Lead with the best version of yourself.

Counterproductive Leadership: Impact to People and the Organization

by Jakob Hutter

Effective leaders who demonstrate confidence, courage, compassion, and character enable an organization’s success. Stay in any organization long enough, and you will understand that counterproductive leaders can leave serious harm to both the individual and to the organization. These behaviors are not immune from any one individual, but regardless of where it occurs, the short- and long-term effects can be destructive and detrimental to the future success of the organizational climate and culture. It is important then to understand what leaders are responsible for, the impact of counterproductive behaviors, and how you can recognize and overcome these behaviors to benefit your team and organization.

Don’t Read This, Just Go To Bed

by Chris Murray

In 2015, as a young Infantry lieutenant, I found myself once again in a crowded, overheated battalion conference room. I was attending what seemed to be the hundredth staff meeting since I had arrived at the unit two months earlier as my Battalion was preparing for a deployment across the Pacific Ocean. My battalion commander provided a significant update to our logistical coordination: we would be chartering a massive cargo ship to carry our Strykers, Blackhawks, Chinooks, humvees, and all supporting equipment with us. Then, throughout the deployment, this cargo ship would shuttle our equipment between the various host nations for our training exercises.  As a shiny new lieutenant, I didn’t understand much being said in the meeting. But I understood that for an Infantry battalion accustomed to having logistical support arranged for us, this was a serious undertaking for our S-4 shop. 

I glanced at the S-4 to see his reaction to the news. The S-4 was asleep. Granted, he was attending probably his sixth or seventh “urgent” meeting of the day, and today had been calm compared to his past few weeks. Fresh out of Ranger School, where sleeping was a capital offense, I withheld the urge to throw a pen to wake him up and spare him his head. Poorly positioned to help, I instead scanned the rest of the staff. Two others were dozing off, and pretty much everybody in the room looked ready to do the same. It wasn’t even lunch time. We were sleepwalking into a deployment.

Thinking Like a Fox: The Military’s New High Ground

by Nate Bump 

In our modern world, complexities abound.  As a result, many assume more specialists focusing on challenges like ‘strategic competition’ is the answer. However, evidence supports officers specializing as generalists via a multidisciplinary method of thinking can offer an asymmetric advantage against a backdrop of wicked problem sets.  

This post will not advocate for abolishing specialization in the military; however, the necessity to identify, develop and recognize the utility of our military’s multidisciplinary leaders at all levels, ranks, and functions in an era of increasing uncertainty offers a pathway to recapture our competitive advantage in the cognitive domain.

Don’t Look the Part, Be the Part

by Oren Abusch

In the early spring of 2020, my Battalion ran a two-week marksmanship course. Each day, NCOs would go to the range to hone their shooting skills and, on one particular range day, I noticed an NCO kitted in the most expensive after-market gear money could buy: an OpsCore helmet, Peltor ear-protection, a water-cooled plate carrier, Lowa boots, and a Crye-Precision Combat blouse and pants. Simply stated, he looked the part of a tried and tested warrior. 

However, he was struggling to zero. Finally, in a fit of frustration, one of our more senior NCOs looked at him sarcastically and said “all that Crye, and no precision.” 

His remark captures a core issue in our current army: a culture that values looking lethal over lethality itself.

Lessons Learned Leading Zero-Experience Ad-Hoc Teams

by Brad Crosson

Thanks to a recurring overseas exercise, I have had several opportunities to take about two dozen people who have never met before and quickly turn them into a functioning team. I measure my impromptu teams’ success by how well these strangers turn into a team in three short intense weeks. There are a few thoughts that come to mind that help direct my actions. Hopefully you find them useful should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

The Cornerstone of Our Profession

By Marc Meybaum

As we raise our right hand, our oath is expected to be, and must be, an honest commitment to serve. Honesty is called forth in the very first act of every military service member in our modern volunteer force. It is our first act of spoken truth as we pledge to support and defend the constitution.  

This expectation of honesty nurtures the very trust and confidence that the American people have in military service members. An argument can be made that honesty is the virtue that underpins many others within the context of our military service. Honesty is necessary to embody other virtues vital to military service such as obedience, discipline, courage, integrity and likely others. If trust is the foundation, honesty must be a cornerstone of our profession, and it exists in various forms, in our actions, in our thoughts, as intellectual honesty, and in our words.

Two Steps to Being a Good Teammate

by Tom Dull 

Unique to the military profession is that, upon entrance, the servicemember is instantly accepted and considered part of the team. Whether a scout team, infantry company, or brigade staff, soldiers are always a member of a team (and most of the time members of multiple teams at once).

Although teams might be unique through their personalities and locations, all military teams are typically similar with a distinct three component hierarchy. Most military teams have a leader at the head of the respective unit, junior leaders interspersed across the unit to transmit the senior leader’s intent and guidance, and subordinates to carry out the leader’s orders and operations. All three components are necessary to form the team and vital for it to function and achieve success.

Get To Know Each Other: The Art and Power of Friendship

by Caleb Miller

How well do you know the people you work with? How often, outside of work hours, do you hang out with any of them? Do you know what they consider to be important? Do you know about where they came from before they joined the military? What they fear? What they value above all else?

Could you point out who in your platoon came from a stable home, or is in a healthy marriage, or defines success in a way similar to you?

Do you know what books they read or movies they watch? What shows they are binging?

Or, are you too busy to really think about any of that?

Every Soldier A Warrior: Bridging the Divide Between Combat and Support

by Benjamin Phocas

After twenty years of counterinsurgency, with some spending entire combat deployments in an air conditioned office on a city sized forward operating base, it has become easy for soldiers not at the tip of the spear to treat the Army as a simple nine-to-five job. Simply stated, an attitude of complacency became pervasive. Peacetime has worsened this attitude for every branch, with the true purpose of the Army, fighting our nation’s wars, taking a backseat as everyday priorities pile up.