“6 Leadership Lessons From A 3-Star General” by Jenna Goudreau at Business Insider Australia on 27 May 2014
As you can tell by now, military-infused leadership articles resonate with me – this article is no different. The author provides military leadership insights that she heard from a recently retired general. In addition to the 6 lessons (more on this later), I like the program that was developed to give the business leaders a “taste” of military life – the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership conference did a smaller-scale event with our group.
This article is a really good read – the six lessons are:
- You’re only as strong as your least experienced team member (you have to develop everyone on your team)
- You have to know what right looks like for each role in the organization (success comes from putting the right people with the right skill sets into the right position. If someone’s not quite right in one role – let them know and see if you can’t find a better place for them)
- You have to talk straight with your people (although this can be tough, it’s best to be forthright with everybody)
- Shared challenges bond team members together (it creates a sense of teamwork and trust – military units are good at this)
- Effective communication is a three-step process (don’t use a ‘bullhorn’ technique of just shouting into the void – effective communication also involves the person telling you what they’ve just heard, and you providing correction if there was a misunderstanding)
- You must preserve your force and their families (you are leading people, not machines – people have lives, emotions, issues, etc.)
I’m surprised that vision wasn’t discussed, but perhaps it simply wasn’t covered in the article. For point #4, this is true at all times, but especially in times of high stress. In Haiti, the United Nations Military Force Commander and the incoming US Military Force Commander had both trained together in an airborne (paratrooper) course. Because they had a common bond, they were able to quickly and effectively work together to optimize the tens of thousands of military troops as part of the global military response to the 2010 earthquake – they each knew what the other was capable of doing and they trusted that person.