When Our Leadership Isn’t Good Enough

When Our Leadership Isn't Enough_3x5 Leadership

By: Chad Plenge

I hope every leader out there wants to do their best and wants to help those around them become better. Developing others is so deeply ingrained in the role of a leader that it can easily become part of the leader’s identity. As any experienced leader can tell you, though, subordinates get a “vote” in the process, potentially making any sort of development impossible. Leaders may not always be able to impact everyone and the resources necessary (time, etc) to make the required impact may not be realistic or feasible. The old adage goes, “90% of your time is spent on 10% of your people.” If this is true, it can leave many around you under-developed. However, this article is not about your time allocation or even about the other 90%; it is about those 10%…the ones that presented you with a challenge and the ones that were failing. What happens if part of the problem is you?  Continue reading → When Our Leadership Isn’t Good Enough

Self-Awareness & Your Leadership Effectiveness

Self-Awareness & Your Leadership Effectiveness_3x5 Leadership

Bottom line: improved self-awareness directly leads to improved effectiveness as a leader. Research proves it. And I bet many of your own experiences prove it as well.

This concept of self-awareness is challenging, though. It’s complex, it’s hard to conceptualize, and often harder to operationalize in our own or others’ lives. But, it is essential in our growth and development as leaders.

In my experience and my learning, I’ve found that we can categorize self-awareness into three primary domains: personality, skills & abilities, values & motives. This model helps us better understand and simplify this complex concept, improve our learning and the language we use to discuss it, and ultimately more effectively operationalize it in our behaviors. Continue reading → Self-Awareness & Your Leadership Effectiveness

A Junior Officer’s Perspective on Surviving as an Aide-de-Camp: 6 Rules for Success

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By CPT Desmond Clay (LG), CPT Paul Guzman (AR), and CPT Kyle Hensley (LG)

Serving as an aide-de-camp to a General Officer is a humbling and unique experience. This is one of the relatively rare jobs where a junior officer has an opportunity to gain insight on how the “Big Army” runs. Although it has been a few years since we served as aide-de-camps (AdC), there are a few enduring lessons we would like to share. Rarely is the transition period long enough to capture or discuss every possible contingency. Although there is a formal course for an enlisted aide, there is not a course for an AdC. Luckily, there is a General Officer Aide Handbook to help you navigate through this small community with some really helpful tips (1). We think there are six rules for success. Continue reading → A Junior Officer’s Perspective on Surviving as an Aide-de-Camp: 6 Rules for Success

Ownership

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By Pete Fovargue

When I turned 16, I bought a red 1990 Dodge Dakota.

I washed that truck several times each month and did all of the routine maintenance. I drove it carefully and was reluctant to let anyone else drive it, even my parents. I was proud of my ride. That truck was a major step toward adulthood and the responsibility that comes with it. I felt complete ownership for my truck because my parents were clear. If you want a car, you buy it. If you want to drive your car, you pay for the gas. All of the costs and benefits were mine alone.

Ownership isn’t tied to a thing like a truck, it is tied to an environment. How many people change the oil in a rental car? For a rental car, it is completely different. You pay for the privilege to not care about the car itself, just the transportation it provides. You can forget about the responsibility of dings and scratches, just pay a small fee for insurance. You don’t care if the car gets regular oil changes.  You only care that it works for your week long vacation. Continue reading → Ownership

Happiness and Success: Embracing Your Unit, Soldiers, and Oneself for Outstanding Leadership and Fulfillment

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By Harrison “Brandon” Morgan

As a young Cadet at West Point, like many of my fellow classmates, I dreamed of one day becoming a Special Forces team leader, leading my detachment through the trials of unconventional warfare. During two separate summers, I even attempted both the Combat Diver Course and Special Forces Selection.

It didn’t work out. I’m currently a staff officer in an armored brigade. And I absolutely love it. Before this assignment, I served as a Platoon Leader and Executive Officer in an Airborne Infantry Battalion with a completely different mission, culture, and capability set. The leaders that I have seen who were the happiest and, correspondingly, the most successful in these diverse units displayed the same tenants that can be applied in any formation across the Army. Continue reading → Happiness and Success: Embracing Your Unit, Soldiers, and Oneself for Outstanding Leadership and Fulfillment

Self-Development and Preparing for Future War

 

Self-Development and Preparing for Future War_3x5 Leadership

I believe any formal leader of an organization must consistently spend time and effort asking questions like, “what’s next?” and “what if?” for their people they lead. Leading truly purposeful and effective organizations requires deliberate forecasting, thinking about the future, and considering all of the change that the future can bring.

It is no different for military leaders and the future of war.

Last week, Zavier Radecker wrote a great piece on 3×5 Leadership challenging military leaders to consider reading fiction as a means to help prepare for the future of war. I couldn’t agree more. I believe military leaders need to read on and think about future war much more than we currently do – myself included. Continue reading → Self-Development and Preparing for Future War

Fiction and Future War

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By Zavier Radecker

If you’re not fighting the war of today, prepare for the war of tomorrow.

Since joining the profession of arms, this has been my guiding principle. If you’re not fighting today, then prepare to fight tomorrow. What we faced in our most recent conflicts will not exactly be what we face in our future conflicts.

In today’s global environment, wars are no longer declared and no longer follow the rules as they did in the past. Asymmetric and indirect operations take precedence and war is waged simultaneously in all physical environments and the information space. The enemy is no longer the most important target in the battlefield. Instead, his critically important facilities are. This has been accepted as the norm, notably in a 2016 report by the Russian Chief of the General Staff. Continue reading → Fiction and Future War

Building & Reinforcing a Culture of Development

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This is part 10, the conclusion, of the 3×5 Leader Development Handbook. I encourage you to start with the series introduction here if you have not yet.

Imagine so valuing the importance of developing people’s capabilities that you design a culture…[which] sweeps every member of the organization into an ongoing developmental journey in the course of working every day.

An Everyone Culture, by Fobert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

I like to imagine our organizational leader development processes like building a garden. We can envision what we want our garden to look like and what we want to get out of it – certain vegetables, plants, and/or flowers. We then build the actual garden in the selected location with high-quality resources. Finally, we plant our desired plants. However, we know that gardening does not stop once the plants are planted; that is only the beginning. Gardens require consistent attention – watering, pruning, re-fertilizing, etc. – all done and re-done season after season. Moreover, different plants have different needs like varied levels of water, sunlight, pruning, and types of fertilizer.

Our leader development approach is very similar. We can create the most robust, highest quality development process with impactful activities, but much like a garden, our developmental approach must receive consistent attention and “pruning.” Leaders must routinely and continuously reinforce a culture of development after we have initiated our processes and activities. Continue reading → Building & Reinforcing a Culture of Development

Leader Development Through Mentorship

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This is part 9 of the 3×5 Leader Development Handbook. I encourage you to start with the series introduction here if you have not yet.

When looking at the great leaders of the past and present, either universally known or just impactful in our own lives, we often see a trend that they were not self-made men or women. Considering some of the famous military leaders of the 20th century, for example – George Marshall, George Patton, and Dwight Eisenhower – they all share a common thread through their careers: deliberate mentorship by Fox Connor.

I am no expert on mentorship, but any holistic approach to leader development is not complete without the inclusion of this topic. As leadership author, Dr. John C. Maxwell, states, “one of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” We need help looking ahead, filling gaps, and making sense of experiences. Mentorship is essential to an effective leader development process and it is the final method in our Leader Development Matrix. Continue reading → Leader Development Through Mentorship

Leader Development Programs: Creating Time and Space for Leader Development

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This is part 8 of the 3×5 Leader Development Handbook. I encourage you to start with the introduction here if you have not yet.

In his book, Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni challenges readers asking, “how much time has been set aside for team building?” I echo this sentiment to leader development – how much time is being set aside for leader development in our organization?

Leader development is absolutely a process; it must occur daily, not in a day. As we’ve explored throughout this series so far, leaders need to create and maximize the types and quantities of touchpoints for leader development. On-the-job development, coaching, and feedback are great ways we can routinely develop our emerging leaders amidst our day-to-day duties. However, I believe it is also important to carve out dedicated time and space for deliberate leader development, where our people take a pause from the busyness of day-to-day work and focus on our collective leader development. This calls for formal leaders to create a leader development program (LPD) within their organization, which is the third method outlined in our 3×5 Leader Development Matrix. Continue reading → Leader Development Programs: Creating Time and Space for Leader Development