Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Taking One For The Team

When leaders take one for the team it is usually to save the organization embarrassment.  A friend, former classmate and former peer was recently reported about in the news as having been asked to resign from his command in the USMC for "apparent pattern of intemperate behavior and language."

Whatever that means.

I knew this guy.  His values were just like my values and most other Marine officers I served with.  If he did anything wrong, I'll bet everyone else ever in that same position had done the same or worse. The only difference is he was taking responsibility for whatever it was.  This guy was always an unselfish, strong leader as a classmate that was naturally good at everything he did when I knew him.  He was a leader on the high school football team, smart enough to get a scholarship to play football for Florida State University and was strong enough to lead Marines, yet he was humble about everything he was good at.  He was the kind of leader Marines usually follow into hell and come back in one piece because of his leadership.

If the senior leadership of the Marine Corps decided to end his career over something that does not rise to the level deserving it or applied to everyone consistently, my words to all senior leaders everywhere is to learn from this example and understand what you get as leaders in the future.  There is a difference in the quality of people an organization can attract and retain.  It is not easy finding great leaders that can transform an organization.  The ones that get things done for organizations often are not the ones who quietly go along with the program.  The great leaders are not always politically correct.  Sometimes we need them to take calculated risks and question authority.  .

Without great leaders to call out the change needed in the world, we would have continued the policies of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and others who would have us believe we can't do any better.

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