Sunday, January 27, 2008

Leading From the Front, Part II

Most people have never received formal leadership training. Instead we learn by reading, studying, and from the school of hard knocks. For some in the military, those hard knocks have helped make them successful, and are worthy of sharing with others.

Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch do just that in their book, Leading From the Front. They share "No Excuse Leadership Tactics" that run the gamut - from taking care of people to staying cool under fire. Written for women, this book has leadership insights that apply to all.

Angie and Courtney "earned their stripes" in the Marine Corps. They continue to remain engaged in the "business of leaders" through their company -- LeadStar. Part II of the interview I did with them is below.

The Marine Corps, like the Army, is a people-centric organization. You talk at length about things like taking responsibility, taking care of others, maintaining balance. How do we cultivate this sort of environment in the business world?

The military has great best practices when it comes to developing people and creating environments that foster camaraderie, loyalty and Esprit de Corps. What is important to remember, too, is that the military can’t motivate its “employees” with stock options, sales contests and rewards. Servicemembers have to use their raw leadership skills to motivate and inspire their troops.

In the business world, it is critical that men and women spend more time on leadership fundamentals to create an environment where employees are valued, taken care of, and treated with respect. Companies spend millions of dollars equipping their employees with technical, job-related training. They need to invest more in leadership development to create the type of environment where employees want to work.

You spend a lot of time in your current business (Lead Star) talking to emerging leaders…and especially female leaders. What are you hearing? Is there a glass ceiling…and how do people crash through it?

The data speaks for itself: women still haven’t achieved equality in the workplace through equal pay and representation in senior managerial ranks. Is this because of a glass ceiling? Rather than debate external factors that might limit a woman’s potential, we try to focus on helping women address the issues that they can control: their leadership skills.

We believe that women routinely don’t ask to be paid what they are worth. We’ve seen it before. Women also sell themselves short when it comes to professional accomplishments, which holds them back from promotions.

Through our work with Lead Star, we want to empower women to not be afraid to ask for a raise, a promotion, and to set their professional sites high. When women address these challenges through their leadership skills development, they will be more equipped to discover the success that they are searching.

Your book, Leading from the Front, is great. What have you found that your readers connect with the most? And while it is largely written for women, are the leadership principles good for “guys” like me?

We learned how to lead in the Marine Corps – out of 180,000 Marines, only 1000 are female officers. The inspiration for Leading from the Front came from the Corps, so “yes!” The leadership principles are relevant to men and women alike.

We chose to write the book, however, for women because most women don’t look to the military for leadership guidance. We wanted to soften the Marine Corps’ image for women without softening its leadership message.

We have discovered that women like the last principle best, Always Lead as You Are. In the chapter we discuss the value of authenticity and how it is important to be true to your personality. Readers are always delighted to hear that they don’t have to change who they are to become a leader: they have to improve, but in ways that are compatible consistent with their true personalities.

What are you doing now to continue to share your lessons from the Marine Corps with others?

Beyond Leading from the Front, we created a consulting firm, Lead Star ( that provides leadership development opportunities for professionals everywhere. We travel the country providing workshops, keynotes and offering training programs for individuals who’d like to grow and develop as leaders.


Thanks Angie and Courtney -- for your service and for what you continue to do for leaders. I submit that we all could benefit from the leadership tactics contained in Leading From the Front. If you are a woman...get a hold of these leadership principles asap. And if you're not a woman...but know someone who could benefit from some Marine Corps --Hoorah!--leadership, do them a favor and get them the book.
I read it...and I think that Leading From the Front is what Leader Business is all about! Hooah!

No comments: