Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader

Own The Message

Have you ever noticed how we judge the quality of the message against the messenger? We hear about something coming down the line and it is good or bad based on the person whom is saying it. It is rare that we hold the content of the message above the quality of the relationship of the person who says it.

Many of us learn about the Halo Effect in PME. It is where we look at someone in a more positive light because of a good first impression or a few big successes. We have a tendency to dismiss some of their hiccups because we have assigned an angel’s halo to them. Of course the opposite is true with a lesser talked about concept of the Horns Effect.

We can accept this potential pitfall and good leaders take ownership of their potential biases. However, almost none of us do this with our bosses. “That Pro Super is just trying to clear his board; he doesn’t care about us.” “That Section Chief keeps dishing out work because he is just trying to make rank.” There are very few people I know who haven’t muttered something like this about their boss.

The boss sends out tasks for us to work on and we look at the potential motives behind it. Instead, we need to look for how the work fits into the big picture. Although, I have met some pretty dumb and jerkish supervisors, I have not a single one who intentionally wanted to fail. With that mind, we might not like the plan, but we can at least say they are not purposefully driving the bus over the cliff.

Now, in order to lead our teams effectively through some task we know they will gripe about, we need to know the why. This comes by us asking our boss for the intent behind the task. How does this fit into the bigger picture? If he or she states it came from their boss, go to the source. Of course, you shouldn’t jump around the chain of command for some trivial task. Save this for things you know will impact the team in the long-term. For the more trivial stuff, embrace the suck and be a good leader for the team.

In Summary:
1. accept that your boss is not trying to fail on purpose
2. get the big picture intent behind the task
3. own the tasking and lead your team


Daily Deliberation: 20 May 2018

So often we look at what could happen and let all of the “what ifs” control our actions. We become crippled with the fear of something that isn’t even real. Statistics stop us in our tracks. Numbers on paper or a trend from the past. Sometimes there is not even a historical basis for our fear; rather, the ramblings of some idea fairy. It is very important to plan and seek the smartest route for our time and resources. Once we come up with a solution that is in-line with our core values, pull the trigger and go for it. Learn to recognize actual dangers and escape from the “what if” fantasy world.

Daily Deliberation: 19 May 2018

I love this notion. Our society used to value character and I think it is something we should do once again. Character is something that is formed by doing the right things over and over again. There are no hacks or shortcuts, There is no get-rich quick scheme to being a person of character. We have to do the right things and respect others…can’t imagine anything worth more to society.

Daily Deliberation: 18 May 2018

When we are starting out, we are not afraid to fail. We even have the “I’m just an Airman” mentality that gives us a pass for making simple mistakes. However, we get to the point where we are good at our jobs and others recognize our talents. We become the go-to technicians and have a reputation of excellence. It is here we become afraid to take new risks. “What if we fail? People will think we are not the best anymore.” Truth is, there is someone coming behind you not afraid to take on new challenges and they will soon surpass you. Remember you are successful because you weren’t afraid to fail in the beginning, not because you never failed.

Daily Deliberation: 17 May 2018

Lead by example is by far the best leadership advice ever muttered. We can read 1,000 books and give hundreds of great speeches; however, nothing exemplifies leadership better than quality action coming from an authentic person. Don’t fight for a duty title, fight to do the right thing in the position you are in.

Daily Deliberation: 16 May 2018

How true is this?! So often we hit a wall and take “a break”, but never start again. We know we will have to start again at the place we were stuck before. We look at starting again in a begrudging manner. Instead, we need to look at it as a challenge we can and will overcome. None of us look back on challenges we faced and overcame with regret, but regret the times we gave up all together.

Daily Deliberation: 15 May 2018

This really made sense to me after watching my 8 year old boss around her little brother. He agrees to be compliant when she is hen-pecking him, but that only lasts when she is around. Those who want to be the boss, are only effective when they are pulling the leash. Once they stop from exhaustion or have to move to another area, their influence is over. However, those who are leaders, can impact the masses long after they are gone.

3 Books You Need to Read as a SNCO

So far this year I have read several books. In fact, I have read three books that I wish I would have read before sewing on Master many moons ago. These books will help you provide feedback and assess how to approach those on your team; how to create important goals and motivate your team to meet them; and how to grow as a leader in your new role.

The first book is: Move Your Bus by Ron Clark. This book offers practical advice from an award-winning school teacher on how to assess and manage those on your team. Ron teaches us that our busses all have drivers, runners, joggers, walkers and riders. Each has a different level of value to add to the team and how to manage each. Move Your Bus is very practical and easy to read.

Many of us have employed the methods from the next book in some form or another, but it is doubtful that you have done all of the steps together. The Four Disciplines of Execution or 4DX by Sean Covey teaches leaders how to set the right goals. This book is a must read if you are leading a team and want to stop putting out fires on a daily basis. This book can feel a bit academic at times, but is packed with actionable advice all leaders should learn.

Lastly, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith is a book that will stop you from being a jerk boss. It forces us to look at how we can improve ourselves even though we may have been promoted to a position where we aren’t required to change. This book also offers some insightful advice from an executive coach with decades of wisdom in the field.

Leaders are readers. It is vital that we push our minds out of their comfort zones and learn from some of the greatest minds out there. These books are great suggestions to get started, but there are thousands of other books out there for you to choose from. If you find it difficult to find the time to read, we are trying to get a small group of people together to do a group session and discuss some concepts from these books and more. If you are interested in this, email me at and just say you’re interested. We plan to start meeting in early June.

Daily Deliberation: 13 May 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Without you this world would be a terrible place. Moms provide that love and nurturing no one else can ever give. Thank you!

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