Back to basics bridges the generation gap

| January 25, 2013 | 0 Comments


Command Sgt. Maj. David Clark
3rd Brigade Combat Team,
25th Infantry Division

The premise is simple; we must bridge the generational gap by emphasizing key elements of leadership in order to empower the next set of Army leaders.

Over my 28-year career, I have witnessed the transformation of our Army from a Cold War machine, to an adaptive and innovative fighting force.

We now allow leaders at the lowest level to make critical decisions that greatly impact the battlefield.

I believe a few key traits must continue to be passed generationally.

Lead by example. If you’re cutting corners, the best will lose faith in you, the worst will follow in your footsteps and the others will do what they must to survive in a murky ethical environment.

Be authentic. Authentic leaders lead with purpose, meaning and values. They are consistent and self-disciplined. When their principals are tested, they refuse to compromise.

Authentic leaders are dedicated to developing themselves and others. They know that becoming a leader takes a lifetime of personal growth.

Coach. Coaching is the single most important part of expanding others’ capabilities. As a leader, you acquire a lot of knowledge, experience and wisdom along the way.

You’ve surely heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach a man how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” That’s coaching. Good leaders regard every encounter as an opportunity to coach.

The foundation of a great organization is the way it develops Soldiers and leaders. Allow Soldiers to learn by putting them in challenging situations, giving candid feedback and fostering an environment in which learning is fundamental.

Always put the team first. Soldiers have to know that you care. That does not mean leaders are buddies, but they need to have a concern for their Soldiers’ well-being. Putting the team first demands sacrifice, courage and perseverance. When Soldiers know their leaders care, they will listen, follow and do what is expected of them.

As always, the past is important. Keep in mind the lessons learned along your journey. It is important to remember that our strength is our culture of learning.

We are a learning organization and must continuously adapt to our operational environment. Allow our past experiences to propel us forward while remembering that the future is unclear.

Continue to teach, coach and mentor, so the next generation will be stronger than the last.

Broncos. … None Better!


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