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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

“Two Matts and a Pat” – Recognizing the Value of Mentorship

by Nicholas Simontis

Earlier this week, I was perusing the recently released O6 promotion list and an analogy came to mind about our shrinking Army. I envisioned a WWI scene in which ranks of hopeful O5’s clambered out of the trenches only to be cut down by raking machine gun fire…the next wave of O5’s ready to take their place. A grizzly vision perhaps, but the decline in promotion numbers will continue as the Army draws down in the wake of fifteen years of war.

Since then, several thoughtful and humorous articles have been published describing the role of luck and timing in promotions.[1] As I read these articles considering my own prospects and what I’ve done personally and professionally to prepare myself for promotion consideration, my thoughts kept returning to the role and value of mentorship, personally and professionally, exemplified in three former bosses.


Air Force Col. Rhett Champagne, left, commander, 821st Contingency Response Group, discusses an airfield assessment with Air Force Capt. William Jackson during Swift Response 16 at Hohenfels, Germany, June 16, 2016. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Joseph Swafford.

Professional Development, One Paragraph at a Time (ProDev2Go)

A New Blog by Ross Coffman

What does an Army Colonel do after he finishes killing it in brigade command? …Start a professional development blog, of course! Today, let me highlight a new blog that you’ll definitely want to make part of your professional development plan.

ProDev2Go just fired up last month, but is the continuation of a groundbreaking leader development approach by one of the most successful brigade commanders in the Army today.


Breaking Barriers

While in command down at Fort Bliss, Colonel Ross Coffman sought a new way to connect his Troops with his leader development vision, something better than the usual death by PowerPoint. So, he got a Twitter account, then created a YouTube and podcast channel called Ready First. He and his Command Sergeant Major used this novel approach to communicate with the command, relay their leader development and tactical experience, and show that Army leaders are capable of getting out of their comfort zone to reach their people.

Rapid Fire Mentorship

Now, as a testament that the best leaders never stop looking for ways to have positive influence, Colonel Coffman dove head first into the blogging world and created ProDev2Go as a way to provide high quality leader development in short bursts. The concept is simple:

As a “Leader on the Go” we understand that you desire a succinct learning opportunity that provides a written glide path for success.  This leader development site is a single paragraph of lessons learned that you can use in a practical role in your workplace, job, business, or employment. We are changing Leaders one Paragraph at a time!!!

Plugging into ProDev2Go is like being mentored by a brigade commander, something we all could benefit from. You’ll find insight on trust, mission command, leader development, warfighting doctrine, and many other useful topics.

Head on over there now and check it out!

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The Good (and Bad?) of Mentorship

Mentorship in the military is one of those concepts that everyone agrees with but almost no one does. Plenty of up and coming leaders get advice from commanders, senior leaders, and enlisted advisors, but seldom does the intensity of influence extend beyond the time served together or delve into areas of personal development.


U.S. Army Pvt. 1st Class Jo Marie Rivera, left, and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Rebecca Hamby provide security in the Tarnek Wa Jaldek district in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, Sept. 18, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kandi Huggins