Monday, January 12, 2009

Kolditz on leadership

Col. Thomas A. Kolditz, is head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy, and author of the book "In Extremis Leadership: Leading As If Your Life Depended On It."

In the WaPo by Sally Jenkins, there is a discussion by her about his book that I want you to ponder. First of all, I want you to remember all that you read and listened to over the last decade from our uniformed leadership about shipbuilding in general, but DDG-1000, LPD-17, and LCS in particular.

I also want you to remember the mindset that had our Navy kicking and screaming back to RIVERINE - and all the other vital missions that are in the bastard-redheaded-stepchild NECC - yet are such an important factor in this war.

Now that I have put my spin on it - ponder and discuss.
...high-risk environments are valuable crucibles in which real leaders are forged, because in "stark, unforgiving reality," people unerringly sense phoniness or someone who seems less than fully aware. Under threat, he suggested, they naturally gravitate to more authentic leaders.

Studies of leadership have found the value of truth-telling increases with the risk of the endeavor. In a low-risk activity like business, an organization can get by with inauthenticity from a leader and not suffer, but a parachute squad prizes frankness because the penalty for crisis-denial is death.
Truth-telling. Do we see our line of work as low-risk? Do people in high positions of leadership? Do we behave like leaders in a high-risk environment - should we? What is more important; political, physical, or moral risk? Are you focused on your personal risk, or those who you lead? How do you rack-and-stack them? Where is the line between truth, spin, and loyalty to your ISIC's master messages? What is your good name worth? What is your price - if you have one? When are you responsible for your words - and when, if ever, is the responsibility in the lap of leaders who ask others to spin around the truth? Do we do that; to each other, our subordinates, our elected leaders, the press? Do you do that? Why?


Hat tip LBG.

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