Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A Military leader is compassionate

Forget about stereotypes like someone who's just shouting or ordering people around. (That's a dedicated task - not a leadership characteristic.) Forget also any idea of people being continually forced into top performance, beyond what they can bear.

As I continue my journey through Serve to Lead, this is what I found today:

A few officers seem to possess an almost instinctive ability to find out the strengths and weaknesses of their men; but most of them must approach the task consciously and deliberately [...].
As a leader gains knowledge of his men he will always find out things about certain ones in the course of normal observation and  without any prying on his part, that will in no way seem to him admirable - in fact, things that will often seem the opposite. These will, of course, be the ordinary weaknesses of humankind which any leader must freely acknowledge to exist, must look upon with reasonable tolerance, and must never permit himself to judge narrowly and harshly. If he does misjudge such traits he will find himself building up prejudices against individual subordinates who may well  have the stuff within them that it takes to carry out their mission.
(Colonel Munson)

I had the pleasure of experiencing such a leader once. It wasn't without challenge - but it always felt fair, and I intuitively knew I could trust him. He took his time getting to know people and forming an opinion on them; and I learned a great deal from him.

I ask you: Would we not all want more of these people as leaders and managers in any organisation?
They might not all have been born to lead; but they have all developed these skills. They had  to.

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