Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader


Developing Others

Daily Deliberation: 18 October 2018

I love quotes. In fact, these daily quotes help me get my day started. But why only from notable people? Voltaire states that a quote doesn’t prove any fact, validate theories, solve problems, and he is correct. Quotes do give us insight into the minds and perspectives of others. If this same quote was signed, “Bob from down the street,” I probably would not be sharing it. We need to listen to the perspectives of those on our teams with the same respect, if not more, because I know Bob, I never met Voltaire.


Daily Deliberation: 30 September 2018

I was once told others don’t remember what you say; rather, they remember how you made them feel. We have seen this in action and probably are guilty of it ourselves. I know I am. Think about someone you respect. They just forfeited on a promise they made to you. Maybe they missed a meeting or are late on something they were supposed to deliver. Most likely, you are upset, but think they missed it because something important must have come up. You made an excuse for them without knowing any facts. Now, what if it was someone you don’t like? You’re probably already typing an email to his supervisor. What changed? Nothing. Only the way this person made you feel.

Daily Deliberation: 28 September 2018

I love this. So often we do something good for others and then want to tell everyone what we did. When I do this, I ask myself: “Did I do this for them or for me?”

Daily Deliberation: 26 September 2018

A lot of times we ask the wrong questions as we are seeking feedback from peers and superiors. Ask “How can we work better together?” instead of “What am I doing wrong?” It is very hard to point out the negatives to others. Have you ever had that counseling session where you had to tell a troop they were the stinky kid? Definitely not an easy thing to do. When we seek growth feedback, know it is not easy for the other person either and set them up for success.

The Zombie Apocalypse is Upon Us

Many people like the concept of the Walking Dead and thinking about what they would do if a zombie apocalypse became a reality. Well, I don’t think we are too far away from this happening. We are not going to wake up tomorrow to zombies trying to eat us in the literal sense, but we are slowing losing our ability to think for ourselves as others attempt to devour our brains.

We are becoming and creating zombies all around us, just not in the manner you may be thinking. Binary thinking has taken over and is spreading like wildfire throughout society. This type of thinking tells us everything is either A or B. You are Democrat or Republican. There is no middle ground. Sometimes this almost seems ok on the surface, but these labels define us and our thinking. We want to be a part of a certain tribe and allow group think to take over our own thoughts. We are becoming mindless zombies trying to devour those who think differently.

We saw this during the election, when stories about either side were published and no one took the time to run it through their logic filters or look a step deeper. It became fact, because it supported the deeper rooted thoughts of their tribe.The media has learned they can make a fortune by creating sides and feeding a narrative. It doesn’t even have to be true, it just has to feed their zombies. We saw this more recently with Nike’s ad campaign. There are those who have very strong feelings about multiple issues it represents and some boycotted the brand and others support it more. Brands are taking advantage of the divisive beliefs we have just as the media has and it is dangerous.

When I was a kid, a local teenager was shot and killed as he walked out of a fast food restaurant because he was wearing the wrong color shoes. The shooter was a wanna-be gangster and shot this teen because his shoes were the color of his rival gang. It is going to come to the point where we see a branded item on a person and shun them or worse. This has always been going on, but the danger is greater now.

Not to mention, we are looking like hypocritical fools. One of my favorite examples is Lebron James. When he left Cleveland to go to the Heat, he was hated. Told to never return. His jerseys were burned. Then…he returned. Apparently, all was now forgiven. Examples like this can be found with just about every issue. I have been criticized on here because I used a quote from some celebrity who apparently was unethical. I wasn’t deifying the celebrity or even supporting him, I simply liked one of his ideas. If we stop talking to others because they have different beliefs, we are eventually going to run out of people to talk to or form relationships with. I have never worked on a team where I loved everyone’s ideas or work ethics, but our diversity made the collective better.

We are no longer talking to each other. Research shows younger generations prefer to talk to one another via text or other form of messenger than face to face. We are guilted to tiptoe around taboo topics when we actually are face to face and then we get on social media and become keyboard gangsters. We can’t be scared to have our beliefs questioned or debated. I have very strong Christian beliefs, but I am not going to attack someone because they disagree with Christianity. It is ok that others do not think the same way I do. In fact, learning how others think help me to strengthen certain beliefs and adjust others.

When it is not ok to think differently is when we go after others for what they believe. There are those who want to shove their ideas down our throats and turn us into mindless zombies who only believe the narrative of their tribe. This is when the line is crossed. The solution is to stop trying to “convert” others and to stop thinking those with different thoughts are the enemy. The next Civil War in this country won’t be shooting at each other, it will be isolating ourselves from those with differing opinions.

We have to learn to talk to one another again. I am a huge fan of Celeste Headlee’s book, We Need to Talk. She teaches us how to have conversations that matter and I will say that I know her personally and disagree with a lot of her views, but we still can dialogue and be friendly. She knows what she is talking about and the book is worth the read or at least watch her Ted Talk.

Slowly but surely, we are losing our ability to think critically and to share those thoughts with others in a non-threatening way. As leaders, we need to be open minded and encourage our teams to fight this instinct to fall into the binary thinking trap. We need to encourage open dialogue and listen to those who think differently.


Daily Deliberation: 23 September 2018

It is amazing the moment a leader realizes that the goal is not to have a team of followers but a team of leaders. When you do not empower and develop your team, you have to think for each one of them and direct them accordingly. When you are doing that, you can’t accomplish anything else. When you empower and train your team, you are now thinking about the big picture and moving the organization forward. You can focus on where you’re going and how to develop even more leaders.

Daily Deliberation: 20 September 2018

This is something I am struggling with a lot lately. As I try to define who I am and what I want my future to look like, I am trying to discover what my “art” is. I know what I am good at and what I like to do, but what are others willing to pay me to do.

Daily Deliberation: 12 September 2018

I have worked for and with so many people who simply could not control their cool. Some of them were scary to be around in high-stress scenarios and others were actually fun to get spun up. I watched wrenches, clipboards, coffee mugs, and many other objects fly across the room or flightline and even a couple people who began to dry heave. All because of stress. Now, everyone else on the plane or team was experiencing the same stress factors, we just had a different response. When you are leading a team and things begin to crumble, it is normal to feel stressed. It is normal to want to throw something, swear or whatever. However, you can’t let your team see this, because they are looking to you to be their rock. I bet the guy in the picture is stressed out; however, he knows he has to remain calm for his team.

5 Leadership Lessons Learned from a Pencil

Too often we allow what others are doing or what they think we should be doing to control our lives. This was evident throughout my career and especially as I was being “groomed” for Senior and Chief. Sometimes this was to develop me and sometimes it was to further their own career. The hard part was always discerning the two.

When I was TSgt and had my first real leadership role in the service, I had learned that many leaders have their own agendas and are just trying to control what is in their sphere. I saw some were very nearsighted and did whatever it took to clear their to-do lists. I saw these same temptations within myself when the pressure was turned up and I made the conscious choice to never become “that” guy.

I just came across the following story/parable/whatever it is classified as and it took me back to the period in my life when I had this revelation:

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. 

“There are 5 things you need to know,” he told the pencil, “Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget and you will become the best pencil you can be.” 

One : “You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand.” 

Two : “You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll need it to become a better pencil.” 

Three : “You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.” 

Four : “The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.” 

And Five : “On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.” 

How this advice could be applied:

One: You can’t do anything worthwhile by yourself. We have to be willing to ask for help, allow others to provide input, be willing to follow those on our team if they can move the ball better than us. We need others.

Two: The pencil that never needs to be sharpened is not making a mark. We will fail and we will lose sleep as we are pushing ourselves past our limits. We will become dull and feel overwhelmed. But it is only for a season. You will get through it and better on the backend.

Three: One of my first lessons as a maintainer was, “Don’t be afraid of the plane. If you break it, it can be fixed.” We will make bad decisions and we will let our team down. If we are willing to try and willing to admit our mistakes, they will forgive.

Four: Be yourself. I am most proud that I was able to do my career as me. I didn’t sacrifice who I was for anyone or anything.

Five: What is your legacy? Are you going to be remembered as the person who got everything completed or the person who invested in others. What will be your mark on your team and those who follow after?

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