By Phil Tabor, USARECFebruary 11, 2014
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2014) -- "Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders." -- Tom Peters, writes about business management practices.
This is a very powerful statement and one with which many struggle. Ask the question whether you as a leader are defined more by the number of Soldiers and civilians that follow you, or defined by the number of those that become leaders?
Which is most important? Some believe that the number of followers is important because it demonstrates subordinate compliance and your leadership abilities. Others believe that both are critically important.
However, consider these points for a moment. Soldiers and civilians will follow their leaders for many different reasons. They follow because they are bound to do so by regulatory guidance, they follow because they respect the leader, they follow because they fear the leader, or they follow because they want to emulate the leader.
Each of you has more than likely followed for one of these reasons. Think about all your past leaders and ask which one developed you to be a leader? Which one invested in your future and the future of the Army? Which one found a way to balance mission accomplishment and your growth simultaneously?
I can remember the moment my career path became defined and the first time my leadership invested in my development and education. As a private E-1 on the first day of my first duty assignment, my squad leader sat me down and said, "You will know what I know, you will learn this business, and you will replace me as squad leader."
From that moment on I hated him with a passion because he volunteered me for every school available, made me develop and give classes to the squad and platoon, directed me to lead battle drills, made me prepare and then conduct counseling sessions with him using varying scenarios, and he made me go to every support agency on post and learn what they do to help Soldiers and families and provide a back brief to him.
I just wanted to be a private and do my job, and this squad leader was trying to turn me into a "lifer." I did not understand nor appreciate this onslaught of training until I took his place a year later as a private first class squad leader.
To this day, even after 32 years, I respect this leader more than anyone because he invested in me and established a foundation that I carried from private to command sergeant major, a life-long learner.
There have been several more leaders who invested in me, who earned my respect and made me the leader I became. I am not alone and we have many leaders within USAREC who are investing and creating leaders.
It is important to note that this is one of several testimonials and not just from days gone by. We have many examples of these same leaders here in USAREC that are investing in developing their subordinates to become leaders for the Army of 2020.
These leaders understand the difference between creating followers and creating leaders. They understand that it is better to invest in leader development than becoming a single point of failure. They understand that their subordinates are the future leaders of the Army and that it is their duty to keep the Army Strong.
The old philosophy of withholding knowledge out of fear of being replaced or making it appear one is irrelevant is detrimental to our command and the Army. Great leaders understand that if they invest in leader development it creates an environment that is more competent, effective, agile, and easier to lead.
It is an exciting time in USAREC and leader development. Soon you will begin experiencing the command's first holistic Leader Development Program that supports our current and future operational needs and increases the health of the command and Army.
Over the next several months we will make changes to how we acquire, train, employ, and develop Soldiers and civilians in a manner that makes us personally, professionally, and Army Strong.
Quote Source: 25 Great Leadership Development Quotes