Squadron Command Lessons: Ten Life Lessons Learned In Leadership
Learning while leading is what many officers would say their motto was. Many important lessons can be learnt when you are the commander of a cavalry squadron.
Here are ten lessons we have collected which have additional application in daily and business life.
Be Courageous Enough To Release Control
Micromanaging has been scientifically proven to be a bad thing. There’s a huge temptation, according to Foster, for a commander to be a bit of a control freak. But doing this is bad for a number of reasons.
Primarily: if you don’t let subordinates learn to stand on their own feet, they’ll have a reliance which prevents them from being effective. You want them to have maneuvering freedom such that critical, skillful completion of tasks is accomplished. Micromanage, and you lose that.
Perfect And Good Enough
There’s a great predilection toward perfection in the military. But there is an event horizon over which striving for perfection becomes counterintuitive. You’re never going to have actual perfection. If that were possible, there would be no need for war or a military.
No, things will always go wrong, and pushing for that which is unattainable can handicap you. Sometimes “good enough” is all you need. Don’t let “perfect” be at odds with “good enough”, or you’ll spin your wheels unnecessarily.
It’s Not About You; Don’t Forget
The military’s a unit, each member has a function—but everyone works together, not individually. In the real world, the same sort of thing describes reality. It isn’t about you. It’s about everybody. Command can teach this lesson very harshly. What you do affects an entire group of people, if you are their commander.
One way to emphasize everyone’s position in the group is to provide them some identifying token of camaraderie. A great way to do this is by giving a challenge coin; Embleholics.com provides these, according to the site, they’re coins are: “…the highest quality challenge coins for the military, companies, and organizations.”
There will always be things left undone. Perfection is, as previously mentioned, impossible. You can’t let this get you down, but a commander should know that disappointment will come. Managing it is key. It’s just the same with life. Don’t let lack of perfection damage your ability to function.
You may have a need to drive, and your goal is to get the best SUV available. But your budget isn’t requisite to this goal. So you must compromise; perhaps find a military surplus vehicle that’s cost-effective and will do the same thing. What you want to do is prioritize goals such that you accomplish the most important ones. If a Jeep’s as good as an SUV, save that $5k.
Organizational Culture And Consequences
Foster points out that it’s impossible to change organizational culture individually. Those over whom an individual has command will naturally have their own ideas and social arrangements. You need assistance from others on the team to properly do this. In life, it’s very similar. Strategically, working with a group may require making allies.
Keep An Eye On The Powers That Be
Foster’s article pointed out that people in Headquarters (HQ) may have trouble from time to time that you and your division could help with. If you notice such trouble, offer assistance. Help where you can. This is also something true in life.
When you see a problem you can fix, fix it. You could be helping the country itself. People in authority need your assistance, some even deserve it. Doing this is a win-win for everyone.
Always Be A Team Player
Remember, it’s not about you, and nothing is perfect. Your priority should be the team, those over whom you have command, or that social circle with whom you’re affiliated. Don’t just give it lip service, go the extra mile for the team. This is the right thing to do, and makes a strong team.
Treat Subordinate Time Like Your Own Time
Subordinates continuously stuck in meetings, briefings, and the like get weary and cease to pay attention, diminishing the effect of the meeting. Be concise and to the point. You wouldn’t waste your time, don’t waste other people’s. This is as true for a commander as it is for anyone interacting with others
What You Say And How People Feel
A good commander is motivational. There’s more to this than just saying things and following through. You need to command motivation, respect, and willingness to succeed through your own passion. Learn how people feel, how to manipulate that positively and curtail that which isn’t profitable. In life, you’ll find this serves you equally well.
Being in command of a company’s like being in command of your own life. Certainly there’s more responsibility in a military-industrial setting, but there’s definitely some conventional wisdom crossover worth considering.
Written by Hellen McAdams
Hellen McAdams is the chief strategist at Marketee.rs. She loves a good digital marketing strategy, and isn’t afraid to ask questions everyday to keep up with the industry’s trends. If you have any comments or questions, shoot her a question at @hellen_mcadams.