Tiny Leadership Tales: ‘I Set My Jaw’

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

The Greatest Weapon – Mom 

I used positional/personal power to unite the team. One soldier tested this, despite many attempts to understand and bring him in. At work he was defiant, yet cordially attended events. He simply wanted out of Army. After exhausting all resources, we brought in his mother. He was shocked to hear her on the conference call during one of many counselling sessions. This is what made him see that his actions were hurting the team and he started to comply. On his last day, he shook my hand and thanked me for not giving up on him.
Anthony Grajales

During my ab initio training, a guest speaker presented on the topic of leadership and resilience. He gave us an exercise to do– write down the first three words that come to your mind when you think about who you want to be as a leader; your ‘leadership identity’. The first two came instantly: competent and compassionate. The third came later: wise. Since then, I’ve tried to deliberately embed those in my leadership style. To be good at what I do, to be good to others, and to make good decisions.
Christopher Wooding

Recently back from a deployment and due to receive my first medal, the presentation was timed to ensure the battalion’s incoming command team would be the ones to present me with the award. When the presentation was over, the new RSM came straight over and shook my hand, before asking about me, my medal, and the deployment. I still remember how much it meant to have the most experienced soldier of the battalion take such an interest in me. Looking back on it, that first moment with the RSM laid the foundation for what’s been a really formative relationship since.
– Brody Hannan

Should I tell him first? Crash was his best mate. We are a team. We all knew Crash. We are all in this together and we have been this way for 8 months. Bad news doesn’t age, it is time for a quick decision. What would I do? Do unto others. What would I want? I set my jaw. 
There are tears in my eyes. I tell the whole team together. It was the best thing to do. Honest, raw, brutal, unflinching honesty. No facade. Tears in my eyes but resolve on my face. We are all in this together.
Julian Hohnen

When I was a squadron commander, I had my admin shop give me a list of everyone who birthdays coming up. We made a simple birthday card template (just A4 paper folded in half, printed on the same nice paper used for awards) and I’d personalize them with a note and deliver them with the Sergeant Major. It helps you get to know the troops – the act of hand-writing a couple of sincere sentences about a person means you need to find out what they’re doing well, what they’re struggling with, what their goals are – and shows them you care.
Edward H. Carpenter

What is Tiny Leadership Tales? Find out here.

Cover Image Credit: LAC Stewart Gould, Defence Images