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Why you lead: The one thing I’ve never discussed

Why you lead: The one thing I’ve never discussed

Happy 2018 to you. By now, 80% of you have already broken at least 1 of your new year’s resolutions (I’m not saying I’m in a glass house…) – and we’re looking for the next event to focus past our supposedly new year’s failures. Month by month, we’ve discussed many ways to improve your leadership, your team, and getting time back in your day… but there’s one thing we’ve left out that is the Central Tenet of Leadership.

A leader’s purpose is to ensure his/her team accomplishes the tasks and jobs required.

Put simply?

A leader’s purpose is to make sure his/her team gets the job done.

This year, we’re going to focus on the HOW and the WHAT of leadership. We’ll hear from individuals that screwed up by NOT getting the job done (and how they eventually fixed it). Yes, you need to take care of your people, and yes you need to motivate them… but you still have to get the job done, and sometimes getting it done is not perfectly aligned with those more flexible traits.

A Short Story: My first job

When I graduated from college, I was commissioned as an Ensign and assigned as a division officer to a U.S. Destroyer. I had 18 sailors assigned to my division, of which one was a Chief (a senior enlisted). He had been in the Navy longer than I had been alive – and he was required to call me “ma’am”.

How was I supposed to get the job done when I was (by time in rate) the most junior person there?

I was young, and more than a little nervous. I was the only female and was as green as they come. So I made my potential weakness into a strength. I didn’t talk as much as I listened. I took in the requirements of me and my division from my senior leaders and I listened to what my sailors had to say. They told me what worked – and what didn’t (literally – we managed a 5” gun – it broke at times!). They told me how they had done their job in the past – and what was successful – and what divisions were not.

Eventually, I learned enough to be confident in my own decisions, without asking as many questions as I did those first months. My Chief told me something I’ll never forget: “My job is to make you an admiral”. I truly believe my success as a leader – and the success of that team in getting the job done was because I knew I wasn’t the smartest in the room. And I listened to those that were.

What is your story? As a leader, what tactics or techniques do you use to get the job done? Take 2 minutes to answer here – or connect with me on LinkedIn to share your personal story.

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