Everywhere leadership is wildly needed, leadership is on life support, gasping for each breath, hoping no one pulls the plug. Consistent, responsible leadership is essential in our homes, businesses, communities and in the examples shown by public figures. In each of those areas though, leadership’s slow but steady erosion has negatively impacted our children, our careers and how we live and operate as communities and inhabitants of this rock floating through space.
The most obvious demonstration of today’s lackluster leadership is the pathetic public apologies we accept, and quickly forget atrocious acts committed by someone saying, half-heartedly, “I take responsibility for what happened.” Of course, this does nada for the victim(s), but public opinion and main stream media move on without a care.
Veterans are likely more sensitive to, and definitely surprised by, the glaring lack of leadership – typically in the civilian world, but recently also from top military brass. (#Afghanistan… ) However, traditionally, if you’re discussing the top five institutions for learning leadership, the military definitely holds a seat at that table. We’re instilled with leadership training and opportunities, even when we’re the FNG; and trained to lead in every imaginable condition, situation and challenge.
However, there’s a known gap that’s acknowledged but seldom discussed – the importance and reverence toward leadership when moving into the civilian world. Most transitioning veterans take off the uniform but expect the same caliber of people and performance as they had yesterday on the base, and it’s just not happening. Not in our divided, politically correct culture.
Fortunately, the most important place to start with creating deep leadership is with the one you always have access to… yourself! Ghanda said that you must be the change you wish to see in the world. It’s truly the best way to start driving the shifts we desperately need.
If you’re a veteran, you have already lived the military lifestyle; now, take a page from the military’s playbook. Include the same crucial, DAILY elements the Armed Forces use: physical fitness, training on critical job functions, daily cleaning, meals at consistent times, planning for the future, etc.
I’m not cracking a code here! You can listen to thousands on social media saying the same thing: having the discipline to doing the mundane, crucial tasks day in and day out is the surest and possibly the ONLY road to success. Maybe, just like I’m doing here, they all stole from the DoD’s playbook as well!
I can’t emphasize enough that servicemembers need to prepare to be self-reliant. In Episode 14, Gary MacDermid said ‘you must have a plan for yourself after the military, because the military isn’t going to have one for you!” And, on the podcast, we’ve heard from multiple guests who either were so thrilled that they prepared for their transition out of the service well in advance, or regretted not doing so, and their transition suffered because of it.
The sage wisdom says that time is going to pass anyway… so why not use it was wisely as you can. If the last 18 months of COVID have taught us anything, it’s that you must be prepared for EVERYTHING.
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