Location of the Leader

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“Among the ever-pressing problems of the leader is seeking means to break down the natural barriers and give his men a chance to understand him has a human rather than one who simply gives orders.”  S.L.A. Marshall, Men Against Fire.

From 2004 to 2007, I served as a Platoon Commander and Executive Officer at the Marine Corps “The Basic School”  (TBS).    Newly commissioned Marine Officers attend TBS post Officer Candidates School (OCS) and before they attend their occupationally training and eventually hit the fleet.  The doctrinal mission of TBS is to:  “Train and educate newly commissioned or appointed officers in the high standards of professional knowledge, esprit-de-corps, and leadership required to prepare them for duty as company grade officers in the operating forces, with particular emphasis on the duties, responsibilities and warfighting skills required of a platoon commander.”  Bottom line, we taught them how to be leaders of Marines in combat.

Our curriculum covered topics ranging from basic formations, weapons employment, and ethical decision making to complex training such as urban warfare and the coordination of close air support.  Throughout every aspect, the new Officers continually asked one question:  “Where should I put myself on the battlefield?”   They did not know much, but they knew that their location, their presence, was of immense importance.

My answer to them was always the same, “A leader should be located where he can best command, control and inspire his forces.  Too far forward and he risks unnecessary danger.  Too far away and he fails to share the burdens of his decisions.”

Regardless of your job, as a leader your location provides insight into your leadership philosophy.

What about you?

Where do you locate yourself during the day?

Are you accessible to your team?

How often do you meet them where they are?

Does your presence inspire them?

Always remember, your location matters!

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