Are Leaders Missing What’s Important?
The Army is a results-oriented organization:
How many pushups can you do in two minutes?
Fix that truck. We need it for mission.
Secure that supply route.
Rebuild that police station.
Rebuild the Afghanistan National Army.
I think sometimes folks get caught up in the results and forget what is important: the people that get you these results.
An incredibly smart man once told me, “Kevin, the Army will chew you up and spit you out. It will forget about you the day you leave. You’re replaceable and your accomplishments will be outdone by someone else eventually and thus forgotten.”
I was befuddled by the words spoken by a man from whom I deeply respected and thought was a career professional officer.
I asked, “What do you mean, Sir?”
He smiled and asked, “Do you know what the greatest impact you will have on the military will be?” He stared intently at me.
I rattled through my prior accomplishments in my mind but wasn’t sure if any merited mentioning.
He looked at me, knew I was unsure, and said, “My greatest accomplishment is you. My greatest accomplishment will be the people I leave behind to run the Army after me. You are the greatest gift I can leave the Army.”
The way I lead soldiers changed forever that day. That was almost ten years ago.
It was pretty sound advice and has guided me throughout my career. My leadership strategy is to invest in people, empower them, and let them grow. It’s okay if they falter and things aren’t perfect all the time. It’s my job to pick them back up and guide them. They are learning, growing, and will be stronger for it.
That wise man has been selected by the Army to Command a Brigade of 3,000 Soldiers. I live by his creed and spread his theory to this day.
So what is missing when your organization is singularly results-oriented?
What happens if your boss is only results oriented?
How does that make you feel?
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Evan Frickey, a 21-year-old improvised explosive device detection dog handler with 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, plays with Cookie, an improvised explosive device detection dog, while providing security on the perimeter of the Safar School compound here, March 18. (Photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder)
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