I’ve been in many leadership positions starting with my career in the Navy. I’ve experienced great and horrible bosses, and there have been times when I’ve been either a great boss, and times when I didn’t do so well. I own that and learned from it. Leadership is hard.
I was a shy, high school drop-out, and looking for a job. At the time, the job market wasn’t great, so I joined the Navy. Wow! That was a huge decision, and indeed changed my life.
The Navy was an amazing place to learn and grow. Leaders spend most of their time teaching junior sailors how to be a good leader. It was there I learned about hard work, open communication, and the gift of feedback. I was a good student and was recommended for officer school. I decided to get out and go to college.
I was also awarded the Naval Good Conduct Medal.
After many hard years of working and going to college I graduated with a Master’s in English, something a shy high school dropout would never have imagined.
Over time, hard work and a “can do” (Navy) attitude increased my responsibility and I was soon in a management position in Human Resources.
I was asked to lie on official documents by a senior Vice President. Terrified, I declined. I did not lose my job, but I did not get any more promotions.
In fact, I was assigned more work. That’s okay. I was offered a better job outside the organization and left.
Working in an organization that was made up of silos, I felt isolated, embattled and bitter. I was so absorbed with willing my initiatives to be implemented, I completely ignored the needs of my team, my colleagues and myself.
I put myself before them and should have put them before myself.
Here are the ten things I know for sure about leadership.
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