Leadership and Life in the Miltary

Posted by on Nov 17, 2011 in ComLead

For Veteran’s Day Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gibson spoke to Canisius students about leadership in the military. Gibson has been a lifetime soldier. A member of the United States Army, LTC Gibson currently is studying at the Army War College. This prestigious institution brings the best and brightest together. One area that the college focuses on is transformational leadership. What is the difference between great leadership in the military versus among civilians? Surprisingly, not much.

Gibson focused on servant leadership, which is founded on doing something and leading a mission that is greater than the individual. By focusing on people and the service being provided, it strengthens and promotes the mission among those working on it, and its counterparts. In order to bring constituents together for the purpose of servant leadership, a leader needs certain qualities. One of these qualities is transparency. It is important to have people who will be critical and provide feedback when you need it. Since a leader cannot be everywhere, they need to be a part of a network that can “plug the hole” when they are absent.

A second quality is authenticity. A person can claim to be a servant leader, but it is difficult to fake this type of commitment. If followers sense that the passion toward the mission is not genuine, it will negatively impact progress and success of an organization. In this globalized, technologically oriented world, people are still important. They are intrinsic to the functionality of a group. They need to feel valued, be aligned with the mission, and feel that their leaders are upholding their obligation to the institution. LTC. Gibson discussed the importance of these traits within the context of the military. Engaging soldiers in communication helps to accomplish more. In the case of the US Army, that may be to promote peace and strengthen international cooperation. In corporate America, it may be to make the most comprehensive search engine on the Internet. Which ever it is, it is clear that leadership is essential in every work environment.

This lecture was enlightening to the various ways leadership permeates society. It gave valuable insight to leadership in the military. While the life of a soldier is different than that of a civilian, their mission focuses on maintaining peace in our country. While reflecting on what Veteran’s Day symbolizes, it reinforced the appreciation and gratitude that we all have toward those who have served.

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