Tiny Leadership Tales: ‘No Effect Without Respect’

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Bite sized leadership lessons, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words

Would it help?

We have all experienced our fair share of frustrations in the military and for many of us speaking, or venting, about them can be somewhat of a coping mechanism. As I have matured throughout my career, I have realised that the stoic virtue of temperance [self-control] is a valuable tool for a commander. Using the phrase ‘would it help?’ before you say or do something is one way of ensuring that your actions are worthwhile and meaningful, to both yourself and those around you. Before you next open your mouth, ask yourself – would it help?
– Matthew Dabinet

When I was a Recruit Instructor, one recruit was always smiling, even at inappropriate times. She was told often “stop smiling, this is serious”. The day the recruits were issued their uniforms they were sullen and quiet. Last in the conveyor belt, I was fitting the recruits for their slouch and bush hats. I asked this recruit after giving her a hat, “why are you always smiling so big, Recruit?” She said “This is MY hat Corporal. I’ve never owned a hat before. I’ve never owned much before”. She had grown up in foster care, without much. Perspective. Smile.
– Gabrielle Hammond

Just do your job.

A few months into my first appointment (Blackhawk Squadron Technical Support Troop), one of the CPL’s sidled up to me in the Regiment Boozer on a Friday afternoon to have a chat. He said, “Sir, you’re doing ok, but if you want to be a great boss, just do your job, that’s it, just do your job.” Then we talked about footy. My take:
Command: Represent up, firm and clear direction down.
Lead: Set the standard, PT, drill, always step forward.
Manage: Clear the in-tray/inbox of admin every day.
That’s the job, everything else is secondary.
Keirin Joyce

If you want to be a better leader, lead a group of unpaid volunteers. What the group does doesn’t matter. The key thing is that the leader is only effective if they can motivate the team in an environment of mutual respect. Anything less and people will leave. While at university I held a leadership position in an extra-curricular team. The position had no “command” authority to draw on. The key was to build the team around a shared vision and mutually respectful relationships. Leadership is ultimately about people. There’s no effect without respect.
Chris Bulow

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Cover Image Credit: LACW Emma Schwenke, Defence Images