In The 1950’s, the military wrote a manual called “The Armed Services Officer.” It was a plan of General George C. Marshal and General Eisenhower added to its pages as well. These were fine men and within its pages is a section on leadership and the 5 things leaders need.
We as a society, and as men, lack Leadership in our lives and we need more of it. Here are the 5 qualities named in the manual:
- Quiet resolution.
- Being effective as a leader requires stick to it-ness. The will to get things done. Think on some of your mentors in life, they had the rock solid frame that when things got rough they were there and did not quit. Work to cultivate this in yourself. Do you wilt the minute things go bad? Or do you do as Edmond Dantés, in the great book “The Count of Monte Cristo,” did and stand upon that rock and shout into the wind; Do your worst. “Life is a storm my young friend, you will bask in the sunlight one moment and be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man, is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into the storm and shout as you did in Rome. ‘Do your worst for I will do mine.’ Then the Fates will know you as we know you, as Albert Mondego, the man.”
- The will to take full responsibility for decisions.
- I served in the US Navy and am a 5th Dan in karate (5th degree black belt). I have seen and trained with some great men and women over the years. Some of the best leaders in my recollection are the ones who stood tall for their actions, good and bad, and they did not hide behind others or blame things on their superiors. Some believe that leaders, especially aspiring leaders, should hide weaknesses and mistakes. I feel this view is flawed. It is not only good to admit you are wrong when you are, it can also be a powerful tool for leaders. It can actually increase legitimacy and, when practiced regularly, can help to build a culture that actually increases solidarity, innovation, openness to change and many other positive features of organizational life. If you would like a Fantastic primer on how to apologize, read Brian C. Rideout’s “The Art of the Apology.” The link to his blog is on my page. Brian is an amazing leader and a great mentor to me. On a side note I know he will be an amazing father as well.
- The hardihood to take risks.
- Few people lie in their death beds and look back upon their life and cherish the time they played it safe. They instead remember the experiences, the moments burned into their mind by the fire of life. My sister in law has painted on the wall in her home “Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away.” Think on this. How many moments can you miss by never even playing? Get in the game!
- The readiness to share its rewards with subordinates.
- Great leaders have an understanding of how to create a work environment that builds self-confidence. Great leaders don’t allow their subordinates to blame circumstances or environment for their failures. They have an energy that is optimistic and focus on possibilities rather than problems. This “can-do” outlook becomes contagious. As a result, employee motivation and confidence continually increase, and so does everyone’s success rate. They genuinely share and bask in your success as the success of the team. Sometimes this is lost on folks, who scheme to take the credit for the actions of those they are supposed to lead.
- An equal readiness to take the blame when things go adversely.
- This one speaks with a resounding tone to me. I have seen many times those who will not stand up for their decisions and attempt to pass on the blame. Bosses and leaders who take blame and then say “I took the heat on this one for you guys, you owe me.” That is weak and shows low value. I am not sure how many times in the dojo or at a tournament, I made a decision that did not work out the way I intended. However, I always, always, took the heat for “My Call.” One instance I can recall was a tournament I was invited to attend where I happened to be the head judge: one of the competitors (the son of the promotor) was complaining of too heavy contact but I did not see this take place. I called my judges together and questioned each one of them as to what they were observing. Two of the four happened to be black belts of the promoter of the tournament. I assured them to just tell me what they saw and that I am accountable for the ring and should there be any fallout results, I will handle them. I remember both of them being visibly relieved by that. Needless to say none of my judges saw any excessive contact either and so I deemed the match continue. But the promotor was not happy with my ruling and he wanted the other competitor disqualified. I refused. He was not happy with my decision but I stood by it, despite some hurt feeling and pride on his part. The next year I was invited back, where he called me out in front of the entire crowd and commented on my integrity.
The nerve to survive a storm and disappointment and face each new day with the scoresheet wiped clean, neither dwelling on one’s successes nor accepting discouragement from one’s failures, is what builds Quiet Resolution.