Lessons of Leadership.

My time in the military taught me a lot about myself.  Some of it was not that pretty. To be honest I am surprised and ashamed at how I reacted in some of my early situations. I was not on the battlefield but I was faced with trials and tasks that were hard, hard in ways I did not expect, and I was afraid.  My fear led me to be weak or run away from the difficulties ahead but in the military you don’t run far.  Because of my fear, and my reaction to my fear, my leaders were very tough on me – and they had every right to be.  I didn’t realize until later on how much I needed them to be tough to make me stronger.

There are personality traits that can be beneficial to good leaders like charisma and charm but that will never be enough.  True character is what defines great leaders – those that are trustworthy, calm, fair and understanding.  There is a long-standing debate about whether leadership can be taught or is inherent.  I believe these character traits must have an internal foundation, where someone has the propensity to have these qualities that can then be built and enhanced along the way.

While I may have had fear and ran from my hardships early on in my military career, my leaders saw those character traits in me because they already existed in me.  Before I joined the Navy, I was already dependable, trustworthy, and fair.  Through my leaders’ lessons in my life, I can say that I “grew up.” They believed in me and through them I learned how to be the person I am today.  My leaders helped me understand that leadership is not about the authority that comes along with being in charge; it is about accepting the responsibility of the team and the outcome.

God Bless our military – the true leaders of the world.

Lori Buresh



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  1. #1 by Thomas Guettler on November 11, 2013 - 8:20 am

    A key lesson for anyone in life if to know what you do not know. For any individual in a leadership role or in management, understanding what you do not do well is key. In you case, you were aware of certain fears that could be addressed through experience and lessons learned from those who helped to make the first step. I have seen far too many times in my professional career where there are individuals in positions of leadership or influence that could not be told anything different from their points of view. Decisions turned out to be one dimensional and went downhill through the organization hierarchy. This always comes to my mind upon hearing of businesses struggling due to poor decisions. I see many similarities with this post and my own personal experiences. Luckily, I think I have grown in emotional intelligence and experience over the years, that now allow me make better decisions, but more importantly to listen to others who are smarter than I and make the best decision.

    I spent most of my life watching and listening to documentaries about our military and was kind of sad on Saturday to see the Doolittle Raiders have their final toast, thus ending their fine tradition of celebrating their comrades lost in the war, and over the years. Those guys, as well as all the others deserve so much.

    Great post.

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