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August 1, 2018

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Leadership- Begins on Day One

May 23, 2018

Leadership begins on the first day you take charge.  For a leader, there is no "probationary status", you are either calling the shots or you aren't.  And even on your first day, decisions have to be made. 


On your first day as a leader, people will extend you wary respect and trust based solely on your rank or title.  Good leaders know that this tentative relationship is not one to rely on and that rank is a placeholder, not a tool.  So on day one, start building genuine relationships with your team.  You are the leader.  If you want respect, show the way by respecting others.  If you want others to trust you, you must trust them first. 


Never rely on rank as a way to generate respect.  People are only influenced by someone they trust and respect, not someone with a title.  Think about it.  My troops may salute me around the barracks and call me 'sir' when required to.  They will give deference to my rank.  But when bullets are flying and they are in mortal peril, they will never follow or obey me if they do not genuinely respect and trust me.  Rank has nothing to do with it. 


As a new leader, you will not have all the answers.  And, as it turns out, as an old leader you still won't have all the answers.  That is why you have a team.  Don't be afraid to ask your team questions.  By questioning your team, you can find the members of your team that can be relied on for advice.  You can learn from your team, demonstrating  both humility and your role as their enabler.  You can build on trust and respect by listening to your team's ideas and acting on them. 


The leader's role is never one of taking on the entire job.  A leader is first and foremost an enabler.  You should not stress when issues crop up that you have never encountered.  Turn to your team.  There should be someone that can give you some good advice.


Remember, there is no probationary leadership.  There is no "acting" or "temporary" leaders.  You are either making decisions that matter or you are not.  So on day one, start building relationships right away.  Talk to your team and learn from them.  And make decisions with confidence.

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