Lead with the best version of yourself.

Positive Influences

By Jim Robertson

Editor’s Note: The following essay placed second in our From Their Green Notebooks essay contest. For the contest, authors were asked to reflect on lessons learned in their favorite episode(s) of the From the Green Notebook Podcast.  The top three winners received a one year subscription to the DDPY Fitness App and an autographed copy of Steven Pressfield’s A Man at Arms

Throughout our lives we find people who provide positive influence on us. We find them within our organizations, in the books that we read, and in the podcasts that we subscribe to. What we learn from these individuals are the habits, traits, and actions that breed success and positive influence over others.  This essay will look at three  lessons on positive influence that were discussed and reinforced in multiple episodes of the From the Green Notebook Podcast: be genuine, help people grow, and be humble.

Be Genuine 

Joe’s interviews with MG Donovan and BG Marks reinforced the idea that leaders must be genuine. A genuine leader takes the time to listen and understand their people instead of making snap decisions and judgements. Genuine leaders walk the walk, meaning they put their words into actions. Being genuine means being willing to take on the issues that only the leader can influence and solve at their level. As reinforced by GEN McChrystal (ret), genuine leaders provide purpose and meaning, and in turn, their people are willing to make the necessary sacrifices that help the organization succeed.

Help People Grow

The purpose of a leader is to make more leaders. Part of this is taking the time to mentor and groom people so that they can step into leadership roles later down the line. Coach Drinkwitz stated during his interview that leaders take the time to know their people, find what drives them, and figure out where they see themselves in the future.  Leaders impart life lessons and experiences that prevent their people from making unnecessary mistakes and help their people experience success faster than they would have on their own. Finally, leaders are willing to help their people find other opportunities that are important to the individual, even if it means they will have to leave the team to experience those opportunities.  

Be Humble  

GEN Votel (ret) stated that leaders serve their people and their families, ultimately working to earn the respect of the people in the organization. Leaders have self-awareness and know that they have flaws. Leaders with humility are willing to admit weaknesses and surround themselves with people who bolster their weaknesses. This point is reinforced in the interview with Wesley Schultz. The humble leader is a servant leader who gives the credit for success to their people and who takes all the blame when something fails. Humble leaders know and embody their own personal values and share these values with the people that they lead. This lets people understand what stance the leader will most likely take in given situations. 

Central themes such as being genuine, helping growth, and remaining humble are apparent from all the guest interviews of the From the Green Notebook Podcast.  The leader who embodies these traits and lives by these values is destined to make a positive impact on their people and organization. 


Jim Robertson is an active duty pilot in the United States Air Force.  He and his family strive to serve society through honest, dependable actions while seeking adventures along the way. 

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