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

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

Fiction and Future War_3x5 Leadership

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

Self-Development Begets Leader Development

Leader Development Handbook Cover Image_3x5 Leadership

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

One of the most critical lessons I learned as a junior officer and the first piece of advice I offer to young officers is: the Army won’t teach you everything you need to know to be successful in your next job. You need to demonstrate some initiative and do everything you can to learn key aspects of that next job on your own before you get there.

To be successful as a leader and as a leader developer, there must be a deliberate and routine effort toward self-development.

Self-Development Before Leader Development

Self-development is the second step in our leader development approach, pictured below. Before you can lead others, you must lead yourself well. More importantly, you can’t develop others if you’re not developing yourself. Consistently growing your own knowledge, skills, and abilities must occur before you can begin to do the same for the leaders around you. It’s about setting the example as a life-long learner for others and inspiring them to ultimately take responsibility for their own growth. While role-modeling does not necessarily equate to leader development (you can’t develop leaders only through your personal example), it is a critical first step for every leader developer. Continue reading → Self-Development Begets Leader Development

A Review of 2018 Through Books

Review of 2018 Through Books_3x5 Leadership

I had the great fortune of completing my 2018 reading goal of 50 books this week. To many busy professionals, myself included, that is a pretty large number. I totally get that it may seem unrealistic to many. So, upfront, I want to share my two greatest personal reading lessons from 2018:

  • Learn to leverage the power of audiobooks. As you can see in the books I read in July through December 2018, below, approximately half of them where audiobooks, annotated by the asterisk (*) at the end of the author’s name. Filling times of mindless busy work with audiobook listening drastically improved my capacity to consume additional literature. Learn more about my thoughts on the power of audiobooks here.
  • In his post on the Field Grade Leader blog, Franklin Annis offered one of my favorite thoughts about self-development: choose learning over non-learning activities. Effective self-development requires disciplined habits, which can include choices such as listening to an audiobook instead of music, reading a few pages in your book over skimming social media, or engaging in some personal reflection activity over watching TV. Choosing reading activities can add minutes to your self-development time each week. Considering the bigger picture, minutes add up to hours, and hours add to multiple additional books completed.

Below are my favorite five books I read this year, followed by the other 17 books I read in the second half of the year, July through December. Check out the books I read in the first half of 2018 here. I share this list to help inspire others to commit to reading for personal development and to equip them with some recommended titles if looking for the next book to dig into. Continue reading → A Review of 2018 Through Books

Celebrating Two Years of Leader Development!

2 Year Anniversary Post_3x5 Leadership

Today, 3×5 Leadership turns two years old. Though I never really expected anyone beyond my wife and my mom to read my thoughts on this blog, I started it to share my lessons learned from my experiences and education; my experiences may be singular, but the lessons from them certainly are not. In time, I’ve learned that my blogging has become a critical means of personal reflection, which has ultimately made me a better leader. I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to contribute to our community of practice over the last two years and I look forward to doing so still in the years to come.

So, first, thank you all for your continued support. One year ago today, 3×5 Leadership had 100 subscribers. Over this past year, our subscriber community has grown to almost 1,300 and we surpassed the 100,000 views threshold. I’m certainly not motivated by, nor do I do this for the numbers, but it is humbling to know that this platform has had some sort of impact on a few other people. So, again, thank you for your support. Continue reading → Celebrating Two Years of Leader Development!

Three New Benefits I Learned About Writing and Sharing

Benefits of Writing_3x5 Leadership

A number of other amateur writers and I have shared numerous thoughts on why we write, and moreover, have challenged our readers to do the same. From contributing to a community of practice, to writing as a means of learning, and forming your legacy, writing has its numerous benefits, both to your greater profession and to you personally.

I started my own writing and the 3×5 Leadership platform over 18 months ago under the premise of two ideas: 1) leader development occurs daily, not in a day, and 2) though my experiences are singular, the lessons from them certainly are not. With no real expectation that others would value, let alone read, my thoughts, I started to write in order to offer reflections from my experiences and recommended application to help others on their daily leader growth journey. Continue reading → Three New Benefits I Learned About Writing and Sharing

A Model of Effective Goal-Setting for Leaders

Goal-Setting_3x5 Leadership

Goal-setting can be an effective tool for leaders to provide challenge, focus, and motivation to their people. Unfortunately, this tool is often underutilized or poorly implemented. I recently showcased how it can be poorly implemented; this is a lesson learned from personal failure.

As part of my role in advising and coaching Cadets through their summer training leadership assignments, I intended to make goal-setting an important component of our initial counseling. During these counselings, I aimed to not only outline the Cadets’ roles and responsibilities for the summer, but to allow them to develop some personal goals for their assignment to help maximize the developmental impact of their experience. I found that I ran into one major issue during these counseling sessions while working with the Cadets to form their goals: the goals they created were poorly defined and incomplete, preventing our ability to track progress and achievement over the five-week experience. The Cadets were creating goals around the right ideas, but they were just incomplete ones. We established goals such as “to delegate and empower my subordinates as much as possible” or “to become better organized and more efficient with my time.” Great ideas, but they have no way of showing tangible progress. That was a failure on my part as the formal leader in the situation. I was not making this an effective developmental tool for the Cadets; it turned into more of a “check the block” requirement with little potential for impact. Continue reading → A Model of Effective Goal-Setting for Leaders

Books of 2018: My Mid-Year Review of Completed Books

3x5 Leadership_2018 Reading List Part I

If you follow 3×5 Leadership, even just casually, you know that I emphasize reading as a critical means of self-development. So far, 2018 has been an extremely impactful time of learning through reading for me. If you want to learn my thoughts on reading for self-development, I encourage you to check out my “Leaders are Readers” series and my Junior Officer Reading & Self-Development List.

I humbly share my reading list, below, to start a “conversation” with readers. I want to get others to not only think about the value of reading, but to help offer recommendations of what books to consider. Continue reading → Books of 2018: My Mid-Year Review of Completed Books

What Is Your Leadership “One Big Thing?”

Leadership One Big Thing_3x5 Leadership

I met with a friend recently who just finished reading Radical Inclusion, by GEN (Ret.) Martin Dempsey and Ori Brafman. During our conversation, he anxiously claimed, “there is so much from that book that I want to start doing, I don’t even know where to start.”

I think we have all been there in some capacity. I felt the same way when I finished David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! Personally, with all of the books, blogs, journals, and podcasts I routinely engage in, it is easy for me to get overwhelmed with the new ideas for leadership improvement and organizational development. I often feel compelled to do it all now, though I know it won’t be effective or sustainable. Even all of the 3×5 Leadership blog posts, when considered collectively, can easily send a message of “do all of this now!”

So, I want to offer a simple model of personal leader development and a strategy to focus on the most important improvements to develop as a leader. The model, below, is broken down into four steps that I recommend you follow, where each step encourages you to write out a statement or a list. You’ll end with an identified leader behavior to improve on, the purpose of it, an actionable strategy, and timeline to work in it. Continue reading → What Is Your Leadership “One Big Thing?”