What kind of leader do you want to be remembered as?

13 02 2015

“Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given, but at best it will only teach an obedience to authority, not a self-control which enhances our self-respect.” ~Bruno Bettelheim

Anyone who has been through Basic Training in the armed services has been obedient in order to avoid punishment.  Signing your name on that dotted line makes you government property, with no right to say “no” to an order.  I was bullied, screamed at, told to do humiliating things like “psychoanalyze your boots, since you’re such a smart guy, college boy”.  To this day, I’ve got a gut-level hatred of many of those drill sergeants.

When I got out of Basic, I was assigned to a line unit, and reported to an officer who genuinely wanted to make me a better soldier and person.  I got one-on-one coaching, was given challenging tasks that stimulated my brain and built my capabilities, and was promoted based on my performance.  This officer gave me an excellent letter of reference, and put me up for a pretty high medal that I still display in my “man cave”.  I keep in touch with him to this day, and still ask his opinion when I’ve got a tough choice to make.

You can lead with positional authority and give orders at your team, or you can work with your team to get the job done. What kind of leader do you want to be remembered as?

Speaking of authority…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com




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