Listen to podcast version!
In this piece I’m going to share with you how to be a conscious and authoritative leader without coming across as cold or dictorial. I’ll share with you my own journey and story of leadership through the Marine Corps and some of the leaders who inspired me to lead from a place of heart of service and compassion as opposed to a place of fear and intimidation.
When I was a Leader in the Marine Corps I never knew how to be authoritative and commanding without coming scross like a dictator.
It felt awkward for me. I knew that it wasn’t in my nature to yell or get upset or angry however being in charge of so many men and a lack of self-trust in myself proved to be overwhelming at times. And I unconsciously took my anger out on my guys.
One day I noticed one of the senior staff sergeants speaking to his platoon. He was a father of 5 girls and worked a job as a dominos pizza delivery guy on base. Some nights he’d even be delivering pizzas to his own men and only to be the same person waking them up for 5AM revilery. He always seemed calmed and relaxed. He never had to yell or get angry or be commanding to get respect or attention. He spoke softly and held a deep presence. Men moved quickly when something needed to be done and they were quiet when he needed to bring something to their attention.
In the West we traditionally say that a good leader is able to speak well, be commanding, and hold presence. However, we don’t associate good leaders with being compassionate, empathetic, and good listeners.
This particular Staff Sergeant, though an older and seasoned Marine who had seen war many times and death but also witnessed the birth and life of his five daughters, was the most compassionate, empathetic, and eager-eared human being I had met. And he was loved and respected by all his men just for the way he carried himself and treated others.
Being an excellent leader is more then your ability to speak well, hold the presence of a room, and/or being a commanding.
It’s being humble and knowing how to serve others by being compassionate and empathetic. It’s being a good listener so that when your employees or loved ones come to you with problems you hold a non-judgemental space for them. It’s having the ability to respond to whatever life throws at you without compromising the way your own value systems.
I hated being a leader who got upset and frustrated and at times took it out on others. However, just having an inspiring example showed me what I could become and am continuing to become.
A conscious, powerfully present, and responsive leader who serves from the heart and soul.
It’s been many years since I’ve been out of the military but I still remmember the 22 years-old kid who thought he had to command respect with his voice instead of his presence, who thought he had to appear angry to show power, who thought he had to be intimidating to move people to action.
Life changes us in the sweetest of ways!