Monday, December 04, 2006

The NCO Creed and Servant-Leadership

I have mentioned Kent Blumberg's blog here on other occasions, and as long as he continues focus on issues of leadership and the importance thereof, I guess I will likely be trying to bang his drum again from time to time.

Over time, Kent has embraced the concept of "servant leadership." Can't say I blame him. If the term is new to you, you can certainly read Kent's post on the topic, but as he put it most recently, "a servant-leader is a steward of the resources under his care, and seeks to serve those he leads while still getting bottom-line business results."

Kent also pointed out that he added to his knowledge on the subject after having ready and being impressed (and rightly so) after reading a post by Bill Waddell which made the argument that NCO's in the army were, in fact, servant-leaders and suggested that people check out the NCO Creed to further underscore his point.

After reading the creed, Kent pulled out some key phrases which if you were to ignore the references to the military would indeed be a pretty darn good starter set for any manager anywhere. Here are the one's that Kent selected:

"I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety."

"Competence is my watchword."

"My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind -- accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers."

"All soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership."

"I know my soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own."

"I will communicate consistently with my soldiers and never leave them uninformed."

"I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment."

"I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage."

It should not come as a big time surprise to anyone that when it comes to the topic of leadership that there is much for us to learn from the military. Talk about an organization where leadership is the do all and end all when it comes to crunch time. Indeed, for those who follow the subject closely, they would tell you that some of the most comprehensive studies on leadership have been fostered by the military, especially when it comes to the chicken and egg debate of whether leaders come by nature or nurture.

In a former life I did some consulting, and there was a program that had been developed by The Center for Creative Leadership in conjunction the the Navy called Looking Glass. CCL still uses it. I thought it was the best and most powerful management simulation program to which I had ever been exposed.

If you or your organization is looking for a program to help you really understand and "reflect on" (no pun intended) your leadership style as well as the leadership culture of your organization, you might want to check it out.

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