It’s a seldom discussed fact that Christopher Columbus nearly missed his chance to make the history books in his 1492 discovery of the “New World.” Had his ship sailed on yet one day longer without sighting land, they would have turned around and headed back to Spain on the 12th of October. The truth is, he had a slight followership problem to contend with—and his own deception nearly cost him historical immortality. Along the way, his crew had grown unruly and restless, which prompted him to start “cooking the books” and keeping a separate set of records: one for his eyes only and the other he shared with his crew.… Read the rest
“Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”
We have all heard how important effective, constant, accurate, and informative communication is to the effectiveness of a leader. Followers are hungry for information and they want to hear what a leader has to say; they clearly recognize the value in hearing it from the “horse’s mouth.”
As time marches onward and we cycle through different communications climates in our country, our communications must adjust. I have expressed my effective communication message before on this blogsite.… Read the rest
The ballplayer who loses his head, who can’t keep his cool, is worse than no ballplayer at all.
It’s baseball season again, and so we begin the annual Rite of the Green Grass and White Lines. Each year, baseball coaches struggle to give clear direction to help their teams make good decisions on the field and follow through with good execution. It’s rare to see major leaguers allow a ball to hit the ground between them, but it’s bound to happen at any given Little League game. How many times have you heard, I thought you had it?! The teams that win, the ones who don’t let those fly balls hit the ground, are well-led, coached, and drilled.… Read the rest
Always do everything you ask of those you command.
– General George S. Patton
When I was an instructor at the Air Force’s Officer Training School, I noticed the uncanny way the groups of officer trainees we led became mirrors of their Flight Commander. It was a little scary, really. If the Flight Commander was cerebral, and quiet, competitive, gung-ho, or whatever: so were his or her trainees. During our Instructor Qualification Course the seasoned Flight Commanders warned us this would happen, but to see it in action was startling to me as a brand new instructor.… Read the rest
“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss … The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
Many times when I am called in by an organization it is to “fix” an employee who is not meeting the expectations of the boss and the organization. The boss, looking for a solution, figures getting the employee a coach will get the problem off his or her plate and will somehow miraculously solve the problem. In the past, as an inexperienced coach, I would excitedly pursue the coaching, hoping to save the day.… Read the rest
Nothing is as strong as the heart of a volunteer.
There may be situations in military leadership where the leader must keep the team in the dark–but in 27 years service and commanding five units I’ve never found one. On the contrary, the question asked most often by military leaders and those they lead is, “Did you coordinate that?” You see, military operations are a team sport and our patience with people who act without considering the team is thin. We have to trust each other, and trust is built on mutual respect and transparency.
Military Teams Work In A Collective Environment
Keeping the team informed removes the leader as a single point of failure and takes advantage of the collective intelligence of the team.… Read the rest
“The choices you make on a daily basis affect what you will have, be, or do in the tomorrows of your life”
We hear it all the time…right? “It’s all about Attitude!” “If only so and so had a better attitude, they’d be unstoppable.” Well, as a recently transitioned Air Force Veteran, I’m here to tell you that your attitude is probably the single most important factor in determining the level of success you’ll achieve in whatever it is you choose to pursue, in a professional role and/or in your personal life.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines attitude as “A ballet position similar to the arabesque in which the raised leg is bent at the knee.” Another Webster definition for attitude is “The position of an aircraft or spacecraft determined by the relationship between its axes and a reference datum (as the horizon or a particular star).” But those definitions are not the one I want to work from to illustrate my point. … Read the rest