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                 that the Army recruits every year. A vain, overly confident leader has no reason to solicit feedback, while a humble leader seeks out that feedback willingly, as previously stated.
Sadly, examples of this ongoing conflict between humility and hubris tend to rear their heads quite often in the U.S. Military, especially in the junior ranks when young leaders are still learning how
to develop their leadership styles fully. An early example that I recall can be traced back to my
days in Ranger School, which is considered the premier small unit tactics and leadership school
in the U.S. Army. The Ranger course is 62 days of rigor that tests candidates both mentally, physically, and for some, spiritually. The course occurs in three different geographical locations spread out
by phase with a team of always hungry, tired, and stressed people. In my opinion, the school’s best requirement is that rank is not visible for Ranger candidates. In my case, I was a young captain in-between commands at that time, but it did not matter. I was just another nameless, non-ranked Ranger Candidate with the same level playing field as anyone else. A Soldier in the grade of E4 has the same leader influence that a first lieutenant has while serving as a Ranger candidate. We no longer had names; we had roster numbers.
After completing one patrol per phase during my time in the school, I always ended up as the Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) of the squad or platoon. As the RTO, I carried an unserviceable radio. I kept close to the patrol leader while pretending that my radio could magically provide effects to derail, fix, or destroy our national enemy. I did not know until after completing the course that I was put in that role three times to help Ranger students who were struggling to meet the course’s leadership standards. In the first and third phases, those candidates in
the patrol leader role were simply challenged with land navigation expertise. Those two patrol leaders happily listened to my advice, and they completed the course on time with me. In the second phase, it was a different story, and that example is worth exploring.
I had just completed my patrol, and the Ranger Instructor started yelling out a different roster number to replace me while I received my marching orders to become the RTO once again.
And then, it happened. Our platoon started going west when we should have proceeded east. In this environment, noise and light discipline is always a must, so I allowed the formation to move about 400 meters before I felt safe enough to engage the patrol leader.
“Hey, man, I am pretty confident we are going the wrong way. I recommend you change course now before we lose too much daylight.”
He answered immediately and emphatically – but not in the way I expected. “[Insert bad word here] you dude. I am in charge! When you were in charge, we listened to you without question! So follow suit and just shut up!”
It should go without saying that noise and
light discipline was utterly abandoned in that exchange, and I did what he requested. As a result, we proceeded innumerable kilometers in the
wrong direction, navigated through several of the most vertically challenging geographical terrains offered in the Dahlonega, Georgia Mountains seasonal summers, and lost valuable daylight before the Ranger Instructor (RI) stopped the entire formation. The RI then berated the patrol leader and then fired him by replacing him with another leader. Suffice to say, the next few moments were anything but pleasant. The entire platoon started running with heavy rucks the opposite way – for quite some time. The RI told the new patrol leader
Humility vs. Hubris
 Jackson Journal 33

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