Blast from the Past 4/26/2009: Lead, Follow, Or GET OUT OF THE WAY

Well at this point the computer is clean. I am giving it a run and a try. It always takes me a few days to feel safe again. Enjoy the post.

Coming from a large family of nine children, I learned early that if I didn’t want to have someone step on the back of my heels, I would have to “get out of the way.” When four of the nine are boys, you can get trampled easily.

However, it wasn’t until I joined the Navy that I realized what it meant to be a leader and follower. If you have ever been in the military, you will understand what I am trying to say. If you haven’t, let me explain.

When I was in the Navy in Panama, I had a chief who was a ditherer. He had to talk through any decision and even then he wasn’t sure if it was right or wrong. I don’t know how he made it into a leadership position. But, one day I accidentally heard my Warrant officer give him a dressing down… he used the exact words “lead, follow, or get out of the f***ing way.”

When I am in the front of the line (Post office, store, or school), when I get ready to dither, I remember those words and I step aside for the next person. In a few moments, when I am ready, I can take charge. I don’t need to ruin someone else’s day because I am not ready (or squared away as the military saying goes).

When I find myself procrastinating, (which I do often), I remember these wise words and decide if I can do the job. If I can’t, I get out of the way and let someone else who has better knowledge or skills do it. I don’t know it all and I don’t have it all.

But when I know it, I lead. When I don’t, I follow.

4 thoughts on “Blast from the Past 4/26/2009: Lead, Follow, Or GET OUT OF THE WAY

  1. I’m surprised that someone with that tendency could rise up to the chief’s rank. It’s my understanding that in the various military services, the senior NCOs are really the backbone of the service.

    • Yes– they are. So when the backbone is weak, things crumble unless someone else takes the reins. I had hold of most of those reins as an E-5 until the Warrant Officer showed up. I loved that man. He took all my duties and put them back on the Chiefs’ shoulders. It was lovely how he did it too. The Warrant and I used to plan strategy. lol

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