Book Excerpt: Handle Personal Matters Personally

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Books, Leadership by Experience

I’m pleased to present another excerpt from my book, Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams about the importance for senior leaders to do some things personally:

Paperback Cover - FrontIn my own experience as a leader, I have often been surprised at how much impact little things have on people. Each year former and current students from my alma mater, Texas A&M, gather together on the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto to commemorate fellow Aggies who have died during the year. Aggies have been gathering at Muster ceremonies around the world each year since 1922. When I was a young officer on the Pacific Air Force’s staff in Hawaii, I was the chairman of our local Texas A&M Association of Former Students’ Muster Committee. As it happened, General Pat Gamble, the commanding general, was also a Texas Aggie (’67), so we invited him to attend Muster. He was able to come by for a few minutes before heading off to an official function. Our guest speaker that night was another Aggie, Dr. Don Powell (’56), a famous cartoonist who contributed to the Texas A&M school newspaper for a generation. Dr. Powell was the author of a cartoon entitled “dp” that depicted a lovable cadet and his sidekick. It was a cherished memory of days gone by, especially if you were an Aggie sports fan like me. As souvenirs for the evening, Dr. Powell signed copies of his cartoons, so I asked him to sign a “dp” cartoon for General Gamble. Dr. Powell graciously obliged.

The next day at work, I quickly typed up a short note thanking the general for coming to Aggie Muster, attached the signed cartoon, and delivered it to the general’s secretary. I didn’t expect to hear from the general again; after all, he commanded a vast organization responsible for protecting the airspace across the entire Pacific Ocean with thousands of Airmen and hundreds of airplanes, and I was a mere captain. But sure enough, in a day or two I received a handwritten note card with a thank you from the general. That act of kindness—and good manners—made a big impression on me. That handwritten note probably took General Gamble a couple of minutes to write. He likely forgot about it as soon as he’d done it, but to this day that note is the reason I still don’t sign form “letters of appreciation” prepared by my staff. Countless members of my own units have received handwritten notes all because years ago a very busy man took a couple minutes to write a personal note to me.

I have come to believe in the power of the personal touch when leaders interact with their teams. People may say they don’t care about what their leaders think about them, but my experience tells me the opposite. It matters when a leader takes the time to personally recognize excellence and when the leader shows interest in the team members’ families and personal lives. Certainly there is a line that one shouldn’t cross, like dating subordinates or asking uninvited personal questions about family, faith, or politics, but treating people like people who have their own interests and relationships instead of cogs in the machine means leaders should handle some things personally.


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.

Friday Link Around – Mother’s Day

Posted Leave a commentPosted in From the Blogs, Holidays
Graduation Day, August 1987
Dad, me, and Mom, Graduation Day, Texas A&M University, August 14, 1987.

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day! If you’re reading this and haven’t done something to honor your mom yet, you still have two days!

My Mom was always a strong presence in my life and my family–and along with what my Dad she taught me a great deal about how to be successful in life. As one of the “Great Women in My Life,” Mom taught me to love God, to love words, and to love life. I wrote a piece at Catholic Exchange some years ago about her and the other “Great Women” in my life; you can find it here. She died in 1990, and I think of her often, especially during milestones in my life or my family’s life. She would have loved hearing about my adventures Mom never met my kids, but I’d like to think that through me she’s spoken to them anyway.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

 

The history of Mother’s Day

AskMen: Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts

FamilyLife.com: Ten Ways to Honor Mom

Book Suggestion: The Art of the Hand Written Note

Shameless Plug for My Book (If Your Mom Likes Motorcycles)

#OptOutside with Mom in a National Park

DecentFilms.com: Top 10 Movie Moms


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.

Friday Link Around: Senior Military Colleges, Leadership, & the Aggie Corps

Posted Leave a commentPosted in From the Blogs

scan0118The leadership lessons I learned as a member of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets were among the most formative of my military career. That’s me and my buddies after we marched past the reviewing stand at Final Review. We’d be leaving the Corps and each other following that Review. I certainly continued to learn and practice leadership, but my time in the Corps gave me a great start.

Tomorrow, I’m honored to be a presenter at the inaugural Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets Intentional Leadership Conference, so this week the links are about the Aggie Corps, the Senior Military Colleges, and the leadership lessons from the military.

So, what are the Senior Military Colleges? They are the schools with corps of cadets and military training programs that maintain the same standards as the Service academies (West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, and the Merchant Marine Academy). The Senior Military Colleges produce a significant number of officers, and do it in a full time military environment. For example, during World War II, Texas A&M produced more officers than any other school including the Service academies. The Senior Military Colleges are: Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, The Citadel, Norwich University, University of North Georgia, and the Virginia Military Institute.

In addition to offering Reserve Officer Training Corps commissioning programs, they offer leadership training programs:

Texas A&M Hollingsworth Leadership Development Program

Virginia Tech Corps Leadership Program

Citadel Leader Development Program

Norwich Master of Science in Leadership

North Georgia Corps of Cadets Boar’s Head Brigade

Virginia Military Institute Leadership and Ethics

Finally, here’s a little Aggie motivation for you: the Ross Volunteer Company’s Parents Weekend  Drill–it’s the culmination of a year of drill and parades for the state’s oldest student organization.

 


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 writes for his own Leading Leaders blog, and GeneralLeadership.com.

Integrity Is The Cornerstone of Leadership

Posted Leave a commentPosted in GeneralLeadership.com

cadetwilsonIntegrity must be at the core of who we are as leaders if we’re to successfully inspire confidence in our teams. Because leadership is fundamentally about human relationships, integrity must be the very cornerstone of any leader’s foundation. In every aspect of our lives we depend on the integrity of others, and others do the same for us. We count on stores to give us fair prices, on students to do their own work, and athletes to play by the rules. That’s why it’s such a big deal when there is a breach of integrity like a public lie or the discovery someone we trust isn’t playing by the rules. A leader who lacks integrity is headed for disaster; leaders who lead with integrity are the ones we truly value.

Read the rest on GeneralLeadership.com