The Chilling Story Behind the Mayflower

It’s not often that we find good Thanksgiving-related reading, but Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick is definitely worth checking out.

In vivid detail, Philbrick describes the tumultuous voyage of the Mayflower, the near catastrophe of the first winter in Plymouth, and the struggle for survival that was the first few years in the New World. Philbrick takes you off the boat and into the water as our famously “harmonious” Pilgrims scavenged off the land, stole from the native Americans, and sparked years of bloody war. It’s not the story you read in school.

mayflowerFor me, the most incredible realization was that the birth of our Nation might never had happened if not for a storm that blew the Mayflower off course and prevented them from reaching the British colonies down the coast.

Then, that William Bradford insisted on a pledge with the Dutch voyagers aboard that none would disembark unless they committed to survive together, not as separate national groups. This agreement, known as The Mayflower Compact, not only enabled their collective survival, but was quite literally the seed of democracy in America.

It’s an incredible story and well worth your time. Check it out!

 

The Best Military Gift You’ll Ever Give

You’ve got a wall full of departure gifts from units past. Framed unit colors…a few coins, badges, and patches…a metal placard with your name and a pleasant inscription. They’re nice, professional…but they’re predictable. It’s time to break the mold…

military gift

Check out the Roman Rudis from Purpleheart Armory.

The Rudis brings to life the 2,500 year old tradition of presenting retiring gladiators of the Roman Empire with a wooden replica of their primary weapon, the gladius. (In the movie Gladiator, Proximo reveals to Maximus the he too was a gladiator, displaying his rudis as the symbol of his freedom.)

military giftPurpleheart Armory expertly crafts this Rudis from domestic hardwood like Oak, Maple, and Ash, then engraves up to 5 lines of customized inscription. Unit logos, service seals, rank, branch insignia, and other tailored images give it a personal but professional feel, and unmatched uniqueness. And of course, the Rudis is 100% made in the USA.

Present the Rudis to celebrate departures, arrivals, milestones, accomplishments, or to reward unit competition. I like giving the Rudis to retiring friends and colleagues to symbolize their “freedom” from military life.

Get 5% Off Your Rudis

Purpleheart Armory has a special offer for The Military Leader community. Get a 5% discount when you use the coupon code:  TheMilitaryLeader. This is the coolest military gift I’ve ever seen and gets a “Wow!” every time it’s presented. If you don’t need one now, be sure to bookmark this post for a future order.

Get Your 5% Discount (promo code: TheMilitaryLeader)

As The Military Leader community grows, so does the cost associated with managing the website. Purpleheart Armory has graciously offered this promotion as part of an affiliate partnership. This means that a portion of the proceeds of orders placed through this post will go directly to funding The Military Leader website. You certainly don’t have to click through this post when you want to buy a Rudis, but I would sincerely appreciate it if you did. And as always, referrals matter. So please share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and wherever else you can! Thank you!

The Bee, the Brain, & the Bully

Leadership is as diverse as the individuals who exercise it. We influence through distinct talents, shaped by experiences, personality traits, core values, and an endless list of other factors. Nonetheless, when we look back at the leaders we’ve encountered, it’s easy to identify behavior trends that point to a set of defining leadership styles. The aggressive risk taker. The deliberate planner. The encouraging coach. The intense micromanager.

Each profession has its own set of styles that generally lead to success. The military is no different. Here are three types of military leaders you’ll find that, for better or worse, produce results.

bully

A Marine points in the direction of the next objective on a security patrol during an Integrated Training Exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., July 19, 2015. Link to photo.

1,000,000 Conversations About Leadership

A milestone and a thank you

Sometime next week, The Military Leader will crest 1,000,000 page views. The 7-digit milestone is an important one, partly because 1,000,000 feels like a really big number. But of greater significance is the realization that on at least 1,000,000 occasions since March 2014, people have visited the site and participated in a conversation about leadership.

leadershipThese conversations may have happened with a group of developing young leaders…or perhaps huddled around a mobile phone at the firing range…or simply alone in the office, as part of an early morning professional development routine. Regardless of the setting, it’s uplifting to know that people are reading, thinking, and talking about leadership.

And why is this important?

Rank-Based Mentoring for Commanders

by Dave Kurtz

In Performance-Based Mentoring for Busy Leaders, I revealed how I selectively divided my time to avoid becoming bogged down by Anchors – non-performing members who display no desire to contribute to the command’s mission. But being busy meant I also needed to divide my time based on paygrade. I did it by viewing my subordinates across these categories: Direct Reports, The Junior Officers, The Chief’s Mess, The First Class Mess, and the Base.

mentoring

Marines and sailors man the rails aboard the USS Wasp as the ship departs from Port Everglades, Fla., May 10, 2015, at the end of the community’s Fleet Week 2015 celebration. The Marines are assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. Link to photo.

Performance-Based Mentoring for Busy Leaders

by Dave Kurtz

Early in my Navy squadron XO tour, I was distracted at dinner thinking about an upcoming non-judicial punishment case. When I explained to my wife the history of this continual troublemaker, she nearly cried. “I can’t believe this is what you spend so much time doing at work.” She had come to recognize the “10:90” rule – that 10 percent of your people will take up 90 percent of your time. It was then that I decided to adjust the ratio. I was going to take control of my limited mentoring time and focus on engaging in areas with the highest return on investment.

performance

U.S. Marines and sailors stand in ranks on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer before a commander’s call in the Pacific Ocean, Sept. 6, 2013. Link to Photo.

“Action Man” – Know Your Role and Be a Hero

by Matt Rasmussen

Have you ever had the Lieutenant Colonel who was the best squad leader in the battalion and made sure everyone knew it? Ever seen a team leader trying to lead a fire team from the rear during a live fire? Have you ever had majors worrying about whether soldiers should load ruck sacks or duffel bags into the belly of an aircraft?

The results aren’t always pretty. The organization suffers when leaders forget the level at which they’re supposed to lead. At each rank, officers and NCOs fit into the unit in different ways. Their expanding education and experience means that they should bring different talents to the organization. The unit depends on them for it.

This article is a framework for visualizing and describing the types of leaders a unit will typically see:  Action Man, Planning Man, Concept Man, and Decision Man. No rank or role has greater value than the others, only different responsibilities and functions in the formation. If today’s military leader knows where he fits into the team and what role he plays, he’ll be a hero.

role

17 Productivity Hacks for Your Military Staff

I bet that more than once a day, you let out a sigh of frustration at the absentminded staff activity that surrounds you…Your boss asks why you didn’t respond to his “urgent” email. THE NEW OPERATIONS NCO TYPES IN ALL CAPS (incredibly annoying). Someone prints 30 full-page copies of the 53-slide presentation because, “there are 30 people in the meeting, right?” And in that meeting, your unit’s update doesn’t make it to the slides, even though you sent them yesterday.

And those are just the ones you notice! There are probably dozens more inefficiencies, idiosyncrasies, and ineptitudes you aren’t even aware of that impair you and your staff’s productivity.

Having spent a few years in the Army staff machine, I offer these immediate adjustments to reclaim your sanity and reduce the needless, often well-intentioned but inefficient staff practices that keep you from getting more important work done.

productivity

The U.S. Army’s ‘Cyber Center of Excellence’, Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., hosted a multi-service ‘NetWar’ to show, and build, cyber Warrior capabilities Tuesday, June 10, 2016. Georgia Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tracy J. Smith.