Leadership Essentials


Good Thursday morning! Summer is here! It’s a warm, humid morning in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s even warmer and more humid in Fort Benning, Georgia, 90 minutes south of Atlanta, where my son, Will, is training as a new Army officer.
Regarding leadership. I know of no other school on leadership that can match that of the U.S. military, namely because there is no other leadership job where the stakes are so high.
And right now, Will is attending that school as he begins the Basic Officer Leadership Course. Six weeks ago, on the same day he received his diploma, he also received his commission as a Second Lieutenant. He will be at Benning for another ten months. By the time Will leads his first infantry platoon, at age 23, he will have received nearly five years of leadership-specific training!
But most leaders never receive that kind of training. They figure out leadership through trial and error. From observing others. From reading. From serving under good, and bad, leaders. I realize, as I coach leaders, I can assume they have been trained extensively in the basics of leading other people effectively. Most have not.
Basics like –

  • Praise in public; criticize in private.
  • Don’t tell someone to do a task you’re not willing to do yourself.
  • Leaders take responsibility; losers blame others.

Pause to think about your learning as a leader.  What are you doing to continue to grow as a leader? And what are you doing to be sure leaders around you are learning how to be better leaders?
Leadership essentials.  In the coming months, I’ll begin giving you some of what I consider “Leadership Essentials.” Hopefully they will either teach you something new, remind you of something you already know, or provide you with something to pass on to leaders you are helping grow. They should speak to you whether you are 35 or 65. Watch for them.
In case you missed it, making the rounds this week was an HBR article on How CEOs Manage Time. It’s worth your time.
Have you recently come across a great article/book/video on leadership you think would be worth sharing with others? Let me know about it.
And, yes! This is a new format I’m trying out. I hope to write even shorter, to-the-point, helpful leadership posts in the future – taking less of your time to read (and less for me to write!). Please invite a leader you know or work with to subscribe.
Lead well.