Bite sized leadership lessons, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words
Most days we pounded the hot pavement seemingly only for his enjoyment… he would shout, “right wheel, continue the wheel!” We ran back the way we came, collecting those fallen behind, right wheel again and continue running. This PT session was a leadership lesson. Whether you are out front or being collected in the wheel, it is irrelevant. If your team is not with you – who is being led? Who will help you win? Who will be beside you when you lose? Leadership can be a long, painful run, so don’t run it by yourself. Right wheel, continue the wheel.
– Christopher Sharp
The tour of Afghanistan ends five days before the baby is due. Surely that’s enough time? ‘No’, says the best OC I’ve served with, ‘there’s a flight a day early … take it just in case’. Flight is on time; baby is six days early. I arrive with six hours to spare, and watch Eleanor come into the world. Eleven years and three more tours later, I’m still in the Army. She is proud of me. Would the family have been the same without that OC? Would I still be in? Hard to say, but leadership and retention go together.
– Thomas McDermott
Years ago, I had a soldier who requested time off and flexibility to enable care and medical support for his critically ill wife. My boss told me to consider the long game. If we denied the request, this soldier’s head and heart would be elsewhere. He’d make mistakes, make his team miserable, and eventually leave the military resenting us. But if we supported him now, he’d return that loyalty for years to come. The lesson is that commitment, support, and loyalty are two-way streets: leaders must offer it to our people in order to inspire it back from them.
– Barbara Honig
Writing this submission was an exercise in self-leadership; a forcing function to reflect on how to lead, and my mistakes on the way. The ‘right’ 100 words didn’t come, despite multiple ideas and drafts. The lessons I wrote sounded sanctimonious and cliched. I toiled. And then in the middle of the night the realisation came: in this iteration, the process was the lesson for me. So this example is a little ‘meta’- reflect, even when it hurts, and if you don’t know what to say, flip the question, seek other perspectives, persevere, and find new words.
– Kate Tollenaar
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Cover Image Credit: LAC Stewart Gould, Defence Images