Yes ladies and gentleman of the interweb the corps has returned in its entirety this week from our interim winter break. This time of year can be bleak as the days grow short. I notice this mainly because I hear the sound of evening colors from my room go off sooner and sooner with each passing day. These darkening days can cause bleakness among the corps due to the latter mentioned darkness in addition with the bitterness of the winter air. But there is a light!
You see, a revelation has happened here at the Academy. Upon returning, the class of 2017, my class, is faced with looking ahead. We are already being trained for, and talked to about, the impending summer, which is supposedly our most important summer, so I am told… I guess this makes sense as this summer we are no longer under-class, but just not upper-class. We are thrown into the fire and allowed to orchestrate out a leadership style of our own to be implemented on the incoming class. Now the question rests on my mind…how do I lead the incoming class?
Until now, I haven’t given leadership much thought. I, more or less, just do rather than stop and talk about the “what” and “why” of my doings. Lately, however, I have come to a keen understanding that developing my leadership is important to not only this summer, but to myself. I owe it to myself to take the time to really learn the “what” and “why”. That way, when I first lay eyes on the swabs I will know exactly how to handle them.
With that I have started developing a leadership philosophy so let me know if I have gone off the tracks here. Through my own experience, observations, and readings this is the down and dirty of what I believe. My two cents if you will.
- Influence vs. Power: You can have all the positional power in the world, but you will never be as strong a leader as the person who has the most influence. If people feel some divine desire to do what you ask rather than a nagging need to, you will succeed more often than the one who relies on position.
- Punishment vs. Reward: Swab Summer, time to yell and do push ups right? Sure, but in good measure. When punishment or reward is abused and out of balance, no growth is made. It all becomes routine, finding the balance between the two will have much more of an impact than doing countless push ups.
- Resource vs. Boss: Lastly is this idea of being a resource. As a leader, it can be more beneficial to be seen as a colleague or resource. You should be guiding people in the right direction by feeding them information and wisdom. Then they can function autonomously. If you act as a “do what I say” or “boss” type leader, people will not have as much respect for you and will not feel a part of the team.
That is just the down and dirty of my beliefs. If you are a team captain or are looking for a leadership position and want to talk to someone just shoot me an email! Or if you have questions on anything about the Academy please don’t hesitate!
Have an American day,
More about Shane.