The Case Against Starbuck: Why Talent is Not Enough

                For anyone who watched television in the early 2000s (oh, woe be upon us before the era of on-demand, streamable drama), Battlestar Galactica was a staple of the weekly line up. For anyone who was not an avid fan, the show featured an ensemble cast and their struggle against the Cylons, a race of …

The Importance of Being a Self-Aware Leader

"You're in the Army, you must not have any problems being assertive. You just say things and people do them, right?" Sitting in my counselor's office, these words fell on my ears and caused me to smile. Even in parts of the public where people are more familiar with the military, the idea of the …

What Going Back to Tech School Taught Me About Being an NCO

By Sergeant M Once you graduate from your initial technical school training, you take a final look out the rearview mirror and confidently state “I’m never coming back here again.” Until you come back seven years later for a course taken en route as a requirement for your next assignment……and you find yourself right back …

Learning from Bad Examples: When Poor Leadership Can Be Valuable

By Sergeant Swivel Responsibilities of Leadership In many organizations, one of the primary duties of leaders is to develop their subordinates. Air Force Handbook 36-2618, “The Enlisted Force Structure,” or, as it’s known among Airmen, “The Little Brown Book,” lays out responsibilities associated with each tier of the enlisted forces, making sure to note that …

Ethics: the Leader’s Struggle

So. I've been thinking about how there seems to be problems within the general officer/flag officer ranks when it comes to ethics - as in, the violations of ethics, specifically. And for a long time I've wondered how that happens. Then I took command. Let's talk for a sec about this. So I'm currently just …

When the Force is Not With You: Mentorship and Star Wars

We talk a lot about mentorship in the military, but for most of us, we don’t have a good example of what that even looks like. It’s not as though there are mentors dropping from the sky to deliver words of wisdom whenever we need them. No, we’re more likely to end up Googling our …

Mentorship: Cross-Component Leader Development

Guest post by XO of XOs Knowledge diffusion and leader development in the Army is at best, a slapdash effort.  You finish the appropriate schooling level--maybe rotating through a leadership position, or not--and then get dropped into your newest assignment.  Primary Staff, Command, on occasion the officer in charge of the officer (I had one …

Being a Rebel Leader: Disciplined Disobedience in the Army

First off, no, this is not a discussion on the merits of leaders within the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars universe, though if it were, I'd have to say that the Rebel leadership had very few merits and we should probably not emulate their chaos-based approach to warfare. What's I'd like to talk about is disruptive …

The Military “Give a S**t” Spectrum

Let’s face it: the Army can be a place that wears you down, both physically and mentally. It takes a special kind of person to be able to take the brand of crazy that the Army pushes year after year and walk away from it relatively unscathed. As such, it seems like you usually get …

7 Characteristics of Highly Successful Non-Commissioned Officers

As an Army officer, I tend to spend a lot of time talking about, well, talking about officer things. And no, that does not mean discussing polo, the price of cufflinks, sipping brandy, and thinking of ways to make our NCOs lives harder, as some circles might believe. Although the brandy thing isn’t too far …