Bite sized leadership lessons, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words
Fatigue will break metal. Fatigue is defined as weakness caused by repeated variations of stress. As a Squadron Commanding Officer, I lost a jet in the middle of the ocean on a dark night. I didn’t know if the two aircrew were alive. Two hours later, I hugged them both after they walked off the helicopter on the carrier deck. I went from the scariest moment to the best moment of my command tour. Being a leader is going to involve emotional variations that can break you. You must remain emotionally flexible to remain strong for your people.
– Colin Price
What can I do better?
When conducting a debrief, I asked a soldier to comment on me as their commander. I specifically asked them to tell me one thing I did well, one thing I did not do well, and what can I do better. The answer shocked me! What was even more shocking was how simple the remedy was. Despite my practices of feedback, peer review and self-reflection, I missed something in my own behaviour that affected my subordinates. We may not always be able to change the way we do things, but we should at least consider asking.
– Matthew Dabinet
Most nights, Dad would come in from the dairy, have dinner and then start on his nightly phone calls wrangling (coercing?) volunteers for the local show society. ‘You’ve just got to ask them’ he’d say. ‘Expect the best of them – most people want to help, they just don’t know how.’ While I can’t claim his abilities in bending people to will, those early lessons of service, of commitment, of expecting the best of people, of being a part of the community have shaped the kind of leader I am today. Expect the best of people – they just might surprise you!
– Pip Cleary
“Even if no one reads it, at least we’ve given it a crack.”
These words were intended to comfort the nerves of my Propel Her co-founder (and myself) the evening before we launched our initiative for defence women. Thankfully, Propel Her was a hit which continues to attract diverse readership and publish inspiring guest authors. This taught me that people do not need to be delivering speeches like General Patton to lead. All the different types of leadership are valuable in their own way. To me, leaders create a supportive space for ingenuity, respectful debate, and leadership growth of others.
– Lyndsay Freeman
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Cover Image Credit: Corporal Jarrod McAneney, Defence Images