Leadership: December 26, 2001


: The Marine Gazette recently published 30 more bits of advice from General Perry Smith (obvious but unknown theories of leadership). These are summarized and paraphrased below: 

1. Move yourself and your unit from data and information into knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

2. Do not delay celebrating when your people do something extraordinary.

3. Laugh at yourself, not at others. This heals your mistakes and helps everyone learn.

4. Find ways to get people who don't like each other to work together.

5. Watch out for clever subordinates who manipulate you.

6. Things that cannot be measured (morale, esprit de corps) are more important than things you can count.

7. Be willing to forgive honest mistakes.

8. Look outside your own organization for great ideas.

9. Spending a lot of time on the malcontents only encourages them to complain more often.

10. Pick a positive and negative role model, then imagine how each would deal with your situation.

11. Enjoy your work; others will catch your enthusiasm.

12. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it quickly and fix it.

13. Avoid overconcentrating on the details.

14. Compete with total integrity; never take the easy way in training.

15. Anticipate the next crisis.

16. Avoid hiring people who are clones of yourself. You already have one of those. Find people who can give you a different approach to a problem.

17. Welcome criticism from loyal subordinates.

18. Don't set deadlines unreasonably.

19. Demand professional performance from start to finish.

20. If all you do is follow the political winds, nobody will respect you.

21. Be clear on the job to be done, but flexible on which of several honest ways it can be done.

22. If someone does something mean to you, it's his problem, not yours. Don't waste time getting even by doing something mean back.

23. Be clear about what your goals are, but consider every legitimate way to get there.

24. Accept the blame when your organization is at fault. You were part of the team even if not part of the problem.

25. When you find yourself competing with someone, find a way to cooperate instead. When two of your subordinates are competing, teach them to cooperate.

26. Network to seek and offer advice, ideas, and knowledge.

27. Avoid being a perfectionist. Demand excellence, but perfection is only frustrating.

28. Find a few close friends you can anchor to in tough times.

29. Use leverage to get the most of your time. If you cannot get through your in-box, learn to speed read. If you cannot type well, get a good computer with a spell checker. Whatever is holding you back, look at it as a bank of time you can draw from if you can find the technological key.

30. Leaders must serve their troops, not their egos. --Stephen V Cole


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