Page 12 - Jackson Journal
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                 The primary purpose of a commander’s time, energy and decisions goes to those he / she leads. Command is tiring, hard and a daily mental drain because the commander is constantly working to benefit the organization, not vice versa.
Like a coach, the commander is trying to fit
the pieces together, make the right decisions and provide a level of motivation / inspiration in order to achieve the goals of the team. This is no easy task by any measure but it is necessary to achieve objectives, accomplish missions and contribute to a larger organizational purpose.
Therefore, a commander will spend much of
his / her time focusing on the needs of those he / she leads. As the Chief of Staff of the Army, GEN McConville, has made People his #1 priority, I view this as his approach to draw every leader’s attention to the fact that we accomplish nothing without our people. Our systems, processes and technology are useless without an investment in taking care of our people. Given the fact that the Department of the Army spends 60% of its budget on pay for people, it would seem ludicrous to not place most of our focus on the care, development and training of our people. Think of it this way, the Navy nor the Air Force would spend 60% of their budget on systems / platforms (which they do) and allow ships to rust on the dock and aircraft to remain grounded.
Our business is people and as commanders, the approach of ensuring that your energy, time and decisions support your organization more
so than self is your main purpose. If this point isn’t compelling, I encourage every commander
to review page 2 of AR 600-20 titled “Exemplary Conduct.” Oddly enough, the five components of exemplary conduct in Title 10 U.S. Code, required
of every commander sound eerily close to servant leadership!
Trust building is the first and only foundation that needs to be poured
Without a firm foundation of trust established, created or reinvigorated, a commanders efforts
will be fits and starts of progress or lack thereof. Sometimes it is not a good idea to go biblical in an article, but for the purposes of this point; I must. In Matthew 7:25, it states “The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
Trust is the rock that all commands must establish first and foremost. As mentioned, command won’t be a cake walk; challenges will
be in abundance (lack of resources, time and seemingly focus), constant turnover and the struggle to maintain consistency. These are but a few of the challenges that will beat against your “house” of command. If the trust foundation is not strong, look no further than the news images of
the beach side home that is slowly slipping into the grips of the sea after a major storm. This is what the image of your organization will look like without
a full investment in trust building on your part; a lopsided house slowly being pulled into the sea with every wave as the owner looks on helplessly from the shore.
One can argue that this could be part philosophy and part approach. Typically, most philosophies will indicate “build and / or sustain trust,” as
to say team building sessions, PT sessions and off-sites will be supporting elements that enable achievement of this “task”. It becomes a bit difficult for commanders to sustain or build trust simply by placing several events on a calendar.
Trust speaks to vulnerability, performance and cohesion. In order to establish trust, a leader needs to create the environment where vulnerability is not viewed as a weakness. The courage to ask for and seek help is welcomed and where weaknesses are openly shared and worked on is an indicator
of trust. I often use the statement that many commanders will get the standard “everything is good” response to many of their inquiries. This common response on too frequent of a basis should be alarming to a commander. Unless you command in Utopia, everything is not always “good.”
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