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Guest Vern Edwards

Leadership

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Guest Vern Edwards

Interesting article in Air Force Times:

https://www.airforcetimes.com/opinion/commentary/2018/07/31/commentary-the-air-force-is-not-designed-to-produce-good-leaders/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ebb-8-1&utm_term=Editorial - Early Bird Brief

My favorite quote:

Quote

A friend recently reminded me of a construct put forth by Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, the famous German general:

“I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.”

 

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The article further down brings up something I heard in training once.  The person said his golf score reflects how good he’s doing as a leader.  If he mentors and trains subordinates well, he has more time for golf.

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While the author has valid points, I wonder if they could handle the position they desire in today’s environment. Looking at the 1102 profession today, there are generational differences, significant knowledge gaps in the workforce, and constant tinkering in the entire process.  Leaders struggle today because of the lack of ground rules they set and as a result do not have time to think independently on the direction to which lead.

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Guest Vern Edwards
12 minutes ago, MV2009 said:

Leaders struggle today because of the lack of ground rules they set and as a result do not have time to think independently on the direction to which lead.

Huh?

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Communication is critically important to lead effectively. In today’s environment, many believe they should get an immediate response and provide little critical thinking prior to releasing their emails. Many managers feel like they need to respond to the constant number of emails they receive quickly because the workforce expects it. When I’m talking about ground rules, I mean leaders need to communicate clearly and be transparent. In doing so it will free up the time they need to think critically about how to lead the organization into the future vs responding to each email from it’s workforce. The latter is nearly impossible to do since each member of the team can send multiple emails expecting an immediate response vs searching for the answers themselves. 

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Guest Vern Edwards

Maybe the bosses focus on emails because that's easier than thinking about how to lead.

But why do members of the team send the boss so many emails? Don't they know how to do their jobs?

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Agreed, bosses would rather keep doing what got them into the position than realize they must change their focus when they get a supervisory role. The current demographics in the profession are a big part of the reason for all the emails as well as leaders not communicating effectively. Many are afraid to make a decision or have a creative idea. It’s not easy and good leaders need to have the discipline to maintain its focus on leading their team. 

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7 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

But why do members of the team send the boss so many emails?

Email volume is a key performance standard.

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Guest Vern Edwards
34 minutes ago, MV2009 said:

The current demographics in the profession are a big part of the reason for all the emails.... 

You are right that clear communication is important. So please explain how the composition of the population ("demographics") of the profession explain the number of emails. What is the cause to effect connection between the composition of the population and the number of emails?

 

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1 minute ago, Vern Edwards said:

So please explain how the composition of the population of the profession explain the number of emails.

The millennials let their fingers do the talking and the walking on and off the job.

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Can we all agree that leadership is different that management? Effective managers may be poor leaders, and vice-versa. I would assert further that effective managers are much more common that effective leaders.

In my experience effective leaders all have one thing in common: the courage of their convictions. They have the courage to take responsibility and accountability for their decisions. Whereas effective managers often specialize in CYA.

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Guest Vern Edwards

The article to which I provided a link was about military leadership. I know what leadership means in a military unit. It means being like James M. Gavin or Marcel Bigeard. But I'm not sure I know what leadership means in an administrative bureaucracy.

To me, a leader in an acquisition office is primarily a teacher, as well as being a manager. True leaders are fonts of knowledge. In order to be a leader you have to be a scholar of your field. Leaders master concepts, principles, and rules. They teach processes, procedures, the tricks of the trade, and the facts of professional life. They know how to get things done. They teach those things to the people who work for them. They teach them how to think professionally, to read, to write, to speak, to analyze, to argue, to quit arguing, to prioritize, to negotiate, to deliberate, to decide, and, generally, how to survive and prosper. They know how to encourage people and when to give up on people.

https://hbr.org/2018/01/the-best-leaders-are-great-teachers

You might not love a leader, because a leader is demanding, and isn't always nice. Not all contract specialists will love the office head who makes them revise their PNM four times---not to make it say what the leader would say, but to say what it should say and to say it better. But the future leaders among them will.

https://www.elevatehp.com/the-hated-leader-you-cant-handle-the-truth/

Great leaders must be willing to be hated. I wouldn't give a d*** for a "leader" who wants to be loved.

Of course, not everybody likes a leader, which might be we don't have more of them.

 

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