Leadership is sometimes ASKING what we should do.

9 09 2015

“My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups.  This is typical with everyone in the military.” ~Smedley Butler

While I will admit that when I was a soldier, this quote was too often true, I can’t agree that it was typical with EVERYONE in the military.  One of the greatest leadership lessons I learned was taught to me by an officer who cared what his soldiers thought.  He would ask “how would you guys handle this problem?”  He allowed us to “exercise our mental facilities”.  I can honestly say that if more leaders in the military were like him, I would have probably stayed in and be drawing a military retirement pension now.

Alas, there are too many of the former types of leaders in both the civilian and military world.  Luckily, the good ones are more prevalent in the civilian world.  Leaders, never underestimate your potential to ruin an employee’s morale, or give them a “last straw” excuse to leave.  Too often, we (yes, I’m occasionally guilty of it myself) think we know the best answer, and put it out there like it’s a military order:  “Here’s what I think we should do – get moving!” – It’s a good way to blow morale.  You may have a good idea on how to handle something, but before you put it out there, ask what my mentor asked us more often than not:  “How would you folks handle this problem?”

Speaking of animation…

milimation

Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com

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