Ownership

Ownership_3x5 Leadership

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

Never Underestimate the Power of Appreciation

3x5 Leadership_Never Underestimate the Power of Appreciation

Opening note: I interchange the use of appreciation and gratitude in this post; they are synonymous.

I firmly believe that “true” leadership is based on influence, not power or authority. My favorite definition of leadership comes from John C. Maxwell, “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” Leading through influence requires leaders to earn the trust of their people; through care, compassion, and empathy; and often being someone that others like to work with (termed social cohesion). One aspect of influence-based leadership that is often ignored is the act of showing appreciation and gratitude. Never underestimate the power of appreciation!

In his book, Love Does, Bob Goff states that, “people need love and appreciation more than they need advice.” I like to pair this thought with two other quotes to best capture the impact of appreciation in our leadership: Charles Schwab is credited for saying, “the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” Finally, author Gertrude Stein stated that, “silent gratitude isn’t [worth] very much to anyone.” Continue reading → Never Underestimate the Power of Appreciation

Are We A Family or A Team?

Freeing the beast
Members of 3rd Platoon, Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, work at dislodging their M-777 155mm howitzer from the three-foot deep hole it dug its spades into after firing several rocket assisted projectiles Sept. 3. The huge weapon weighs 9,000 pounds and can launch projectiles more 30 kilometers.

When you consider your organization and its people, do you consider them a family or a team? It may seem trivial and many leaders may not put much brainpower toward considering what noun to use. Some may even use the words interchangeably.

I believe that the descriptor you use implies a number of assumptions about how your people work together and thus has a major effect on your organization’s interpersonal dynamics. Being considered a family may inherently authorize your people to do certain things, while being a team may unconsciously deter them from those same behaviors. What you call your organization can have major impacts on your climate and certain behavioral norms. Thus, it is rather important to select the right word to describe your organization so that you set the appropriate tone and precedence.

I first offer thoughts from two books that are high on my recommended list for leader development; one supports for a family attitude, while the other adamantly argues against being a family. Finally, I cover thoughts to consider when determining to be a family or team; think on these and determine what is most important and most needed for your organization. Ultimately, I find that there is no right answer. It is a matter of what you value most and the kind of results you want to see from your people. I just encourage others to deliberately consider, and even talk to your people about, what type of organization we want to be: a family or a teamContinue reading → Are We A Family or A Team?

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

Achieving Honesty: Improving Subordinate Leader Assessments & Feedback

Thunder Run

Prior to commanding a company, I never gave much thought to evaluations. I am not generally concerned with my own evaluations; I firmly believe that if you take care of your Soldiers and your mission, your evaluation takes care of itself. As a staff officer and platoon leader, I was also never in a position where I was rating or senior rating Soldiers that I didn’t interact with on a daily and professionally intimate basis. Upon assuming command, my pool of subordinates that I rated or senior rated drastically increased. In my 18 months of company command, I rated/senior rated three First Sergeants, three XOs, three Operations Sergeants, nine platoon leaders, nine platoon sergeants, and over a dozen squad leaders. As much as I wanted to and tried, as a company commander, it was not feasible to work with all of these individuals personally, like I could as a platoon leader.

So, how did this impact my Soldiers, NCOs, and Officers?  More broadly, how do leaders ensure they do subordinates justice when it comes time for evaluation reports? This is a conundrum for every commander, from company and beyond. Continue reading → Achieving Honesty: Improving Subordinate Leader Assessments & Feedback

Military Leadership Is Really About Trust

shutterstock_104678732

By Joseph Callejas

Many are familiar with the saying, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” To be honest, this idea is what I leaned on as a Lieutenant and platoon leader. Continuing with my honesty, I now realize I was a rather immature Lieutenant and platoon leader. In reflecting on why I leveraged this ineffective leadership method, I learned that I wanted to guarantee mission success…I wanted to get results. I was obsessed with becoming the “go-to guy” in my unit; I was a hard-working officer who was committed to achieving the mission. After some necessary maturing and through a caring boss who took the time to coach and mentor me through some of my decisions, I’ve come to understand the problem: I was trying to do everything myself. It is a common trap that many leaders at every level experience. When leaders neglect to trust our subordinates and prevent them from doing their jobs, the organization suffers. Continue reading → Military Leadership Is Really About Trust