Monday, January 12, 2004

Leadership Lessons From Iraq VI 
1. You don’t have to intervene personally in every crisis. Make your intent clear, but allow junior leaders the chance to correct their own mistakes. God knows I’ve appreciated the chance to do that myself, many times over.

2. Never promise an award or promotion, until you are actually pinning it on the soldier.

3. A negative evaluation report should never come as a surprise. Counsel your subordinates regularly, and let them know where they stand all the time.

4. Make your own personal politics a mystery—a guessing game, as far as your troops are concerned. Most soldiers are conservative. But not all of them, by a long shot. You are there to be a leader and mentor to conservatives and liberals alike. Treat everyone’s views with respect.

5. What do Plutonium, Carbon-14 isotopes, and soldier skills have in common? They all have a half-life. So do your maintenance program and your command supply discipline program. You can get it humming and it will hum along for about six weeks to three months, and then will slowly deteriorate beyond recognition. Time for a booster shot from the leadership. Inspect something. Gather subordinate leaders around and tell them what you’ve observed, and insist on hewing to the standard.

6. An ounce of reconnaissance is worth a pound of prayers.

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