowledging their worth to an organization.  Therefore, we have to foster respect up and down the chain of command.


The Birth of a Leadership Blog

Posted in Inaugural Posts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2011 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Welcome to the Command Performance Leadership blog; a blog dedicated to the discussion of military and corporate leadership competencies, as well as principled values, virtues and wisdom, to guide military and business professionals to victory.  The ideas, opinions and contributions to this blog’s discussions are intended to tie experiences and knowledge from military leadership to its application in a corporate environment.

This blog is a companion to an online LinkedIn group I started called Command Performance – Military and Corporate Leadership.  When I started that LinkedIn group, my goal was to discuss the synergies between military and corporate leadership and management, and to attract people who come from both the military and civilian worlds to offer their experience and knowledge about fundamental leadership skills.  This blog will serve the same purpose, and will hopefully produce the same results.

Additionally, I have been eager to write a book about military leadership.  I am (slowly) working on a book called “Military Leadership – Concepts of Command (The Comprehensive Study of the Leadership of the United States Military).”  Ultimately, the blog and the book will coexist here, and the pages of the book will evolve.

I have become quite fascinated with the multidimensional subject of leadership, and especially military leadership.  As a veteran of the United States Navy, I have a great deal of respect for those who serve our military, and those who lead them.  Throughout history, men like Julius Caesar, Napoleon, George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton Jr., William “Bull” Halsey, Chester Nimitz, Douglas MacArthur, and more recently H. “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf, Tommy Franks and David Petraeus, have excelled at the profession of arms because of their leading by example.

With all of this as the foundation, here we are today opening this blog.  I am excited to get all of this started.  I sincerely hope that you join me for this journey into the study of leadership, and that you follow and contribute to this wide-ranging discussion.

I am pleased that you have visited my blog.  This blog is meant to be informative and interactive.  I invite you to share your comments on any of the posts.  Additionally, I would like to hear from you.  Let me know what leadership topics we should discuss.  Under the Connect tab, on the right side of the blog’s main page, you will find links to my LinkedIn profile; feel free to connect.  Also, a link to my email is there.  I welcome your direct input via email.

I sincerely hope that you find this blog to be educational and inspiring.  Thank you for your support, and I look forward to blogging with you.

Dale R. Wilson

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

%d bloggers like this: