Leadership is tough. We rarely get taught how to do it, or spend enough much time thinking about it before we are in a leadership role.
Before we have realized it, we have often been in post a short time and inadvertently set an undesirable culture and tone, and may consider it too late to change. The good news is, it is rarely too late to make improvements.
As a leader, every small thing you do (or don’t do) counts. Everything you say is scrutinized and every action judged. If this concerns you, good — it should do. Leaders are…
I have had the privilege of serving as an Army Officer for 15 years and I been given some of the best Leadership training and education in the world. At the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, the UK Defence Academy and throughout my service both on and off operations, I was, and am, always learning.
A critical part of that experience is that I have been exposed to some incredibly impressive senior Officers and Soldiers during my career. It is these role model leaders from whom I have probably learned the most (see another example below).
It was during a tour…
I remember the first time I saw Captain Wickstead. He was wearing full Service Dress, with his full rack of medals across his chest — a staggering 14 in all.
I was so impressed. I had been in the British Army for less than three months, of course I would be. However, I knew enough to know that this man had some seriously impressive experience. A glance at the ribbons on his chest confirmed he has more than done his bit for Her Majesty.
I summoned the courage to talk to him, and said “Sir, you must be very proud…
The smiling Elf in his traditional red suit, with troublingly dead eyes is back. Locked away in the attic or garage, he has recently been unwrapped and placed in homes across the nation.
Sat on the mantle piece between a gnome with a light up nose, and that picasso-esque, disturbing clay model of a reindeer you made when you were 10 years old, he takes pride of place.
However, the eponymous character from the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ has become a popular Christmas adornment, but with a sinister function.
He an agent of manipulation. He is big brother for children…
There are multitudes of leadership trait lists available, some exhaustive, some refined. Broadly speaking, they all have merit. After 14 years as a British Army Officer, I have lead soldiers on and off operations and been both privileged and fortunate to do so. The honor of the opportunity aside, it really allowed me to refine what I consider the pre-eminent leadership trait to be. And I think I have settled on it.
Of course, it can not work in isolation, but without integrity, as I will explain, all other actions as a leader can and will be undermined.
One of the inalienable truths of life is that we cannot change the decisions we have made in the past. Regrets over that missed opportunity endure, as does the impact of a bad call made.
However such contemplation of decisions we have made, in Leadership and Life, is not the preserve of the old or the retired. It is not something to do on our deathbed and wish it had all happened differently. Instead, it should be a guiding light in the decisions we are making now, and those we will make tomorrow.
We need to decide what is ‘Important’…
The inspiration for this article is drawn from my 14 years of experience as a British Army Officer. One of the key mottos for Leadership which I aspired to adhere to was to respond, not react.
This may seem a contrivance, but in the context of having to make decisions that may have a real impact on the lives of my team, both on and off operations, the imperative to make the correct decision was paramount.
The ability to take stock of a situation, even for 30 seconds, allows us to make the best decision possible, particularly when the pressure…
Imagine you are in a pool of water. It is still.
You are aware of nothing above it or beyond it. The temperature is comfortable. You are used to it.
You feel content. You feel calm. You feel stable.
Now imagine that the water starts to churn. It feels too cold. It dominates all of your senses, but no longer feels like a comfort.
Your all-encompassing, saturating environment is no longer your sanctuary. You are no longer content. You are no longer calm. You are no longer stable.
The winds of change are blowing.
You have an awareness of the…
We’re doing alright, aren’t we? Things seem to be going well? Nothing disastrous is happening, or even if it is, it will be over soon.
Wrong. And the worst part of it is, we can do something so simple about it.
We need to review where are we heading before it is too late.
You need to check your bearing, right now!
Simply put, it is the direction you’re heading in.
Your bearing is the line you are taking through life, and though it may seem that you are heading in the right direction, you may not be.
I have written about the importance of integrity a number of times — I believe that it forms one of the key characteristics of leadership. In my mind, integrity is fundamental to generating trust and mutual respect, which are central to having an effective and productive team.
This idea of honesty and integrity is also fundamentally important, in leadership or life. Strong, well established relationships, of any kind, must be built on trust.
A hard truth is always better than an easy lie, and I was to learn this at the very start of my career as a British Army…
Leader | Writer | Army Officer | Husband | Dad. Not in that order. Focus on Leadership, Personal Growth & Self Improvement.