Zhuge Kongming said, "Advance and retreat are a matter of timing- military affairs are not directed by the ruler but by the general. Therefore, there is no heaven above, no earth below, no adversary ahead and no ruler behind. If generals can be like this, people will be willing to fight when they give the orders, and the enemy will be defeated before any blood is shed. Look upon your soldiers as beloved children, and they will willingly die with you.”
I don't need my people to die with me to do their job, but look at it more along the lines of discipline and respect. "When you can be like this", your people will follow you wherever you need them to go and will do whatever it takes to create success. This has been my credo for a very long time. Whenever I get a new officer under me, I share it with them and explain the meaning of it.
Once someone asked one of my colleagues if I really lived this stuff or if I was full of crap. My colleague told me he said I not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. It's one of the finest compliments I think I have ever heard. I try to lead with integrity and while I expect much from my people, I know they expect much from me as well. I am not kidding when I say that I am truly embarrassed when I let them down somehow, and that does happen from time to time.
Try to lead as if not only your life depends upon your ability to command, but as if your subordinates' lives do too, because their lives DO depend on it. Learn your craft, know how to lead and command, and strive for excellence.
Also on Firehouse Zen …
- Leadership That Matters, Part 15: The Bag of Tricks – May 16, 2012
- Contradiction – August 31, 2012
- Leadership That Matters, Part 8 – May 4, 2012
- Leadership That Matters, Part 13: Ironies – May 11, 2012