Leads – Born or Made By Circumstance

veteran’s corner

Tom Krabbenhoft

Greetings! I hope everyone had a safe Veterans Day and that you were able to get out and enjoy some brotherhood.
Happy birthday, United States Marine Corps! Holding the line since 1775.
Another election is past us, and we again selected our leaders. Political leadership seems to lay in money, polls and demographics. It led me to think of the importance of leadership in not only the military but in everyday life.
Recalling my earliest days of military service, I worked in a TOC (Tactical Operation Center). It’s where the magic takes place. All the brass works there. The pieces of the puzzle are picked up and assembled there. I listened to many sage senior officers and junior officers discuss leadership. It was truly a place to see and hear about a myriad of leadership styles.
What makes a leader? Theory has it some leaders are born; some are made; and others are circumstance leaders.
I witnessed many leadership styles and differences according to services. In the combat arms field, a leader would always eat last. If there wasn’t enough food to go around, the problem would be fixed. This left a strong impression among young troops.
I never witnessed this in some other services. This is a practice of servant leadership. Interestingly, both Generals Grant and Lee reflected this style in different ways
We’ve all seen natural born leaders. We’ve seen them as kids organizing the other kids in school and the neighborhood. They’re confident, extroverted and personable and have charisma and vision. Winston Churchill, even with his many flaws, was a strong natural leader. Eisenhower was a master delegator. He had a keen sense to gauge subordinates on abilities.
Circumstantial leaders are thrust into the role. They don’t have to be of high stature or in a leadership position. Several recent examples emerged from 9/11. A simple window washer, Jan Demczur, saved several lives through his use of his squeegee handle. I’d submit most Medal of Honor recipients are also examples. Sgt. Alvin York was a conscientious objector at first. After some soul-searching, he decided to take up his role as an infantryman in WWI. He single-handedly killed more than 20 Germans and captured another 130. His actions saved many lives. To this day, he remains one of the most highly highest decorated soldiers.
Alexander the Great stands out as a made leader. His father, King Phillip II, is regarded as a great king who built a strong kingdom, both in military and economic terms. Alexander, who had Aristotle as a personal tutor, was afforded every advantage a leader needs to succeed. He took full advantage of and conquered most of the known world.
One thing all leaders have in common is recognizing and seizing the moment.
Thoughts, comments or ideas? Please reach me at 11btwk@gmail.com.

Comments are closed.

  • Facebook