Stephen Kalyta calling out all cadets with bars…
This week’s article is aimed at the barman, whom hold accountability for the young men and women in their sections, flights and squadrons. How do you lead? Do you lead by example? Do you hold yourself to a higher standard than those you command?
In answering the question, taking a reflective self-assessment may seem somewhat self-aggrandizing. I think I would agree with that. Perhaps a better way to find out is to engage your peers, even subordinates to garner a more objective opinion. What I can promise you is actual opportunities for improving your skills as a leader have little to do to do with the number of bars you wear. Even without bars, RMC affords numerous opportunities for informal leadership in sports, parades, and social gatherings. This is your proving ground, do not squander it.
Authority is not leadership.
Leadership is a profession guided by moral and ethical principles that transcend rank, privilege, or station. To have authority over others is also not accountability. Being accountable for the welfare of those you command is the most distinctive separation between the character of an officer over the myriad non-military “managers” I have encountered in my 27 year career. To be accountable means you are integral to and willing to promote the welfare of those you command, regardless of whether it is personally convenient, timely, or worse yet, a distraction. As a barman, you are called to a position of authority. Whether you choose to be a leader rather than a manager, is one of the greatest learning tools to prepare you for your career as an officer. Lead by example from the front and inspire those behind you, by holding yourself to a higher standard.