By Sam Redding
If your unit voted, would you be the leader?
Given the recent election, I have been thinking about this a lot lately. What if organizations could vote to decide who is in charge? Let me preface this by saying, this post is not a call for change, but more of a thought experiment; a way to see ourselves. If the people in your organization could vote for their leader, would you make the cut?
Now, the rules: (1) no voting for someone outside the organization, (2) no promoting or demoting, and finally, (3) everyone’s vote is counted equal.
When I’m in a leadership position, I often ponder my qualifications for being in charge. Is it rank, experience, leadership style, empathy, or decision making? Am I doing what the organization needs or what I am best at? Am I only in charge because of the rank insignia on my chest or do I have some qualities and experience that give me a better vantage point to lead? These questions cause self-reflection, and in some cases, adjustments in my behavior.
Conversely, if I was in a subordinate position, would others vote to put me in charge? Am I doing the things that make the organization successful? Am I seen as a compassionate member of the team who places the success of the organization as a priority? Do my peers see me as value added? Questions like these should drive us to think about our contributions, others perceptions of us, and our role in the organization.
Being self-aware is important. Like a 3D image that requires multiple camera angles, we also need multiple perspectives to achieve the holistic, accurate picture needed to convert awareness into improvement. For deeper self-awareness, asking questions like these, and being honest with ourselves, gives us a slightly different perspective.
So ask yourself, if there was a ballot call today to select your organization’s leader, how would you fare?
About the Author:
LTC Sam Redding is an active duty Army Officer. Since joining the Army in the early 1990’s, he has been an infantryman, student of the Mandarin Chinese language, helicopter pilot, leader, follower, and half-decent maker of the slides. He holds degrees from Campbell University and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.