Friday, January 27, 2012

Colin Powell's Leadership Lessons - 17

Have fun in your command. Don't always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you've earned it: Spend time with your families. 
Corollary: Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves; those who work hard and play hard.

Even during my combat command in Iraq, I learned that we needed to enjoy ourselves, otherwise, people burn-out and they can't figure out what they are fighting for. In this case, I actually organized the purchase of a satellite dish in order to watch football, which brought a welcome taste of home when most of the rest of the Army was still trying to get basic supplies (ourselves included). It is honestly amazing what you can accomplish with the right dedication (and negotiation skills ;-)). 

This led to our team playing football inside the compound, which led to other activities. We fought to survive, but some of my favorite memories were during that time-frame. Back in the "real world" it is important to have that balance and passion. Without it, you will burn-out. 

Of course, this means that you need the right people to do the work when you are pursuing your passion, and that you can cover down for them when they pursue theirs. The grim workaholic can be a downer because others will feel they need to share his/her dedication. The pompous pretentious professional shatters moral with their statements of what can and cannot be done. Show them the door, and find people that know how to work and live.

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