We are taught that “leadership is an island”. In the military, the division between the leader and the led is well defined, structured, and has been in place with few changes for a very long time. If you have never taken the time to ponder and internalize the meaning of the phrase “leadership is an island”, I invite you to take some time and do so. Is leadership an island? Does it need to be?

For many, the answer is yes. For most of those, they take that truth to an unnecessary extreme because. How many times have you seen a leader be unnecessarily cold, uncaring, and robotic? On the other side of that extreme are leaders whose sole objective seems to be to make those they lead like them. That is ineffective and frankly, selfish. So, what’s the antidote? If the answer is somewhere in the middle, what is the internal dialogue that leaders should be having with themselves? The following three things have been the most valuable guiding principles in every leadership decision I’ve ever made. They were inspired by a book I read years ago named the Mission, the Men, and Me by Pete Blaber.

I believe these principles to be universally applicable for any leader who is seeking to lead effectively while keeping their heart in the right place.

In any scenario, ask yourself, in this order,

  1. What is best for the mission? What is my charge, what is best for the organization I lead? What objective am I being asked to achieve?
  2. What is best for those I lead? Is this the “easy” way, or is this truly right for them and in their best interest?
  3. What’s best for me?

Notice what comes last in the order of priority? Think on it.

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