Dynamic Dozen: Step Up and Step Out

Posted Posted in GeneralLeadership.com

Maj Dick Winters sought out and accepted responsibility

Looking for leadership opportunities–and accepting responsibility–is a crucial ingredient to any leader’s character.

The colonel looked at four squadron commanders and said, “The general will be inspecting the facility tomorrow, everything needs to be perfect.” Three of the assembled commanders looked at their feet, while the fourth simply smiled and said, “Sir, I got this. Leave it to us and we’ll take care of it.” In this particular case, it wasn’t even in that squadron commander’s assigned mission set, but as he said later, “It’s no sweat, Sir. The job needed to be done and I knew we could do it.” That sort of “can-do” attitude is the essence of this month’s Dynamic Dozen post: leaders seek out responsibility.

Look for Opportunities to Lead

People drawn to leadership roles are usually given the mantle of leadership because they seek out responsibility. Perhaps they believe they have a better idea, or are uniquely qualified to solve a problem, or are the one who cares for the people in their charge the most. Whatever the reason, the kind of person who seeks responsibility is the same kind of person who wants to lead. It’s the attitude that drives entrepreneurs, and it’s the attitude that enables people to effect change in large organizations.

“I may not have been the best combat commander, but I always strove to be. My men depended on me to carefully analyze every tactical situation, to maximize the resources that I had at my disposal, to think under pressure, and then to lead them by personal example.” -Dick Winters (1/506 Airborne Infantry Regiment, WWII)

Rewarding “can-do” behavior is important for leaders at all levels. We want to encourage others to grow and we want to ensure we’re not the only ones thinking and acting on the team. If a leader makes himself a single point of failure, the results will be predictably bad. Only by setting the example of seeking out responsibility, and encouraging that same skill in those we lead, can we expect our teams to excel in the face of adversity. Believe me, whether you’re facing bullets or board rooms you want to be part of a team with the same “can do” ethic as you have if you expect to come out on top!

Work Your Boss’ Boss’ Priorities

One of the best ways to seek out responsibility, and be successful in the process, is to work your boss’ boss’ priorities. Your boss is trying to be responsive her boss’ priorities; by figuratively putting yourself in your boss’ place you can more clearly see what you need to be doing. Taking your boss’ view of things is important because it enables you to understand where she’s trying to take the unit and what might be influencing her thoughts, and because it helps you grow as a leader. You’ll never be in all the meetings your boss is in, but striving to understand the environment helps you translate your boss’ instructions to your team much better. This principle is the reason military leaders spend so much time on commander’s intent. If tactical leaders understand the strategic environment, they’ll be able to make independent decisions congruent with the overall goals.

There is, of course, a wholly selfish reason to work your boss’ boss’ priorities: it makes them look good and a happy boss makes for a happy workplace. I remember the sage advice from a senior Chief Master Sergeant when I became frustrated over the direction my commander gave me, “Sir, the pay’s the same!” What he was telling me–albeit a bit tongue in cheek–is that the commander was in charge and I wasn’t. He wasn’t asking me to violate the law or my conscience, my commander had merely issued an unpopular order. The lesson is: unless someone asks us to do something illegal or immoral, then our job as leaders is to execute as if the idea were our own. More than once I learned later there were things were not as I believed them to be, and that “stupid” direction to do something wasn’t so “stupid” after all!

Success Means Responsibility

Seek out responsibility and work your boss’ boss’ priorities–sure ways to succeed as a leader!

Originally posted at GeneralLeadership.com


Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.

Patio Wisdom Tuesday: Road Poetry

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Patio Wisdom

Been too long

Since I pointed the compass out of town

Too long since I raced the sun

It’s time to hear the engine whine

And listen to those tires hum


Like what you’re reading? Get more Patio Wisdom at the Lulu Store and at Amazon.

Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.

Patio Wisdom Tuesday: Life is Like Coffee At Work

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Patio Wisdom

Life is a lot like coffee at work: sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes you should just be happy to have it at all.

Having some perspective on life and being satisfied with “who you are” is the cornerstone of Patio King’s wisdom. If you can’t be comfortable in your own skin, you’ll waste energy on things that don’t matter and miss things that do. Reach for the stars, but don’t miss life wishing for something that can’t happen.


Like what you’re reading? Get more Patio Wisdom at the Lulu Store and at Amazon.

Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.

Patio Wisdom Tuesday: Not a Good Day to Die

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Patio Wisdom

 

Starting Bike
Photo by Johnny Davis Photography

While stationed in Germany, Tony attended the European Harley-Davidson Super Rally over Memorial Day weekend. It was Europe’s version of Sturgis, South Dakota, and that year it was in Austria. He’d had been recovering from a bout of bronchitis but he wasn’t going to miss what could be his last opportunity to attend a rally in Europe.

So it was: the Patio King found himself on a Sunday afternoon recovering from a crazy night of bikes, choppers, beer, bonfires, and making new friends in a field in Austria. While sitting on a picnic table enjoying the bright sun and the view of the Alps, he began to cough. When he couldn’t stop coughing, he stood up to try to get some air. He bent over, again in an effort to clear his lungs, still coughing like he’d forgotten to breathe.

Tony woke up lying flat on his back, with a crowd gathered around him and a US Army medic nicknamed “Medic Mike” kneeling over him. Tony blinked and then looking around asked, “uh? What’s up?” Astounded at the rapid recovery Medic Mike replied, “Dude, you died!”

His friends then relayed the story. Apparently while coughing he’d collapsed and had respiratory failure which led to cardiac arrest. After bystanders noticed him blue faced and without a pulse, Medic Mike saw the commotion and sprang into action. He cleared Tony’s airway and performed CPR to revive him.  No one knew for sure how long he’d been down, but probably no more than three minutes.  It was then that the realization that he’d actually been dead for a few minutes struck him.

But you can’t keep the Patio King down, so he looked up and paused for a moment, blinking hard. Tony then asked for a beer. “That is when everyone knew I was going to be OK,” he said later.


Like what you’re reading? Get more Patio Wisdom at the Lulu Store and at Amazon.

Patio Wisdom Tuesday: Outstanding In His Field

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Patio Wisdom

 

Back at Texas State Line

I’m going to go stand outside so, if anyone asks, I’m outstanding.


Like what you’re reading? Get more Patio Wisdom at the Lulu Store and at Amazon.

Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.

Patio Wisdom Tuesday: Knuckle Busters Teach Lessons

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If at first you do not succeed, then you should do it like I told you in the first place.

Remember that wisdom is hard won, usually through a few bloody noses and broken bones. For the apprentice, the wisdom from the man with scarred knuckles could keep said apprentice from having the same scars. Of course, if the apprentice doesn’t listen…

There’s a lesson for the master and journeyman as well. If someone allowed you the chance to scar your knuckles to win that wisdom for yourself, then it could profit your apprentice to suffer the same knuckle scrapes. The trick is not to let the apprentice get truly hurt. After all, if the apprentice gets laid up, who’s gonna get the coffee?


Like what you’re reading? Check out “Patio Wisdom” in the Lulu Store and at Amazon.

Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.

Patio Wisdom Tuesday: Bike Patterns

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Astride Bike

Had a friend tell me long ago that I didn’t buy motorcycle parts, I bought patterns. I’ll be damned if I don’t hear his voice every time I try to buy something nice for my bike.


Like what you’re reading? Check out “Patio Wisdom” in the Lulu Store and at Amazon.

Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs

Patio Wisdom Tuesday: Get Something Done

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Patio Wisdom

Don’t get mad at me for yelling at you: Go get something done.

When you have a bad day at work, or anywhere for that matter, you have two choices to deal with it: get angry and stomp around, or get something done. I prefer the latter!  You can’t control other’s thoughts and words, let alone their actions, so why let someone else steal your joy away. Get mad, get over it, then go get something done.

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Bacon Wisdom?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Road Wisdom
Tony at the Bacon Wagon

 

Be very careful what you say. It might be what she said.

Comedian Jeff Allen tells many stories to illustrate the old husband’s maxim “Happy Wife, Happy Life” (aka “Allen’s Law).  Patio King’s Corollary to Allen’s Law refers to the good husband’s judgement about when to open his mouth and when to just let it go. Of course, the same goes for talking about one’s, ahem, accomplishments in a group of guys. Sometimes it’s best to remember that some things are better left unsaid.

PS. Go to the Bacon Wagon in Ft Worth…food’s delicious and the crew is nice! No seriously, you should go!

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Who Inspires You?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Pure Inspiration

 

abraham-lincolnAs a student of history, I’m often inspired by the lives of the people who lived through and shaped great events. I think we need heroes, and not just the ones we watch for 30 seconds on a news program’s “profile” short. Great men and women from history should inspire us to see our own circumstances in light of how they conquered adversity and achieved greatness.

Sometimes we reduce historical figures to “ordinary” status by over emphasizing their flaws and under-selling their accomplishments. I think that’s a mistake. What makes our heroes “great” is not merely their virtues and accomplishments, but that they did great things despite their flaws. Celebrating only a hero’s virtue without acknowledging the flaws is dishonest, but so is discounting their accomplishments because of those flaws. Sometimes a historical person’s human weakness and failings are defining characteristics, but most often those people are like the rest of us: a mixture of weakness and strength married with the courage to rise above and accomplish something remarkable. In my mind being mortal makes their contributions all the more inspiring: that somehow our heroes were able to rise above (sometimes even themselves) to do something great.

I think leaders need heroes and role models. We need them because even the most confident Type A leader has self-doubt. We need heroes because we sometimes take counsel of our fears. We need to be inspired to believe even flawed humans can do good, even in spite of their own flaws. Acknowledging that there’s no such thing as a perfect human, but that imperfect humans can do good is beneficial for our collective souls. Inspiration can come from the unknown person working hard on a cause they believe in, but let’s not overlook our national heroes.

Heroes can teach us something about ourselves and inspire us to greatness—if we allow it.