I recently attended a 3-day course in conflict resolution titled “The Ethical Protector” directed by Jack Hoban of Resolution Group International and several members of the RGI team, including lieutenant colonel Joe Shusko, USMC (retired). Lt Col Shusko, aka “Joe Marine,” focused his portion of the training on the moral responsibility of leaders to be physically present for their troops / teams.

In a 3-page article published in the Marine Corps Gazette in September 2013, Lt Col Shusko laid out the road map for “Leadership 101.”

According to Shusko, leaders spend too much time at their desks. Shusko recommends that leaders spend an hour on the computer in the morning and an hour on the computer in the evening.

In between, leaders need to be out with their troops / teams, mentoring, leading, and expressing genuine concern for their soldiers.

Following is an excerpt from the article which resonates with one of the most important principles in Verbal Defense: Communicating concern for the other person.

“We all need to be reminded that the basics are in our core values, leadership traits, and principles, all of which are action items; in other words, the basics must be practiced with your Marines. But today’s leaders are so busy, tied to their computers answering taskers or sending and receiving email, that they are doing anything and everything but actually being out with their Marines. Imagine if one of those same Marines got up from his desk and went to the other side of the partition and said, “Hey, Marine, let’s go PT “or” let’s go do MCMAP and discuss something. Anything.”

“What a concept! Sounds like Leadership 101 to me. Unfortunately, many leaders have truly forgotten what it’s like to be a leader. So what happens? We have issues with suicide, spousal abuse, sexual assault, financial failure, issues with the law, and on and on, and we try to patch up these issues that require hands-on leadership with computer programs, PowerPoint presentations, bumper stickers, and other bandages that are simply not working….”

“We don’t need more bumper stickers or new programs. Instead of redefining a problem we already know we have, or promoting programs that have little chance of sustained success, imagine if the 1,000 well-intentioned doctors, Marines, sailors, soldiers, and others who were at the Combat Operations Specialist Course conference adopted one warrior themselves and personally showed “genuine concern” for his professional and personal welfare by mentoring him 24/7, 365 days a year?

“What a great “program” that would be! And what type of program would that be? It’s called Leadership 101!”

Shusko feels that concern should be communicated in person rather than by email, power point, Twitter, or any other social media. If you as a leader want to develop a highly functioning team, cultivate your men and women personally.

The full article can be found online at http://www.rgi.co/media/pdf/Leadership-101-Shusko-Gazette9-2013.pdf .

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