Tag Archives: Honesty

Marine Corps. Leadership: Know Your People and Look Out For Their Welfare

Effectively utilizing a team is like putting together a puzzle. Each pieces has a proper place.

Effectively utilizing a team is like putting together a puzzle. Each pieces has a proper place.

“Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.” – Calvin Coolidge

In any position of leadership, success is dependent on the team. Teams can only rise to the level of their leadership. This does not happen automatically, but rather with intentional investment from the leader.

An effective team is diverse, this is where leading a team can become overwhelming. Leaders must observe each team member, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and comfort zones. We must use this information to effectively assign tasks, responsibilities, and exercises for growth. If we can accomplish this responsibility, those we lead will experience success individually and as a team.

Knowing each of our team members is only the start of the process.

As our team develops we must make sure we:

1. Know their morale: If the morale of your team is low, getting it back up must be a priority. Morale is connected with momentum. If morale is low, expect momentum to be minimal.  Improved morale must come before increased momentum.

2. Celebrate their success: We must not let success go unnoticed. What gets celebrated gets repeated. If we want our team to continue in its development, we must make sure we celebrate the success of the team as well as the success of the individual.

3. Cultivate honesty: We must create an environment that removes the fear of owning up to a lacking or wrong doing, while maintaining the integrity of proper consequences. As leaders, our responses must be controlled, and our judgments must be just.

4. Encourage self-improvement: As stated earlier, what gets celebrated gets repeated. Utilize incentive programs for self-improvement. Also, develop accountability into the process. As the saying goes, “people do what you inspect, not what you expect.”

What else would you add?

What would you consider to be the most difficult part of leading a team?

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Leadership is: Honesty

“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” – Marcus Aurelius

Honesty in leadership is tight rope that must be walked.

Unfortunately honesty isn’t as straight forward as it sounds, here are my observations on some methods of honesty:

For some, honesty is the best only policy — If they have the information they feel it must be shared regardless of  method, timing, or even outcome. I have a student that believes in this policy. They tend to speak their mind in the moment. Usually this honesty (which is supposed to be helping people) isn’t well received, however true it may be! The problem with this policy is that it violates the healthy habits of communication (I talk about the healthy habits of communication here), as well as John Maxwell’s law of timing.

For others, honesty is circumstantial — If they have information but don’t know if it will be beneficial to the person or situation at the moment, or ever, then they don’t have to be honest with them. Unofficially, this seems to be the favored view of honesty. I don’t have to tell my wife she looks “big” in those jeans, because that’s going to ruin my night and her night. The problem with this view is that it makes us the sole decider of what is beneficial and what isn’t. Usually when dealing with honesty it is for the benefit of another person. When we decide what is and isn’t beneficial for them we rob them of a chance to grow.

For leaders, honesty is all about other people — If you’re goal is other people, your honesty will include the healthy habits of communication, the law of timing and a desire to see them grow. Honesty must be used to build people up, give them hope, and cast a vision for the future. A leader won’t be honest because it makes them feel better, they will give it in a way that connects with the person, and they will said what needs to be said, no more no less.

What are your observations of honesty?

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