Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader



Daily Deliberation: 17 March 2018

Thank you all for supporting what we do! Have a safe and happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


Daily Deliberation: 15 March 2018

There is so much truth to this. Every time I have been on a team without an absent leader, confusion and underperformance were very obvious issues. I feel my number one role in my current position is to manage communication and protect the culture. I find if I do these two things, confusion and underperformance do not get a foothold. I am actually ok with friction, because friction forces us out of our comfort zones.

Daily Deliberation: 14 March 2018

Growing up, I never had the name-brand stuff that the other kids had. What I did have were parents that taught me to improvise. I couldn’t throw money at a problem and had to use what I had. I think all of us can try this a bit more at work. We complain about not having enough people or other resources, but when we really knuckle-down, we see have enough to make it work. Take the time to look for the solutions no one else sees…it will set you apart from the others.

Want to Develop Others…?

The whole spirit of what we do here is to give back through mentorship what others have taught us. We would love to learn from you too as it will make our community even stronger. If you would like to write posts on here or share some other gift you may have, please let us know. We will post your stuff or leave you anonymous if you choose.

Email me:


Daily Deliberation: 7 March 2018

I always loved this quote. It reminds me of sitting through PME. On day one, there are those who speak loudly and are trying to “prove” they are leaders. When they get the chance, they usually don’t have the stuff to back it up with. However, the quiet one in the corner who just watches and listens typically becomes the one everyone trusts and seeks out in the tough times.

Inspire Tomorrow Podcast: Episode 011

Are leaders born or made?

We are all leaders. Listen as training and education are applied to becoming a better leader.

Listen to the episode here.

Read the article referenced here: The 4 Areas Air Force SNCOs must MasterĀ 

AND here is the follow up article that explains much of this podcast: Look Like You are Born to Lead.

Music: Danger Storm by Kevin MacLeod

Daily Deliberation: 3 March 2018

When things are going great in our lives, we struggle to see the areas where things are not quite up to par. However, the exact opposite is also true. When we are in a bad place, it is very tough to see the positive things. If we only sought out the bad things in good times, we could use our momentum to fix them. And if we sought out the positive in times of bad, we could build use it to build momentum.

Daily Deliberation: 2 March 2018

This is so true these days. We are more concerned with our own opinions or the binary logic of those we follow, that miss so much. I have been clouded (and often still am) by my personal views that I have actually tuned out or ignored those with differing views. However, when I force myself to listen, I always gain a new perspective and learn something new. We have to stop believing everything is black or white; right or wrong. There is much in the gray areas that make us better people and leaders. We just have to listen.

How to Expand Your Scope as a Leader

Over the past month, I have been seeking one-on-one opportunities to serve others through mentorship. I have seen a few themes repeat and one that I have found myself talking about the most is scope. Many of us in the military are looking for more responsibility and opportunities to help others or to run bigger teams.

Sometimes it is for promotion consideration and to look better on paper. These requests are typically very easy to spot. However, most of the time, people want to take on a new challenge or they think they can solve some of the problems they see at the next level. On my team we have a lot of very talented NCOs and only a handful of “leadership” duty positions. Not everyone on the team will get a chance to hold one of these spots, but all of them have the opportunity to develop leadership experience.

Not sure if I ever talked about my rank on here, but I am a SMSgt and most of those on my team are SSgts and TSgts. Rank has its purpose and is needed for structure, but rank doesn’t mean I am a better leader than another. The true difference between a SSgt and a SMSgt or even a Chief is their scope of responsibility. Example: A SSgt on my team is responsible for the nuts and bolts of a program, they are responsible for perfecting their teaching skills and caring for those in their class. I have the same responsibilities, but on a larger and broader skill where I look after the processes of the programs, developmental milestones for the instructors and overall welfare of all of the students.

Leaders at every level touch the same things in an organization, what makes those with higher ranks different is their experience. I would not be effective at monitoring the process if I had never been a ground-pounder in the past. Starting there, I learned what could happen in different situations and what worked and what didn’t. Then as time went on, I became better in some areas and was able to expand my scope. It wasn’t the stripe that made me a better leader, it was the experience.

To gain this experience is not as hard as you would think, it just takes some deliberate development (see what I did there?):

Don’t just go through the motions. As we go through our days, we typically deal with issues as they arise. We seek solutions based on our checklists or experiences. What we need to do is to look at why this issue exists and why we chose the solution we did. There is no need for a 5 Why root cause analysis here or to pen a master’s level thesis; just some basic reflection.

Look ahead. Once you understand the basics of what is causing the issues, you can start to see them coming on a little sooner. The more you reflect and look ahead the faster you will gain quality experience. With practice, you will become one of those people who just seems to have it all together and ready for more responsibility.

Gain big picture perspective. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought an idea or decision that was passed down the chain was not very good. Later as I learned more about this decision, I realized it was very smart at the time. For example, a peer set up an event at an off-base location and the venue gave him the room free of charge. When he briefed this to his commander, he said it had to go through the legal office. My thoughts were that this was another stupid decision where these senior leaders are trying to add layers and complicate the simplest of things. Turns out…that is considered getting a gift from an outside agency and could easily cross ethical boundaries (gulp). When you hear something that doesn’t seem to make sense, ask for the reason behind it. You will more than often gain some insight from those who have the experience.

To gain more leadership ability, learn to widen your scope. When you do more opportunities will come your way and you will be ready.

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