I’ve spent most of my life studying leaders and leadership. As I became responsible for developing leaders, I created a philosophy and method for developing leaders. Still, it wasn’t until I wrote a letter to my daughter that became a book that I coined the idea of leadership as an apprenticed vocation. The Boy Scouts and Marines have the development of leaders about right, and it is an apprenticeship program. It all starts with values, the Scout oath and law, the oath of enlistment or office, the rifleman’s creed, and the development of character and capability in Basic Training for enlisted Marines and The Basic School for officers. Both have minimum service in a rank and required achievement for promotion and review by a board for selection. The similarities I don’t doubt are because the Boy Scouts were founded by a British Brigadier who was disgusted with the preparedness of young Brits joining the British Army for the Boer Wars. Both depend on the leaders to guide and mentor the people in their care.
The fundamentals of leadership are always applicable while simultaneously being unique and nuanced for every organization and mission. That’s why you can read every book on leadership, but you can only learn to lead with practice. No one is a born leader. Some people have innate skills and personalities that facilitate leadership, like public speaking, but leadership is a vocation because it is a lifelong commitment. I was fortunate to be born into a leadership incubator, my family. However, I have witnessed Marines of various backgrounds and personalities become great leaders because the Marine Corps provides opportunities to lead at many levels, leadership education in every school, and many leaders to emulate and coach. It takes leaders to develop leaders.
To develop leaders, an organization must invest the time of their leaders, plan for the education and practice of apprentice leaders, and a continuous cycle of practice, feedback, and review by company leaders or coaches. Remember, we manage things, but we lead people, and people accomplish the mission.
So, this week, think about how you’re developing leaders and how you can develop your apprentice leaders.
If you need help developing leaders or want to learn more about leadership, sign up for my newsletter or set up an appointment at the link below.
Remember, “all things are possible through prayer and heavy deadlifts.”™