Page 34 - Jackson Journal
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                 that he had only 20 minutes to reach the next objective and that his success will determine his grade. I remember hating that radio during that sprint. It felt heavier with every kilometer.
That story is funny when I look back at it, but
it was not amusing for the patrol leader who was not part of my Ranger graduating class. Many people, including the RI, heard his exchange with me. That exchange became his reputation, and
that exchange led to disastrous effects in terms of morale and physical suffering for his entire team. Consequently, his team gave him an honest peer review of his performance, and that review led
to him not proceeding to the next phase with us. These lessons learned remained with me for many years as an example of what not to do. It made me a better leader by giving me a reason to stay humble and not give in to hubris.
So how do people avoid hubristic behavior? Three elements come to mind. For starters, you have to remember that you have a team, and as such, you should never try to fix anything alone. This advice sounds simple, but for young leaders,
it tends to be challenging for various reasons. Young officers tend to serve as a great example. No matter the commissioning source, young officers are taught how to lead as cadets before their commissioning ceremony. They are told they have all the tools for success and never forget they are in charge. Sadly, that is generally when the pep talk ceases. As leaders, we should explain to our young officers that they are indeed armed with the best preparation for success.
Furthermore, in every new assignment,
their credibility is challenged because of their inexperience in the new “job.” Trust is rebuilt with every Army move because they are joining a new Army team with every assignment. Mistakes have to occur for proper growth, but the challenge is having young leaders embrace those mistakes and, most importantly, learning how to avoid making the same mistakes habitually while never losing a grasp of their values in the journey.
Another element to ensure hubris does not occur is to ensure that systems are in place for active two-way communication. Leaders should ensure meetings are set up to include all key players to have a voice while contributing to the desired end state. Also, leaders should ensure that team members are making a point to use their calendars to force leader face-to-face counseling
engagements as a means to counteract congested unit training schedules. As a battalion commander, a technique I use involves opening my virtual calendar to anyone I rate or senior rate. As a result, it becomes far more straightforward for my Soldiers to find a time available for counseling, and they take full advantage of that option by sending me a counseling invite. The result has been a far greater number of Soldiers who actively feel comfortable speaking about their strengths and weaknesses and an approachability environment through word-of- mouth.
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The last element that I may offer is to demonstrate humility by asking questions and listening often. It is difficult in the military developmental timeline to know everything, significantly as technology and new leaders continuously change every few years. As a result, leaders must become comfortable stating when they do not know everything and require help. The result of that honesty will naturally lead to more use of the words “thank-you” and “please” and result in the team feeling productive to aid their leader. A great way of fostering this relationship is through leader development sessions tailored made to your team. For example, a vast majority of leaders enjoy having leader development sessions on the topic of leadership, but a better session is leadership in the environment your team works in. The former is a general discussion that can, unfortunately, breed boredom and a lack of enthusiasm for the subject. The latter allows team members a modicum of comfortability to discuss their challenges in that environment and provides the leader with an opportunity to teach the primary topic and provide recommendations after listening to the concerns on how to better the process. This technique allows a

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