Don't Be a Spotlight Ranger

Our first speaker was a senior civilian. I'm hesitant to specify his name in this context, but the individual had an impressive resume including a distinguished career in the uniform.

Having time with this speaker gave us a rare opportunity to ask questions regarding management and leadership to someone very high in our chain. During my past 12 years in government service, this was my first opportunity in such an intimate setting.

I've been curious over the years on how senior civilians see their role in regards to mentoring the active-duty leadership around them. This individual replied that at his level he doesn't see his role as being one of leadership but as one that exists to see his leaders succeed. Such a viewpoint is certainly valuable within the DoD. It fosters trust, and it's likely that the success of a boss equates to the success of an organization.

Don't be a spotlight ranger

During the course of his prepared remarks, he provided an interesting anecdote and metaphor that I absolutely love. He told us a story of how during the course of training, he and other team members took turns being the leader. Some members only put their best forward when they were the leader. In other words, they noticeably tried less as a follower.

Promotion does not create equals

Another interesting dynamic that he mentioned is when he got promoted to a 14, he was still not equal to other 14s in the organization.  That is to say that he did not see himself that way. This is counter to the way organizations (especially the military) teach it, but this is what is real.

I have also heard a similar comment in my career in which a similar comment was echoed, but it was regarding a recent promotee that saw themselves as being "equal" in the organization.

When I was enlisted, it took a while for new-NCOs to act as such and be seen as such. It's also important to realize that senior members already in that position have acquired more knowledge and influence.

I am somewhat mixed on this topic.  In one sense, the position should grant people a certain amount of authority, but in another sense, it's becoming increasingly obvious that people gain influence within an organization regardless of that fact.


Popular posts from this blog

Some People aren't Made to be Leaders

A couple of technical posts.

The Booing of Peyton Manning