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You Need a Peer Coach to Become a Better Leader

Peer Coaching

No one grows as a leader without the support from others, which includes superiors, peers, and even subordinates alike. We need people to help make sense of our experiences and of the world. We are often familiar with developmental relationships where we learn from the experience of others, such as through mentoring and on-the-job learning from superiors within your chain of command. Further, many are gaining familiarity with the idea of coaching as a leadership tool, which you can read more about HERE.

Beyond these developmental relationships, which tend to be an “up-down” relationship (a relationship between a superior and subordinate), there is still one source often untapped: your professional peers. Properly leveraged, your peers can be your best source of learning, professional encouragement, and accountability. Peer coaching is an ideal structure for reflection and just one more reflective activity to add to your arsenal of leader learning tools. Through reflection and feedback within your peer coaching relationship, you develop a clearer awareness of personal behaviors and beliefs that affect your performance. Further, work experience alone is insufficient to foster effective learning; we require the assistance of a partner. Continue reading → You Need a Peer Coach to Become a Better Leader

How to Better Understand Army Training

Training Graphic

“A small unit leader should be doing one of two things: leading Soldiers and small units during battle, or preparing Soldiers and small units to fight the battle.” —COL (Ret.) Dandridge Malone, from his book, Small Unit Leadership: A Common Sense Approach.

 “All unit leaders are responsible for quality training. Primary roles involve training subordinate leaders and developing teams” (para 1-21) –U.S. Army’s FM 7-0.

Training can take many forms, from SHARP and resiliency training, to equipment maintenance and accountability, to a unit field training exercise (FTX). No matter the form, military training is conducted to achieve one end: to win in a complex world (FM 7-0, para 1-1). Continue reading → How to Better Understand Army Training

How to Recognize Your Leadership Shortcomings


By John Packham

A friend of mine joined the U.S. Army back in 2000, and he told me was as green as the uniform they made him wear. His boots were too big and he stuffed them with tissue paper to avoid having to go back to stores to get a new size. He said he was afraid of everyone he met. They all seemed to have their act together and the leadership rank was very clear: privates were on the bottom. He knew that if he wanted to become worth more than the chevrons on his chest, he was going to have to earn it. The same is true of leadership in business and life, I believe. If you want to be thought of as a great leader, you need to earn that title and respect. We’ve all met our fair share of leaders who were incapable of “doing a good job” and wonder why they couldn’t see that about themselves? One of the things that make leaders great is their ability to recognize their shortcomings and continue to improve upon them. But how do you identify those shortcomings? And who even wants to point out flaws in themselves? Good leaders, that’s who. Continue reading → How to Recognize Your Leadership Shortcomings

How to Build Trust in Your Organization

Org Trust

One of the most inspiring Bible verses as a military leader is: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his brother” –John 15:13. How do we achieve such love, commitment, and willingness to sacrifice between our “brothers and sisters” in our organization? It starts with trust.

Establishing genuine trust among leaders and followers is truly the holy grail of achieving organizational success. Once it is built, the floodgates of opportunity open. This creates commitment to the organizational vision and goals by your people, the ability to shape and improve your culture, and makes your organization more effective in accomplishing its mission. Trust is the “glue” that binds leaders and followers; it’s what allows your people have confidence in you as their leader. Trust is the greatest gift anyone can give you; it is more valuable than their time, effort, or money because it requires vulnerability.

As a previous boss told me, “relationships are pacing items” (definition of a pacing item provided at the end of this post). Building trust requires influence, and influence is more than mere persuasion. Persuasion is focused on short-term goals by using a single or select few interactions with people to make them see your way. Influence, however, is far-reaching toward long-term goals using numerous interactions, and numerous ways of interacting, directly with people to win them over to your ideas; influence is positive and inspiring. Continue reading → How to Build Trust in Your Organization

Defining a Purpose and a Dream: The New 3×5 Leadership Vision & Goals

Primary Logo

Why does 3×5 Leadership exist? While you read this post, I encourage you to think of a similar question in the back of your mind: “why does my organization or group exist?” While establishing the blog’s own new vision and goals, this post also addresses ways you can put these ideas into action in your own lives.

Organizational vision statements and goals (as well as shared values) are important aspirational components that create meaning and purpose for “stakeholders.” 3×5 Leadership stakeholders, for example, are the committed readers who carve out their time to read the blog’s content. These statements (vision, goals, values) also serve to help people understand why the organization exists, how it intends to make a difference in the world, and what the important beliefs are that drive and connect the people within and external to the organization.

So, why does 3×5 Leadership exist? Here is the new 2018 inspiring vision and intended goals for the blog. Continue reading → Defining a Purpose and a Dream: The New 3×5 Leadership Vision & Goals

A Final 3×5 Leadership Reflection on 2017…and A Look Toward 2018!


Over the 47 blog posts to date, there have been a few key posts that seemed to resonate most with readers. I wanted to end the year by highlighting the five most-read 3×5 Leadership blog posts of 2017 and share some insight into what I think that means. These five posts form only 11% of the total published blog material, but have generated 43% of the total traffic to the site. These posts mean something to readers and I think it is important to discover what that is.

Please share any thoughts you may have over the implications of these top five posts below. Is there anything that you feel we should investigate further and write about on the blog in 2018? I enjoy hearing and value others’ reflections on the blog’s material. Continue reading → A Final 3×5 Leadership Reflection on 2017…and A Look Toward 2018!

2017 Through Books: End of Year Review (July-December)

Book Tree

Leaders learn and learners read.

In hopes to inspire others to commit to reading for personal and professional development, I began sharing what I am reading over the year. I started with a 2017 mid-year review highlighting the books I read from January through June; you can find that post here.

Now, I close 2017 by sharing the books I read over the last six months, July through December. I conclude this post by sharing my top five books of 2017, so make sure you catch those at the bottom of the list!

I completed five of the books on this list as audiobooks via the Audible app. I recommend you check out Audible audiobooks to help support your reading program. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks.

All book titles are listed with hyperlinks to purchase on Amazon in case you want to add that title to your leader library for 2018! Continue reading → 2017 Through Books: End of Year Review (July-December)

One Year of 3×5 Leadership: Reflecting on Reflecting

Soldier Writing Letter Home

Exactly one year ago, on 12 December 2016, I made 3×5 Leadership public and began sharing the blog online and across social media. Inspired by the military blogging giants of The Military Leader and From the Green Notebook, I have tried my hand at sharing personal reflections and lessons through a blog with no idea if it would resonate with others or if it would materialize into much.

Now with tens of thousands of blog visitors and hundreds of followers via email and social media, all I can say is that I am immensely grateful and humbled by the feedback. Though my experiences are singular, it certainly seems that the lessons from them are not. I never imagined anyone cared to hear what I have to share, but it seems there are a few out there that in fact may. Thank you for your feedback; it is one of the greatest personal pleasures to hear from readers that what I am sharing is helping them in their own lives and organizations. Thank you for your responses; I always want additional input so that readers can learn from each other, not just my singular thoughts. Most importantly, thank you for your time; I know readers must deliberately carve out time in their busy lives to grow their leadership capacities, and time is never abundant. Thank you for choosing to make 3×5 Leadership one of those platforms you choose to learn and grow. Continue reading → One Year of 3×5 Leadership: Reflecting on Reflecting

A Leader’s Mentality: Reflections for Junior Military Leaders

Jason Post Pic

3×5 Leadership Blog Note: This post’s author, Jason, was my third executive officer (XO) while I was in company command. He is a good friend and a professional I highly respect. In being the third XO during my command, Jason’s priorities were not on establishing new and robust unit systems; all of our management systems were in place for the most part. This provided him a rare opportunity to look beyond an XO’s daily “close fight” and pay attention to much larger-scope initiatives. Combining this opportunity with Jason’s professional maturity, high intellect, and passion for transformational leadership, he created the below list for other Lieutenant peers. I was immensely impressed with Jason’s reflections and feel many junior leaders can learn from them.  

By Jason Hu

As I neared the completion of my time as an executive officer and began preparing my replacement to assume responsibility; I wanted to summarize the principles I learned and tried to embody on a daily basis as a junior Army leader. When Josh was my commander, I learned and grew so much, and one of the things he indoctrinated in me was to “always leave the organization better than how you found it”. With that, I decided to write some of the tenets that guided me and publish them to other junior leaders within our company and battalion. Although these tenets are aimed towards junior leaders such as the XO, platoon leaders, and platoon-level NCOs, the extrapolated lessons can be applied to leaders in most echelons. I do not think these reflections are a proven recipe for success, but they do serve as a solid foundation to build upon; they worked for me, and they can be helpful to others too. Continue reading → A Leader’s Mentality: Reflections for Junior Military Leaders

Christmas Gift Guide for the Military Tactical & Inquisitive Leader

Xmas Post Pic

Do you have a military, tactical, and/or inquisitive leader in your life? Are you stumped on possible Christmas or holiday gift ideas for them? 3×5 Leadership is here to help. Below are 15 gift ideas that I believe in and feel the leader in your life can benefit from. Happy shopping, Merry Christmas, and happy holidays! Continue reading → Christmas Gift Guide for the Military Tactical & Inquisitive Leader