Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Your WAR FACE - Leadership Posturing

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A great part of leadership is acting -- it involves playing a role that is so convincing that your audience, your employees, your followers, your troops....whomever... is/are absolutely convinced that you are a leader.

Much of this acting goes into making an impression while you are about to speak (and are silent) or when you are listening to the report of a subordinate (and not speaking). What follows sounds humorous. It is as serious as the proverbial heart attack. Do it.

You must put on your "War Face." Regardless of your carriage, posture, physique, manner of dress, or any of a multitude of variables which comprise the picture of your persona, your War Face is the most powerful visual cue evidencing your ability to lead. And you must look like a leader to lead - whether you aspire to emulate John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Attila the Hun or Alexander The Great.

When the moment comes to put on your War Face, you must absolutely be centered, focused and intimidating....like a cobra before a strike. Your face must be stock still and unsmiling. You must look as if you are ready to pounce. Your gaze must be intensely-focused upon your audience. You must be silent, as if waiting to hear a report or waiting for an invitation to present your own speech.

One slightly raised skeptical eyebrow is a fine effect, but is certainly not necessary -- in fact, if you overdue it, you will look like you are acting. Your lips must be tightly shut, nostrils slightly flared. Your gaze cannot waver.

You must create tension, intimidation and fearful anticipation of your next move, i.e., "will he behead me or knight me?"

Why this War Face?

Because it has been associated with every commander since the beginning of recorded history.

And because, in the words of my late father, "Power is how people perceive you."

Douglas E Castle  for the Taking Command Blog

by Douglas E Castle

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Leadership: Educating Your Employees Is Crucial

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One of your jobs as a leader, a general, or any type of commander is to set a living example for others to admire and follow -- free of hypocrisy and inconsistencies. Another one, which is every bit as important, is for you to be an educator. You must invest time in helping your charges, followers or team members to develop their respective skill sets in every important aspect. You are a teacher, a trainer and a coach.

 The areas that are generally most important to educate those for whom you are responsible are these (not listed in any particular order:

1) The importance of clarity, precision and timeliness in communications;

2) Dispute resolution and compromise;

3) Decision-making skills. Building these crucial skills amongst your employees or troops helps them to resolve more of their own issues, and helps start them along the path to be leaders themselves.

A brief article excerpt foolows. Once you have clicked on it and read it, please hit the "BACK" button on your browser and return to read the rest of this post.
  • How to cope with workers who act like toddlers When workers act out and get into childish fights, their bosses need to provide some adult supervision, writes Roberta Matuson. That doesn't mean putting them in timeout, but instead helping them find ways to act more maturely. "A strong leader gives employees the tools needed to resolve conflict situations on their own, rather than continuously playing the role of referee," Matuson writes. FastCompany.com/FC Expert Blog

As a leader, the better you are as an educator of those who are answerable to you, the more effective you can be at accomplishing your most crucial objectives. By educating your employees, troops or team members, you are investing the development of a more-efficient, smoother-running operation.

The best leaders, help prepare their future peers and successors.  

Douglas E. Castle for the Taking Command Blog.

p.s. Please visit our TwitterLinks Hubspot Blog to find a varied and interesting list of different Twitter Feeds that might be of interest to you. Choose as many as you'd like to follow. I think that you'll find the content useful and of superior quality.

by Douglas E Castle

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Action Shouts: Threats Only Provoke.

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I have never been a fan of threatening. It is, generally speaking, either a coward's last resort, or a harbinger of certain decimation by a party who has a history of making good on threats -- his threats are promises, with a bit of very uncomfortable desperation and panic time between the message delivery date and the inevitable.

Repeated threats, never followed by action, ultimate have the opposite effect of what you'd expect or desire -- they invite counter-threats, challenges, and even provoke your adversaries to pre-emptive acts of aggression against you under the guise of "disarming a potential threat." That not only provides you, sitting in the seat of command, with a sudden deflation from offensive to defensive posturing and strategy, but it often provides your adversaries, with justification -- not only in the eyes and hearts of their fighting forces, but in terms of the court of world opinion.

A warning should suffice. If it fails to quell the problem, then you must not continue to amp up the threat -- you must swiftly and without a second warning (these are construed as idle threats) act. You are forced to execute on a promise. The excerpt which follows speaks volumes, as definitive action generally does.


American commandos staged a daring raid in Somalia on Wednesday morning, rescuing two hostages, including an American woman, who had been kidnapped by pirates and held for months. Seal Team Six (U.S. Commando Elite Force Unit), the same organization which carried out the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, was engage for this mission. The article excerpt which follows appears courtesy of The New York Times. Please give it a scan, and when you've finished, hit the "BACK" button on your browser to come back here for some observations and commentary. I'll be holding my breath (just kidding)...

U.S. Military Frees 2 Western Hostages From Somali Pirates


Ultimately, a warning should simply be a cause and effect statement.

Something along the lines of "If you haven't stopped this within 10 days, we will consider it as an act of war, and will decimate your infrastructure. There will be no further warnings and no further discussion."

Melodramatic .... perhaps. But in sum, the world belongs to those people who seek first to reason (a discussion, perhaps followed by a warning), and then take action. Threats just add fuel to a fire that frequently creates blowback right into your own camp.

Douglas E. Castle for Taking Command!


P.S. If you crave information and advice about leadership, command, control, confidence, persuasion and getting things accomplished, we would be delighted if you would follow any or all of our Twitter streams. You can find a list of them at http://TwitterLinksHubspot.blogspot.com.

by Douglas E Castle

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