11 August, 2019

Guidance Points for Leaders

Guidance Points for Leaders

[Photo credit: The U.S. Army]

In the induction process for my first posting to an Army unit as a newly graduated Lieutenant, about to be put in front of a bunch of 30 soldiers that would be mine to lead, I was given a 3 page document that I still have with me today – 15+ years later.

It was given to me by the Regimental Sergeant Major, the most senior soldier of the Regiment I was posted to. It is called the ‘Gospel According to Luke, A course of tabloid lectures on the art of supervision and management', by Brigadier Lucas, DSO, OBE, MC, VD. Written by a man with so many letters after his name and handed to me by a grumpy but wise man in the RSM I thought I better read it.

This document has 32 ‘rules’ about managing soldiers. I.e. A list of 32 things that newly appointed Lieutenants have done and continue to do when they turn up in front of their new Troops. A list of ‘don’t tell me I didn’t warn you not to do that’ sort of a list.

Now that I have had the years to reflect on the ones I did do, just avoided and watched others do and think ‘what an idiot’, I thought I would share the top six that I think are applicable to the management of volunteers and staff in the sports industry.

  1. You are handling people – not slaves, nor robots. Each person can do one thing better than you can; each has some knowledge that you lack.
  2. An hour of preparation can save weeks of wasted effort.
  3. The earth is good – keep your feet on it.
  4. OK, you’re good – but keep it under your hat.
  5. If a fiver will do it, don’t spend a tenner – it’s not yours anyway.
  6. You don’t bake bread in a pig sty.
There are no bad soldiers, only bad Generals – Napoleon Bonaparte

It is always good to step back and acknowledge the team you have around you. They might be a bit rough around the edges, but then aren’t we all. So long as there is some mutual respect and you as a leader are focusing on the success of the team and not your own success, as this will ultimately come.

© 2019 Paul Mead