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Communicate Like a Boss

The Goal of Self-Development: Knowledge vs. Wisdom

The Goal of Self-Development: Knowledge vs. Wisdom

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By Joe Byerly

“For even sheep do not vomit up their grass and show to the shepherds how much they have eaten; but when they have internally digested the pasture, they produce externally wool and milk. Do you also show not your theorems to the uninstructed, but show the acts which come from their digestion.” –Discourses of Epictetus

I came across a reference to this quote the other day while reading How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson.

It sparked some thoughts on the difference between knowledge and wisdom and its application to military leaders.

5 Battlefields that Influenced My Outlook on War, Leadership, and Life

5 Battlefields that Influenced My Outlook on War, Leadership, and Life

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By: Jim Greer

Throughout my life I have visited many battlefields, certainly more than I can remember. The first battlefield I visited was Kennesaw Mountain, with my Dad when I was seven years old. The most recent was Fort McHenry last year (crossing the birthplace of our National Anthem off my bucket list). Some of these visits have been strictly tourism, some personal development, some staff rides, and some for other reasons. All have been instructive and visiting battlefields has been a core component of both my personal and professional growth as a security professional and a member of the human race. Below are the five battlefields I’d like to highlight that have had a profound effect on my life.

Kennesaw Mountain

When I was six years old we moved to Atlanta, Georgia. My Father was an artilleryman and always very interested in the Civil War and Civil War battlefields, particularly since he had grown up in the Northeast where none of those battles had taken place. When I was seven he took me out to the battlefield of Kennesaw Mountain. Kennesaw Mountain was one of the series of battles and engagements that took place during the defense and siege of Atlanta in 1864. It was the first battlefield of any type that I have been to, although it would prove to be the first of many more.

Kennesaw Mountain was a particularly violent battle. In it, the Confederates were defending the heights of Kennesaw Mountain, well entrenched and with commanding fields of fire. The Union troops attempted to attack up the mountain to dislodge the Confederates and secure the high ground in support of the broader operation to take the city of Atlanta. The Union attacks were repeatedly repulsed with severe losses.

At the battlefield my Dad took me to the Confederate breastworks. We knelt down behind them just as the Confederate soldiers had done and so we had a view of the long slope up which the Union forces had struggled against withering fire from prepared defenses. My Dad explained the battle to me in terms a seven year old could comprehend. What I have never forgotten is how he stressed to me the leadership the Union officers must have been able to exert and the courage the Union soldiers must have had to attack over and over up that slope even in the midst of horrendous losses.

The Quarterback, the Commander, and the CEO: The Art of Gratitude

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By Joe Byerly

In 2005, my commander did something that had a profound impact on the next 14 years of my life: He wrote me a short note. He said that he appreciated my hard work, it was being noticed, and that he thought I was going to make one hell of a leader.

From that day forward, I realized that short handwritten notes can have powerful effects on people. This kind of thoughtful act can make people feel appreciated and that their contributions matter. It can pick a person up who’s having a bad day. And, the show of appreciation makes people more invested and engaged in the organization.

I’m not alone. Peyton Manning also learned the impact of a note firsthand. In a 2011 Los Angeles Times article he said, “I remember when I got my first handwritten letter from Bobby Bowden, telling me he enjoyed watching me play. Boy, it had an impact on me. He took the time to write that letter. I knew it wasn’t from his assistant.” Throughout his career, Manning wrote notes to coaches, teammates, fans, and retiring players. He said he learned the practice from his mom, who made him and his brothers write notes to thank relatives for gifts. The short video below highlights the appreciation from those who received his letters. 

The Opposite of Fear is Love

The Opposite of Fear is Love

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The Opposite of Fear is Love is from Chapter 13 of Steven Pressfield’s The Warrior Ethos published by Black Irish Books. 

The greatest counterpoise to fear, the ancients believed, is love—the love of the individual warrior for his brothers in arms. At Thermopylae on the final morning, when the last surviving Spartans knew they were all going to die, they turned to one of their leaders, the platoon commander Dienekes, and asked him what thoughts they should hold in their minds in this final hour to keep their courage strong. Dienekes instructed his comrades to fight not in the name of such lofty concepts as patriotism, honor, duty or glory. Don’t even fight, he said, to protect your family or your home.

Fight for this alone: the man who stands at your shoulder. He is everything, and everything is contained within him.

The soldier’s prayer today on the eve of battle remains not “Lord, spare me,” but “Lord, let me not prove unworthy of my brothers.”

Ten Important Lessons I Learned as the S3/XO

Ten Important Lessons I Learned as the S3/XO

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By Jason Gallardo

1.Build relationships- your ability to succeed will depend on your aptitude at working with your sister BNs, BDE, DIV, and post agencies.

You have been told throughout your career that relationships are everything, but it becomes even more vital as a field grade officer. If you try to go at it alone, you will fail. Be genuine and always be the first to help your peers when you can. This will make it far easier to ask for help when you need it. Remember that you are the face of your organization and how you interact on post can determine the reputation of your unit.

2. Your commander’s priorities are your priorities- but it is your duty to ensure those priorities are balanced with his/her boss’s priorities. Never let them run counter to each other.

Remember that command is very personal for your boss, and while you are 100% invested in your organization, this isn’t just a BN/SQDN fight. You are a part of larger organization and it is your duty to remain objective to ensure that you don’t let your boss counter any priorities or initiatives of your next higher boss.