I had the great opportunity to attend Leadercast 2015 last week and I wanted to take a few minutes to share what I took away from the event. Besides almost unlimited Chick-fil-A, I got to spend most of the day with a great leader and friend, Kevin Bowser.
I am sure that most of our dedicated readers will not be surprised to find out the majority of my take a ways are from CMDR (RET) Rourke Denver, a former Navy SEAL and true American hero. The two topics I want to discuss today are confidence, and change. Two things that I feel are important to Leadership, and the way CMDR Denver discussed them, really made them stick.
“No One can make you feel inferior, without your consent.”
I would like to start with a story CMDR Denver told us about an airplane trip he took shortly after he retired from active duty:
“I was boarding a plane heading home shortly after I retired in 2006. I approached my row and noticed a man was already in the isle seat. I had about 10 seconds to size up whether or not we were going to get along, or I was going to have to fight for the arm rest for the entire flight. So, I stowed my carry on, and said excuse me and began the dance of getting past him to my seat. I sat down, tried to get comfortable about the time he looked at me and said “ Hi, I’m Jim, what do you do for a living?” You have to understand a little about what I had been doing for the last 5 years. Twenty something missions over 5 deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, with some of the best and hardest men I had ever seen. My confidence was at an all time high, so I looked him dead in the eye and said, “I’m a professional gun fighter”. Needless to say I had to explain before he freaked out and ran off the plane, but I didn’t have to compete for the arm rest the entire flight.”
I shared that story because a confident leader is a great leader. Confident is not cocky, its not conceited, its focused and its deliberate. I have heard women say “Confidence is sexy” but more importantly, I think it is reassuring and attractive. So be confident in your leadership and make good decisions for your team.
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we really aren’t living.”
Secondly CMDR Denver spoke about rifle training and what it means to make changes or corrections. He compared these two things by talking about a day spent on the rifle range with new SEALS and learning to “Zero” their rifles. It was not uncommon for a new out of the box rifle to be severely off target. So when they found a rifle that was shooting “off the paper” his advice was to “spin the dial” which meant make serious and large adjustments to the scope. However small these adjustments may be at the barrel, they will be larger down range. There are two leadership lessons I would like to apply here. One is, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to either your direction or your leadership style. Secondly, adjustments may look small at the present time, but could make huge differences to your legacy or your team’s growth.
So in closing, it was a great seminar. It was worth the time I spent, not to mention the food. I challenge everyone that is a leader or has aspiration of leadership, to check out the website, www.leadercast.com, and get involved for next year.