Archive for the ‘Leadership Qualities’ Category

Developing Talent

April 19, 2010 2 comments

After my first week of work as a Marine, following boot camp and computer science school, I met my team leader Sgt Jim Condello. He had been away during my first week, attending the Staff Non Commissioned Officers Academy and preparing for his upcoming promotion to staff sergeant.

I met him as we checked in at the shop. Once we met, the team was given the morning off while the techs performed weekly maintenance on the mainframe. As I was leaving with the rest of the group, just as I had the week earlier, Condello asked me where I was going. He shook his head and told me to follow him.

For the next two hours, he had me doing any dirty job he could find. Every now and then, he would shout out my name and ask how it felt to be a private first class (PFC) in the Marines. I would keep working and say fine sergeant. The whole time, I was getting frustrated, but was not going to let him bother me to the point I did something stupid. After two hours, he yelled again and I had finally taken all I could without responding. I stood at attention and yelled “I like it a lot better than being a private, sergeant.”  He threw his head back, laughed hard and then told me to take the morning off.

I later realized that he was testing me. Condello had re-enlisted from the artillery and was used to a disciplined group. Many of the new guys in the shop had bad attitudes and he wanted to check mine. Once he discovered that I was a motivated young marine, I still had to do the duties of the lowest ranking guy on the team, but was treated with respect. He also went out of his way to teach me and prepare me to be an NCO.

Two years into my enlistment, I was meritoriously promoted to sergeant while on embassy duty. A few months later, I had a chance to speak to Condello and he asked me how I liked being a sergeant in the Marines. I laughed and said it was better than being a PFC. We both laughed. That was when I realized that he was as proud of my promotion as I was.

That was also a great lesson I learned from him. Condello was trying to prepare me to be a sergeant and replace him as he moved up.  He was a good leader.

I find myself looking more these days for opportunities to help others advance their careers. I think it’s the ultimate legacy that anyone could leave. If I do it correctly, then those that I help will turn around and do the same. It’s the gift that keeps giving.

Who was there to help mentor you? Who do you know, that has the talent and desire that you could mentor?


Leadership Qualities in “Trusted Advisers”

February 23, 2010 3 comments

Robert Fulghum wrote a popular book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. The book is full of common sense rules to apply to life in order to make life better.

Sometimes in my professional interactions, I think that all I ever needed to know I learned in boot camp. As a young Marine recruit, many things were drilled into me, including leadership training. Much of that training revolved around learning, developing and acting on 14 leadership traits and 11 leadership principles.  Nearly 30 years later, I can look back at successful relationships with clients, vendors and coworkers and know with absolute certainty that many of those traits and principles applied in each situation.

As business professionals, we often like to hold ourselves out as “trusted advisers.” Ian Brodie, in his Get Clients Blog, calls it the holy grail of professional services. Building on trust puts us into position to establish a long term working relationship. That can be accomplished by applying a few of the leadership traits, which are:

  • Enthusiasm, especially important during stressful and busy times, is being cheerful and optimistic, which puts the client at ease.
  • Bearing is conducting ourselves in a professional and competent manner.
  • Tact is dealing with people in a firm and courteous manner.
  • Unselfishness is making the other party okay.  This is being considerate of their needs at all times.
  • Integrity is being honest and ethical in all of your dealings.
  • Knowledge is being technically proficient in order to deliver quality service.
  • Dependability is getting the work done and delivered when promised.
  • Loyalty is a devotion shown to your others.  The payoff is usually the return of loyalty from others.

Develop and apply these traits in all business relationships and you will find success as a true trusted adviser.