Militairy Leadership, Players and Followers

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Militairy Leadership, Players and Followers
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States

The ethic of the military leader is Mission, Men, Self, in contrast to the Me, Myself and I of the current virtue of selfishness Harvard Business model. The military leader is, by, definition, an action centered leader. It comes with the pay grade.
An essential element of military leadership is to transform followers to players, which is to say, from passive to active participants in the leadership process. The Army Ranger School, which is the foremost leadership laboratory in America, is based on the cooperate and graduate culture of the high performance organization and requires the participants to be active players in the training process.
This idea of "followership" is so 19th Century Scientific Management which limits its performance expectations to the "Wilbert" personnel pool.
Just for the record, one of the things driving suicide rates among combat veterans is coming to work in organizations where managers embrace the leadership/followership model. Combat vets were empowered to exercise considerably more initiative than is possible in the Harvard performance model.

Absolutely Correct
David Redpath, CEO, Canada
Very well said. It has driven me crazy since leaving the military at how bad, greedy and totally unethical the leadership of most business is. I would also add: 'inept' in most cases.

Inept is the Operative Word
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States
I left the military in 1971. I am an Army brat and the idea of working in business never entered my head until I had to. It was evident at that time that there was a crises of leadership in the commercial sector of the US economy and it has just gotten worse.
Regarding greed, I have heard a million times from retired officers who had planned on showing the business world how to do it after about 2 years of your experience "Money isn't everything".
Of course, the problem is that they have entered an arena where money is the only thing. And the capitalist will sell you the rope with which you will hang him. Given the economic dislocation since 1981, the truth of that observation is too evident. The performance model of the Harvard Business School is stuck in the 19th Century version 1951.

Military & Leadership
Greg Johnson, Partner, United States
Interesting discussion with a bit of emotion in the language.
I too am a military veteran as well as a Vietnam Veteran. I have a little different take on the Military versus Civilian Leadership platform.
For openers, I find the reference to Military and Leadership to be a bit oxymoronic by definition since the freedom to think creatively or out of the box is a punishable act in the military.
Yes, there are monumental problems with many corporate private sector leadership agendas. There are also monumental problems with the manner in which the military in general places the absolute control of thousands in the hands of a few. I recall in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive when a Colonel would not give us permission to fire because he "did not feel" they were an imminent threat. He was approximately 1/2 mile behind our lines and could not see what was actually taking place - we opened fire to protect our OP.
Leadership is based on military theory. Military leadership is followership.


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