Just Another Tool For Your Toolbox

Below, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret.), Detachment Commandant, continues his series on leadership.

Leaders shape our nation, communities, and organizations. Good leaders help guide us and make the essential large-scale decisions that keep the world moving. Our society usually quickly identifies a bad leader, but what about a good one? What makes a good leader? Great leaders, according to research, consistently possess these characteristics:

  • Honesty
  • Ability to delegate
  • Sense of humor
  • Confidence
  • Commitments
  • Positive Attitude
  • Creativity
  • Ability to Inspire
  • Intuition
  • Communication

While many powerful and successful leaders have not exhibited all of these character traits continuously, and the definition of a good leader is quite ambiguous, most good leaders do leverage at least some of these characteristics. Take someone you view as a great leader- how many of these characteristics do they express? If the characteristics of a good leader above do not describe you, there are ways for you to improve upon leadership capabilities. Like any craft, leadership requires you to learn from your mistakes and continually work at strengthening your weak areas. Seek out a mentor that you admire as a leader. Jot down the characteristics that you feel makes them a greater leader, so as to determine what they did along the way to be the leader they are today.

The Marine leader has been taught to lead, not to manage. They had been taught a good leader must also be a good follower. Leadership is the glue that holds the Corps together. It was leaders with vision and courage who were responsible for the Corps' transformation from small forces assigned to serve aboard Naval vessels to its status today. Many say leaders are born not made.

 

Delegation ... Another Tool in the Toolbox

Leaders accomplish much through delegation. We either delegate time or tasks to other people. If we delegate time, think efficiency. If we delegate tasks, think effectiveness.

Many people overlook delegation because it takes too much time or effort. Rather, they just do the job themselves. But delegating to others is perhaps the single most powerful high leverage activity there is. Transferring responsibility to other skilled, trained people enables you to give your energies to additional high leverage activities.

Delegation means growth, both for individuals and for organizations. The late J.C. Penney was quoted as saying that the wisest decision he ever made was to “let go” after realizing that he couldn’t do it all by himself any longer. That decision, made long ago, enabled the development and growth of hundreds of stores and thousands of people.

Because delegation involves people, it’s a public victory. The ability to delegate defines the role of a leader and independent producer. A leader does whatever is necessary to accomplish the desired results; to get to the golden eggs.

*******Stay tuned for part 2.

Collin A. Cotterell, Commandant

Mentorship

Our Detachment met, and conquered all the challenges, and obstacles, of a busy past few months.  Thank you all for a job well done.

Mentoring, part of our heritage for many years, develops our detachment’s future leaders. 

Reminisce back to all those who helped you, throughout your life, to achieve success.  Remember the teacher in junior high school who helped you with math, or your varsity wrestling coach who worked with you to become the best.  Or the times your parents helped you through tough periods in your life.  They were mentoring you, providing assistance in a form of counseling to help you perform well, and assisting in your personal and professional growth.  The same concept and principles apply to your detachment mentee.

The 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General John A. Lejeune said “Mentor is defined as a father to son, senior to junior, teacher to scholar relationship.” 

A mentor should be trustworthy, approachable, and effective as a listener. If you have a member with shortfalls, take the time to listen to his or her problems. Strike the right balance of communication, and allow them to give you feedback on what is, and is not, working for them.  Assist them with professional, and personal goals.  Encourage them to make a difference by involvement in detachment projects.

Mentoring is a continuous process with a wide array of tools at your disposal. Emphasize the importance of teamwork, financial planning, health care, and community service.

With positive mentoring, we will have a detachment member with a whole lot of motivation, and esprit de corps. 

Our 27th Commandant, General Barrow stated, “Mentoring is another arrow in the quiver of successful, concerned leaders to encourage and help their Marines.”

Semper Fidelis

Collin A. Cottrell, Commandant

Authentic Leadership Part 4

Please find below the final two (2) keys to effective and authentic leadership.  Thank you, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret), Detachment Commandant.

9.  Unity Is Strength. 

Team is somehow the most important resources for each leader. Embrace your team and devote your energy to care about its unity each and every day. As long as your team is splendid, nothing can stay on your way to success. Make sure that all people in your team consider themselves as members of a strong, unified family. 

10.  There Is Always Room For Growth

Remember, satisfaction should be a short term feeling. Life would become useless without ongoing improvement. This does not mean that you shouldn't appreciate what you have. This means that you should be thankful for everything you have achieved, but still try to do a little more for the team.  

Authentic Leadership Part 3

Please find below the next three keys to effective and authentic leadership.  Thank you, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret), Detachment Commandant.

6.  Flexibility May Refer to Behavior, Not Values. 

Depending on circumstances you may choose a different style of leadership orcommunication. Flexibility is a truly effective trait, if it doesn't affect your values. Each and every decision of yours, no matter the situation, must be based on your value system. As long as your actions are value driven, you will have the trust and respect of people around you.

7.  Leadership Is All About People. 

Could you be a leader in an empty room by having profound goals and skills? Of course not.  Leading means communicating, influencing and engaging. Communication skills are foundation of effective leadership. Constantly improve your relationship with your team, and the amazing results won't make you wait. 

8.  It Is Fine To Admit To Mistake

If everything has always been done perfect, we would somehow lost the ability to analyze and improve, Mistakes are proof that you are doing something. You won't become a worse leader if you admit your mistakes. By doing that, you will show that you are wise enough to learn from each and every experience.  

Authentic Leadership Part 2

Please find below the next three keys to effective and authentic leadership.  Thank you, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret), Detachment Commandant.

3.   Leading Means Making an Impact.  Think about the greatest leaders in history. What was the one thing they had in common. Yes, they all made an impact. Leadership is not just setting goals and effectively achieving them with your team. Leadership is not just brilliant public speaking and great communication skills.  If you want to be an authentic leader, you should have your unique contribution to the welfareof the society. You should make a positive change. 

4.  Leadership is Chasing Vision, Not Money.  Without a vision, your activities are meaningless. Each person can be very busy implementing various tasks, but the key is devoting your efforts and time to the realization of your vision.  Vision is what inspires people to take action and go forward. Discover your unique vision and coordinate all your activities towards it.Inspire each and every member of your team with your vision.

 5.  Actions Speaks Louder Than Words.  It's not a secret that much talking and less acting has nothing to do with effectiveness.  What people see affects them many times greater than what they hear. So, choose actions. Don't waste your and other people's time on endless conversations about your plans and be surethat everyone will see it.   

Authentic Leadership

For the past few months you had the opportunity to read about the Eight Principles of Leadership.  Now let's take a look at Ten Principles of Effective and Authentic Leadership. 

There is a great amount of definitions and theories about Effective Leadership. Each leader chooses their unique styles of success; however, there are keys to authentic leadership that can't be ignored.  Over the next four months I will publish these principles for everyone to read.  Thank you, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret), Detachment Commandant.

(1)  Leadership is Behavior, Not Position. 

Leaders are the ones who take responsibility for making decisions and bringing change.  Leaders are the ones who empower people to discover and use their greatest potential. The executive position on someone's visit card won'tdo all of these. People are the ones to choose their leaders. And how will they do that? They will judge by behavior, attitude and actions. If you want to be a leader, then act like a leader and shape a better reality.

(2)  The Best Way of Influence Is Setting an Example.

Each leader wants to get the best of their team. Excellence orientation is great, as there is always need for development. But here is the simple truth. Instead of telling your team members what to do, show it to them by your own example. They are following you each and every moment. Practice what you preach, and the results will astonish you. Especially during hard times, when chances to give up are very big, you should be the ones who faces obstacles with confidence and determination towards success. Be sure, they will do the same and stand by your side. 

 

Leadership

My fellow Marines, Associate Members, and friends of the South Lake Detachment are you an inspired leader?  Did you know there are eight (8) key leadership principles that every leader at every level should know?  Each month I will publish two (2) of these principles for everyone to read.  Thank you, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret), Detachment Commandant.

Principle 7

Great leaders use their power by giving it to others. Effective leaders are a source of power and energy for people, teams, and the organization.  They encourage the heart.  They understand that power is not a zero­ sum game.  The more a leader empowers others, the stronger and more effective the leader and team become.

Principle 8

Effective leadership requires courage. Lots of courage. Courage comes from ''cor'' which is Latin word for heart. Courage means strength of heart.  It takes great courage­ that is, strength of heart ­to be a leader.

Leadership

My fellow Marines, Associate Members, and friends of the South Lake Detachment are you an inspired leader?  Did you know there are eight (8) key leadership principles that every leader at every level should know?  Each month I will publish two (2) of these principles for everyone to read.  Thank you, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret), Detachment Commandant.

Principle 5

Before you can lead, you must first learn to follow. Great leaders are great followers.  They are humble.  They do not always need to be in charge. They understand the impact of great followership.  If you don't understand the dynamic of followership, then you don't understand the dynamics of leading. Many people in positions of authority are ineffective leaders precisely because they are not good followers.

Principle 6

Great leaders create stability and drive change. Effective leaders build and maintain a changeless core. From that foundation they drive continuous change and improvement.  The changeless core is deep, unwavering commitment to share value that gives people meaning and identity beyond their role in the organization and beyond circumstances the organization or it's people may be facing.  The commitment to continuous change derives from the leader's recognition that success requires constant adjustment and continuous improvement.  Today's world deals ruthlessly with people and organizations who fail to adapt and change.

Leadership

My fellow Marines, Associate Members, and friends of the South Lake Detachment are you an inspired leader?  Did you know there are eight (8) key leadership principles that every leader at every level should know?  Each month I will publish two (2) of these principles for everyone to read.  Thank you, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret), Detachment Commandant.

Principle 3

Great leaders are as good at listening as they are at communicating.  People want their leaders to listen. Leaders don't have to agree, but they do need to listen and seek to understand.  People want to be understood at two levels: intellectual and emotional.   At the intellectual level people want the leader to understand what they are saying.  At the emotional level people want the leader to understand what they are feeling.  Again listening is not about agreeing with people.  It is about respecting them and paying attention to them.  People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care about them.

Principle 4

Great leadership is about wisdom, not intelligence. There are plenty of smart people in positions of leadership. What we need are wise leaders.  Our world has an over­abundance of information, but we have a scarcity of real wisdom.  Wise leaders have insight that is, they see beyond the obvious.  Why?  Because they are looking.

Leadership

My fellow Marines, Associate Members, and friends of the South Lake Detachment are you an inspired leader?  Did you know there are eight (8) key leadership principles that every leader at every level should know?  Each month I will publish two (2) of these principles for everyone to read.  Thank you, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret), Detachment Commandant.

Principle 1

Great leadership begins with the person, not the position.  Before you can lead others, you must first manage yourself.  Leadership is not so much a position you hold as it is a set of disciplines and behaviors you practice.  The first and most fundamental of which is self discipline.  A leader without self discipline is a disaster waiting to happen.

Principle 2

Great leadership is about your level of influence, not your level of authority.  People follow the leader first and the vision second.  If people aren't committed to you, they will not be committed to the vision you communicate.  Always seek to have your level of influence exceed your level of authority.  Indeed, your influence is your authority. You establish your personal credibility and authority by consistently living your core values and demonstrating that you are a person other people want to follow.

CALL TO JOIN US.

Members of the South Lake Sgt. I.W. Hatcher Detachment 1120 join together in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving the traditions and promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps.

This is accomplished by banding together those who are now serving in the United States Marine Corps, and those who have been honorably discharged from that service; voluntarily aiding and rendering assistance to all Marines, FMF Navy Corpsmen, FMF Navy Chaplain and their wives, widows and orphans; and by perpetuating the history of the United States Marine Corps through fitting acts to observe the anniversaries of historical occasions of particular interest to Marines.

We welcome you to join us.

Help Them ... Help Us

At a recent Detachment meeting over 1/2 the room, including me, raised their hands when asked who felt they were suffering with PTSD.  The VA and many other outstanding organizations want to provide aid and comfort.  The question becomes "What can we do to help them, help us?".

1.  Learn their language.  All professionals use jargon.  We do it in the USMC.  So do they.  Study the symptoms of PTSD, and communicate those you are experiencing in the exact same terms.

2.  Come prepared.  As Marines we are trained to come prepared.  For help-givers to engage they need a full and complete understanding of your prior medical history.  You should collect these records using a Form 10-5345 for each location where you received treatment.

3. Come as you are.  Help-givers need to see you as you live your normal life.  Avoid "Marine Proud".  Just come as you are on any other day.

Please contact me (info@southlakemcl.org) or share your experiences in the comments section.