“He had confidence. His knowledge about the job and what needed to be done was superior to others. He had a sense of himself and what he brought to the job. He had a vision of where he would take the team.” *
This is an excerpt from a US Army officer efficiency report for a certain lieutenant colonel who was serving as a battalion commander in the early 1990’s. But what I would give if only it could be said about me and I think most of you would like this to be said of you as well. It almost seems like an epitaph, something I think a lot of folks would like to be said as their eulogy, doesn’t it?
When you think about the qualities and skills required to be an effective leader, I’ve written about some of these before. The sense of confidence derives from the next sentence, knowing the job well. That confidence is spawned because this person worked harder than most to know the job and knowing how to communicate it to his subordinates. That communication is often done in pieces, yet the leader keeps the gist of the overall plan in play at all times. By having a sense of himself, he took into account his strengths and weaknesses, knowing, for each task, which to emphasize and which to minimize or improve upon. And perhaps most importantly, he wasn’t just trying to get the job done or make it until the next payday…he had vision, that extraordinary sense of the next level of accomplishment. That extraordinary sense of making his team better and, thus, more valuable to the organization. That extraordinary sense that goes far beyond the routine pluses and minuses of the daily grind of micromanagement.
So who was this Army officer? You probably heard of him later in his career when he was promoted to be General David Petraeus, now Director of the CIA. I think his superior who wrote that OER some twenty years ago was pretty good at recognizing leadership talent.
*From All In, by Paula Broadwell, The Penguin Press, 2012
About the author:
David Ciarella is a Houston, Texas native. He has his bachelor’s from the University of Texas at Austin and served four years as an officer in the U.S. Army. He has experience in leading and building sales teams in the chemical and power industries and has won numerous awards for his work. Ciarella also has a U.S. patent and has written several articles for various publications. For further information, please see www.TopNotchLeadership.com