January 2019 archive

PATIENCE

Blog Post #20

01/11/2019

Patience

Patience is another desired trait in a well-adjusted leader. In any workplace, things go wrong and it can be extremely frustrating. You have to have patience and a cool head to deal with problems that will occur. Patience is also good due to success often taking a painstaking amount of time to occur. 

Working for the military, or the government for that matter requires a lot of patience. I can recount weeks of inactivity, standing around, and static guard shifts that never ended. The job often required a lot of running the clock. Advancement in the military is often dictated by time.   

In the military, commanders are completely responsible for their soldiers. If anything happens to them, no matter the time, the company commanders have to deal with it. This may require an immense amount of patience if you are woken up to deal with a soldier whos been sent to the drunk tank. Commanders also have to deal with upset wives.

How does this translate to the civilian world? Employees will sometimes have personal problems that impede them from being able to work. You may have to train a new employee at a job. If you lose your cool ever it is very unprofessional.

If you have no patience, practice by purposefully engaging in scenarios where it will be tested. Recognize patience is not always the answer to issues, sometimes a firm hand is needed. What is socially acceptable to do is largely based on the work environment. Most situations will usually call for patience.  

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What is a time your patience was tested? Please comment and be respectful. If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

INTERPERSONAL INTELLIGENCE

Blog Post #19

01/11/2019

Interpersonal Intelligence 

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to communicate verbally and non verbally. More importantly, those with interpersonal intelligence can understand the non verbal communication of others. If you cannot properly communicate you can not lead effectively. This is why we do not have many CEOs or public figures that can only speak sign language.  

The military requires a high measure of interpersonal intelligence. The higher echelons of the military get more political and who you know matters a lot. Jobs, command positions, and duty stations can all be attained through networking. You have to be 

I got out of a bad unit in order to further my career by reaching out to some of my contacts. I was informed it could take up to five months to transfer me. I made one call to a friend whose father was a high ranking official. Three days later my paperwork cleared and I was transferred. This was because I created strong bonds with key individuals during training.   

The civilian workforce is no different. According to NPR, 70-80 percent of jobs are attained through networking. If you wish to advance career wise and you have to be personable. The same skill is required to secure the respect and trust of your employee. 

Interpersonal Intelligence is acquired through practice. You have to engage with your fellow man and attend social events. I encourage you to try to understand and relate to others as much as possible. Doing this will improve your overall leadership capabilities.   

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Has your interpersonal intelligence ever saved you from disaster? Have you ever encounter someone without interpersonal intelligence? please comment and be respectful. If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

TRANSPARENCY

Blog Post #18

01/11/2019

Transparency

As leader transparency is required to be effective. The burden of leadership requires you to be accessible to your subordinates. In order to quickly gain the trust of an employee, you have to be open and transparent. This allows you to avoid rumors and any rifts that may form from secrecy. 

In the military, all personnel wears earned achievements on their uniform. You know if your fellow soldiers have APFT scores, gone to battle schools and deployed. This level of transparency is excellent, individuals do not have to speak of their achievements. Respect and expertise can be established quickly based on the nature of your awards.

Transparency extends to mission intent. Soldiers (time permitting) are often explained the importance of the mission and why they are fighting. This empowers the soldiers, if they fail, other brothers in arms could be hurt. Is this concept transferable to the civilian workforce?

Yes, being open with your employees can create a dialogue of mutual respect. Civilians obviously do not wear uniforms. You can call a meeting however to share your resume and a little bit about yourself. This will make your employees more comfortable with you. 

I encourage you to try to be more transparent. Be available to your employees. This will create a more positive work environment for all parties. Especially for millennials who often wish to understand the larger picture. 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Has a superior ever been transparent with you? Have you ever had difficulties being transparent? Please comment and be respectful. If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

RESILIENCE

Blog Post #17

01/11/2019

Resilience

Resilience is a key life trait and a key trait in a leader. The ability to adapt to a constantly changing work environment is a key to success. Leaders with resilience will go the extra mile for their workers. Leaders with resilience inspire their employee to be resilient.

In the military, they stress resiliency training for obvious reasons. More importantly, they stress mental resilience. They teach soldiers tactics and techniques like controlled breathing and “hunting the good stuff.” Is this transferable to the civilian workplace? 

Yes, all employees want a cool-headed manager. Stress exists in all facets of life. Using techniques that soldiers use in life-threatening situations are easily applicable in the workplace. Controlled breathing and picking at least three good things that happened that day is the key to a strong leader. 

Civilian jobs still have a plethora of stress. I encourage you to try this technique with small stresses at first. This will build your personal resiliency. If you do it enough it will become a habit. Your body will react to stress by automatically controlling its breathing and your mind will calm itself with pleasant thoughts.      

Whether you are stressed or not practice this technique before sleeping every night. This will assist in your endeavor to make resilience a habit. Through practice, you will become adaptable to change. Most importantly when everyone is stressed you will be calm and focused.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Was there ever a time you had to be resilient? Please comment and be respectful. If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

EMPOWERMENT

Blog Post #16

01/11/2019

Empowerment

Leaders should empower their subordinates. They can do this by providing guidelines then allowing the subordinate to complete the task in a manner they see fit along the timeline you have discussed with them. Superiors that are overbearing can often decrease efficiency and the subordinates passion in the project. In order for an organization to grow its constituents must be empowered and passionate about their work. 

The military empowers its personnel through strength and resiliency training. This makes the soldier feel confident in their capabilities and excited to execute missions.  This can easily be applied to the civilian workforce. Encouraging managers to practice a more hands-off leadership technique is the easiest way to ensure empowerment. 

In my earlier blog posts, I spoke about a bad relationship between my team leader and me. This was in part due to his unwillingness to allow me to take on problems without giving me direct guidance for the most minute tasks. This was extremely irritating, I felt constricted and annoyed. I did not feel empowered and thus, was not interested in my work. 

I encourage you to empower your team. Give them the space to do their job. Offer compliments when they do well. Have patience and counsel them when they inevitably make mistakes. Set clear guidelines and timelines, let them do the rest. 

This will empower your subordinates. They will appreciate the freedom and work hard to retain it. If they make a mistake, mentor them through what went wrong. Patience and understanding is the key to developing subordinates into empowered future leaders.    

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Have you ever had to empower or been empowered? Please comment and be respectful. If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

INCENTIVES

Blog Post #15

01/11/2019

Incentives

Incentives can be anything from bonuses to extra days off. The military has a few incentives, like extra pay for knowing certain languages and bonuses to reenlist. Civilian careers often have more incentives like pay bonuses, promotions, and more career mobility. Incentives can be dangerous in the workplace because it can create transactional relationships with subordinates.   

In the military leaders use incentives to encourage troops to win competitions against other units or platoons. For example, the incentive for winning a shooting contest might be letting the unit go home early that day. Incentives can range anywhere from time off to being allowed to skip working out in the morning. leaders implement these carefully, soldiers should work hard because they are paid to. Superiors do not want soldiers expecting to receive a reward every time they do something good. 

Most often incentives to win are emplaced to encourage heated friendly competitions between units. The Army has a lot of “A type” personalities in the military and leaders try to use incentives to bring out that competitive nature. On the Civilian side, there is obviously competition as well. If used properly utilizing incentives would increase productivity only for a short duration.

Use incentives sparingly, employees should work because it is their job. If you have certain sales objectives and you need to meet them, implement incentives. You can split the sales team into two groups and whoever sells the most wins whatever prize you give. This is the best way to implement incentives, the competition may push the sales past the objective. 

You have to be careful, you do not want to make the competition too high stakes. This could cause a fissure in the team. Ensure if you use this technique to consistently mix up the teams. If you notice a tactic is starting to cause problems with a particular group, do not try to use it again.  

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Have you ever received or used incentives? please comment and be respectful. If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

CROWD SOURCING

Blog Post #14

01/10/2019

Crowd Sourcing 

Being in charge does not mean you have to come up with all the good ideas. Sometimes being a leader is more picking what the best idea is from a panel of subordinates that are experts in their fields. How can you best crowdsource? Any situation can become a crowdsource session.

In the military after every training session or event, we have something called an AAR(After Action Review). Everyone provides three sustains and three improvements minimum. These notes are passed on to the next group that plans the same event next year or to teams planning a similar event. This is a structured mandatory crowdsourcing session to ensure there is a constant improvement. 

The AAR is conducted in a large group session where everyone from the lowest to the highest rank freely offers their input. Everyone is encouraged to donate improvements and sustains to make the training more meaningful. Sometimes another AAR is conducted after with smaller elements just in case someone did not want to say something in front of a higher ranking soldier. I liked AAR’s because I felt I had a way to voice improvements.

I encourage you to attempt crowdsourcing. You can do this by bringing up the three improvements three sustainments at meetings. Maybe have an anonymous suggestion box so people can anonymously offer improvements to the workplace or to projects. If you are in a leadership position, stress that you have an open door policy for subordinates.

Getting input from your subordinates will improve the work environment and increase productivity. The inclusion of coworkers or subordinates will encourage an environment where crowdsourcing becomes less forced. Try to actually implement the suggestions given to you. If you just take suggestions and never make an effort to effect change your subordinates will notice.       

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Have you ever crowdsourced an idea? please comment and be respectful. If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

 

SECURING LOYALTY

Blog Post #13

01/10/2019

Securing Loyalty 

Securing the loyalty of your subordinates is paramount to the success of your team. loyalty to each other and to you, their leader, is needed. coworkers willing to cover for one another and work for one another is the key to success in almost any field. Doing this however is no simple task, it takes meticulously calculated social interaction within your group. 

The military spends a lot of time and resources just to build loyalty to the organization. civilian corporations are no different in this regard. We have all heard of corporate retreats and the military practices the same technique but with different terminology. This practice has existed since the late fifties and has statistically shown improvement in cohesiveness and productivity.

My personal experiences of what is considered by soldiers “mandatory fun” have been largely a mixed bag. These events we are forced to go to function as a tool for superiors to get more face time with you outside the workplace. These events often have competitive sports for friendly, heated competitions between warriors. This mandatory fun is often effective in building loyalty to the Army. The Army also invites the family which is designed to increase support on the home front for the soldier. 

You can earn loyalty through a multitude of similar ways. Try engaging with your team outside work consistently but not too much. Too many events or social gatherings could begin to garner animosity. Try to have events that are family friendly like cookouts and potlucks. 

 During these events actively work to build rapport with subordinates and co-workers. Get to know their families and remember names so you can further inquire about them later. This minimal effort paints you as a caring leader/coworker. Do not be afraid to ask your subordinates for ideas concerning group events.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Has your loyalty ever been secured by a superior? please comment and be respectful. If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

 

TEAM ORIENTED

Blog Post #12

01/10/2019

Shield your Team

In every organization, there are instances where superiors pass down policies or instructions that can be detrimental to your team members or their performance.  If you are in a leadership position it is your job to shield your team and mitigate as much damage as possible. Your subordinates and their performance is your responsibility. So what can you do? 

The military is very team oriented but due to the nature of the work sometimes you have to ask a lot from your team. When I was loaned out to a unit low on manpower I had to man a TCP(Traffic Control Point) while they trained. Due to the low manpower, I had to work 16-18 hour shifts guarding the entrance to the training zone. Needless to say, it sucked, soldiers don’t get over time. My team leader made it better by making jokes and working extra hard to make sure we were taken care of. It did not improve the job but it made the job less daunting.

My squad leader eventually got us switched out of the guard rotations. My team leader was quick to ensure we got to rest and eat. He made our “resupply” longer than it needed to be so we could get some much-needed rest. This built a stronger bond with our superior because he took care of us even though he had orders to rotate us to another position.  

You can do something similar if your team is getting burned out by moved up timelines. Do more than your share of work, buy coffee for everyone, or bring a speaker and let everyone take turns playing their favorite music. If possible try to make the objectives set by your superiors more attainable by communicating the difficulties your department or team is having. 

Do not ask anything of your team you would not do yourself. In fact, work harder and lead by example. Sometimes the situations will suck but if your subordinates see how hard you are working, if you have built rapport with them, they will work alongside you. If you take care of your team they will take care of you. 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Have you ever had to shield your people form less than desirable situations? If you have any friends or family that may be interested in this content, please refer them to this site. 

 

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