The best leader I ever met barely graduated high school.
He was a Sergeant of mine when I was a young Marine. The Marines under him loved him and would follow him anywhere. The Marines above him respected him greatly.
He wasn’t book smart. In fact, he could barely spell, but he was “people-smart” which is much more powerful. He knew how people felt. He felt what people wanted. He had the highest emotional intelligence of anyone I’ve ever met. He knew how to light a fire in our souls then get the very best from us. …
I’ve found in life that the simplest advice is often the most powerful and that small habits you adopt paint the big picture of who you are. This observation holds true with leadership.
Admiral William McRaven, in his commencement speech to the graduates at The University of Texas, said:
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. …
I pictured myself in military prison, my future ruined. Thoughts like this were racing through my head as I sprinted back to the barracks from the rifle range.
“Oh crap, Oh crap, Oh crap….where is it?” I thought as a cold sweat trickled down my brow.
There was an M16 rifle missing. Gone. We couldn’t find it. We were on the rifle range in Marine Boot Camp on Parris Island, South Carolina.
Somehow I’d finagled my way into being the ‘Platoon Guide’, which is basically the leader of the other 75 recruits in the platoon. …
I remember once in the Marines I was speaking to a man named Joe Dowdy, a “full-bird” Colonel, who was about to lead over 7,000 men and women into battle. This is about as close to having God-like powers as any man can have but he was talking to me like a beloved teacher may speak to one of his favorite students.
I wasn’t his favorite Marine, of course — we all were. This extreme down-to-earth humility made him one of the most well-loved officers in the Marine Corps. A “Marine’s Marine.”
Think of the bosses, teachers, coaches, or leaders…
The air was warm and sweet. The earthy pungency of the damp forest floor blended with the clean smell of rain to produce an aroma that can only be described as joy.
“We need to do this more! Spending time in nature like this is good for the soul!” I said as I brushed a few drenched locks of hair from my smiling eyes.
“Exactly!” my teenage niece agreed with a smile.
My wife, kids, and their cousins were finishing up a challenging five-mile hike on a beautiful Spring day in Pennsylvania recently.
As we finished the last two miles…
“Nooooooooo! What the hell are you doing, Sergeant?” the Lieutenant screamed as he sprinted towards me through the dusty chaos.
“You know that Filipino news crew is here to do a story on us disturbing the peace around here, right?” he exclaimed breathlessly.
“No, I didn’t Sir, but I think I just proved their point,” I said.
The Sergeant next to me doubled over in laughter as the PR Lieutenant’s face was beet red with various emotions…but the damage had already been done.
You may not be one of those bosses that crawled from the pits of hell but if you do any of these annoying things you may be starting to grow horns.
The thing is, these are so easy to just stop doing.
I’ve studied and practiced leadership for 25 years in military, corporate, and volunteer settings and I’ve seen bosses do all of these things. Actually, I’ve done most of them myself before I realized how annoying I was!
If you do these things, please just stop. Your employees will thank you.
I was out to eat with someone recently…
One of the greatest things I’ve ever learned in life is that everyone around you has something they can teach you. The mailman. The toxic boss. The young child. The loving parent. The crazy neighbor. In that way, every person is wiser than you in some way.
When you realize this, you can more easily tap into wisdom from everywhere that will not only make you a better boss, but a better human being.
Realizing this fact has made me more humble. It’s made me a better listener. …
“What do you mean you don’t know?” my boss asked.
“I don’t know…but I’ll find out the answer and get back to you as soon as I have it,” I replied.
Instead of accepting a perfectly acceptable and truthful answer, he kept at it.
“Why don’t you know?”
“Because I don’t know everything all the time but I value getting you an accurate answer. Would you rather I feed you a false response that just sounds good so you think I know?” I asked back.
He got my point.
Unless it’s something so basic to my job description that…
I’ve been churning out an article on average every 2–3 days or so for over a year. I know 12–15 articles per month isn’t prolific to some powerhouse content producers, but for me it is. I work a full-time job and just like other parents, I prioritize spending time with my family.
So the only way I can write if I want to publish consistently is to write quickly. The only way I can write quickly and maintain quality is if I adopt attitudes conducive to doing both.
Note: you don’t have to pressure yourself to publish every few days…