Lead with the best version of yourself.

Our Sloppy Over-Reliance on Texting

by Jack Hadley

Farewelled by my unit and signed out on PCS leave, I stood at a German train station headed to the airport. Then my phone went ding! I reflexively glanced at it, feeling a small but noticeable tinge of stress. I was no longer a Company Executive Officer (XO), but my pavlovian response to text messages had been trained into me for months. The XO group chat. I opened the message. Just a request for help from an adjacent XO—no crisis. Still, the message sucked me back into the distraction-filled task execution I had eagerly awaited leaving behind. So right there, at the train station, I decided it was finally time to exit all seven XO-related group chats. A cathartic wave of relief washed over me. I finally felt free.

Why was my group text exodus so liberating? Because these group texts were the symbol and source of my greatest professional frustration while serving in a Brigade Combat Team (BCT): our sloppy over-reliance on texting. The effects of our poor text communication habits include spotty and ever-changing ‘guidance’, inefficient task coordination, normalized distraction, and, as a result, dissatisfied soldiers. These negative effects’ accrual will affect our combat readiness–if we don’t change our current texting norms.  

The Bear: A New, Relevant Source of Professional Development

by Zach Batton

By and large, military leaders are not diversifying their sources for professional development. 

Once and Eagle, Black Hearts, Black Hawk Down, and This Kind of War are just a few repetitive staples in most reading/watch lists. However, many junior leaders are bored with the same “assigned” material. 

For those searching for a different source for junior leader professional development, The Bear is a formidable choice. The series is loaded with common workplace situations like adjusting to new leadership as well as changing corrosive behaviors. Moreso, there are many similarities between those situations and the Army’s Principles of Mission Command (ADP 6-0) and Leader Development (FM 6-22). Though it does not take place in a military setting, The Bear can be a valuable tool for learning how to establish mission command and instill change within an organization.  

Deliberate Communication: What We Can All Learn from Observing Senior Leaders

by Don Gomez

Have you ever found yourself in a meeting or gathering expecting to hear one thing from a senior leader but instead hearing something completely different? Something seemingly unrelated to what you thought was important?

“What the hell was that about?” someone might ask as the gathering breaks up. 

Or have you ever received an email from senior leader echelons above you addressing a topic with care and candor in an unexpected way? 

Was there an odd way that the email was structured? Was the font a different color? Were there variations on bold, italics, or underlined words? 

Did it just seem…different? Maybe overtly deliberate?

Over the past few years, I’ve found myself paying closer attention to the behavior, speech, and messaging of senior leaders. I’m not talking about the senior leaders we all see on television or social media – the “echelons above reality” senior leaders. Rather, I’m referencing the senior leaders in our actual organizations. The ones that are closer to us, but who we might not interact with every day.

Writer’s Block? Find a Coach

by Catherine Putz and Tobias Switzer

You finally decided to write. You’ve got something to say, and it’s burning you up. Maybe nobody is talking about it, or the national security establishment is just getting it all wrong. Tired of sitting on the sidelines as other people blather on uninformed, you’re ready to set the record straight. You know intimately what they’ve only read about in reports or saw once during a scripted dog-and-pony show through a conflict zone. Diplomacy and deterrence don’t work like that. Sanctions and special operations don’t work like that. That weapon system isn’t a trillion-dollar waste of money; it’s the cornerstone of US security.

A Leader’s Guide to Navigating Social Media in the Military

A Leader’s Guide to Navigating Social Media in the Military

By Kristy Bell

Social media has blurred the lines between our private and professional lives in an unprecedented way, and has also, in some ways, eroded the idea of a “non-partisan military” that shores up our democratic ideals.

This came to the forefront recently when several senior military leaders engaged with Fox News host Tucker Carlson over Carlson’s comments about women in the military. The subsequent dust-up prompted some to decry the loss of the customary apolitical stance American citizens have come to expect from its military professionals.

Six Benefits to Sharing What You’ve Learned with Others

Six Benefits to Sharing What You’ve Learned with Others

by Jakob Hutter

Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” When we talk about the role of knowledge in our organizations, we must understand it is essential to pass on the knowledge that we have gained from our training and experience to enable others to achieve organizational success. This post aims to explore a few reasons why knowledge sharing is important for organizations and individuals to capitalize on.

But first, why should you care about sharing your knowledge? It is safe to assume you have worked hard to obtain your knowledge through personal education and experience. It may even be safe to assume you sometimes have reservations about sharing it with others. Whether through unwillingness to give up some power, believing there is not enough time, or simply not trusting the recipient, sharing your knowledge can sometimes be a challenge. However, holding onto it can potentially be more detrimental to the organization than simply sharing what you know.        

Write for You

By Joe Byerly

Many view writing for publication in the military as an opportunity to help others with their leadership approaches, inform them on some academic topic they learned about in grad school, or to share lessons learned from a recent training exercise. While this motivation to publish is respectable, it represents a mindset that prevents a lot of people from getting their thoughts out there. 

When we approach writing with the impetus being we’re doing it to inform others, we open the door for self-doubt to creep in, followed by its friend: excuses. In the beginning, I didn’t write because I didn’t feel like I had enough experience or enough subject matter expertise to share my ideas, therefore I didn’t even attempt to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. Why even bother writing an article until you get enough leadership experience or enough operational experience?

Over the years, I’ve learned that “enough” is always a moving target.

Genuine Leadership – A Reflection

Genuine Leadership – A Reflection

Editorial note – This blog post is part of our Scribbles series. If interested in submitting creative content, view our guidelines here or contact Cassie Crosby at cassie@fromthegreennotebook.com.

Sketched by Scott Relleve

By Christian Lance Relleve

“The one quality that can be developed by studious reflection and practice is the leadership of men”  -Dwight D. Eisenhower

We have been ingrained upon to read voraciously of anything related to military leadership to further our professional development. We are encouraged to live by the values that have been taught to us preceded by notable historic commanders. These commanders have lived through and exemplified unique values of leadership. Of course, not all individuals will be able to live and abide by these values, but we may only invoke these qualities at a surface level if not fostered nor nurtured.

Genuine leadership is a perspective that has potential to lead to understanding true leadership. Not all individuals are meant to live through the values Patton has exemplified, such as his sheer forwardness; Eisenhower’s optimism; Shalikashvili’s studiousness; nor Marshall’s rigor and fairness. Let’s face it, some individuals of today do commit to try and live these values but are not genuine. It is all surface with no depthbluntly, an emulation. These traits have been proficiently demonstrated by these leaders because it is thoroughly distinct to them, in fact— Genuine. Genuineness comes from the heart.  Developmentally, Genuine leadership stems into three factors: art, passion, and reflection. The intent to live by these values is to realize an individual’s self-importance and his or her potential to become a genuine leader.

Phony: A Short Story

Phony: A Short Story

Editorial note – This blog post is part of our Scribbles series. If interested in submitting creative content, view our guidelines here or contact Cassie Crosby at cassie@fromthegreennotebook.com.

By Daniel Sukman


“Please come in, James. I am surprised to see you this afternoon. It’s unusual for officers to use my open-door policy. In fact, it’s unusual for anyone to use it.”

“Thank you, sir.” I replied. However, it didn’t surprise me that nobody had ever approached Colonel Stark to have a conversation. For the past six months, after he had assumed command of the brigade, Colonel Stark instilled fear among his subordinates. It wasn’t his physical presence. In fact, Colonel Stark was a bit on the diminutive side, standing only about 5 foot 6 inches and weighing perhaps 140 pounds soaking wet. What kept people away from Colonel Stark was how he treated his fellow human beings.

“So, what is it that you want?” Colonel Stark said, as he sat behind his desk, his eyes still looking at his computer.”

Leadership Vignette: Mission Command and Command and Control (4 of 4)

Leadership Vignette: Mission Command and Command and Control (4 of 4)

LTC Kelly McCoy

This is the final in a series of four vignettes designed as a supplement to the 2019 series of mission command articles (Part 1, 2, and 3) led by General Stephen Townsend. The vignettes follow a fictional character, John Miller, through his career as an Infantry officer. Each vignette is a stand-alone story reflecting the principles of mission command and how it is applied in terms of leadership. 

If you did not read the introduction and the other vignettes linked above, we would encourage you to do so. Vignette number four follows.

Vignette 4: Commander’s Intent & Mission Orders

When communication is unreliable and the situation is evolving chaotically – establishing shared understanding and intent is critical. When MG John Miller realizes his original plan is about to fail, he must depend upon the trust he has established up and down the chain of command and develop new mission orders to prevent strategic loss.