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DF - Dozen Leadership Secrets

DF - Dozen Leadership Secrets

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Published by solsys

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Published by: solsys on Oct 11, 2012
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The DF Dozen
 Leadership Secrets for Everyone
You gotta ask yourself, who the heck is this DF guy giving the rest of us leadership tips? Greatquestion and the answers are really quite simple. It took me 20+ years of studying others,practicing the techniques, and testing the principles on hundreds of teammates and fellowsoldiers
over the years. Did I make „em all up myself? Of course not. Did I try to apply them
during my career? You betcha! The reality is, I learned them all from my mates, in one specialoperations unit or another, and simply tried to capture them along the way - most in the pre-9/11era when man-hunting was a success if your piece never left the Thunderwear holster in your drawers, and then post tower-drop when a kill at the end of the hunt became the norm. In both
environments, the “secrets” held.
  After retiring, I applied these secrets with another group of elite men with similar results. Can Ilead?
You‟d have to ask the boys.
However, guys like that provide the opportunity - you have tochoose to embrace it.
But these secrets aren‟t really secret. They are for everyone to us
e to getstuff done to a high standard. They worked for me and many peers and superiors for years withhigh maintenance thoroughbreds that didn
t impress easily and didn
t need a lot of direction.Sometimes just getting the General to approve the hit is leadership enough. But when thosemini-
windows open that require your leadership, you‟ll be prepared with proven, results oriented,
and relevant techniques. All you have to do is make an effort.
So, is it “DF” or “DF”? Well…both.
DF Leadership Secret #1 - Play well with others...but remain the Alphamale.
 Most leadership books and theorists tell you that to get ahead you have to play well with others.
Don‟t go against the grain. Be a team player. This is sound advice
- unless you happen to bethe guy or organization that everyone aspires to be. Arrogance, in measured amounts and usedprudently, actually benefits an organization. Of course, you have to be able to back this up withresults vice rhetoric. More specifically you have to possess a long list of recognizablesuccesses. Remember, the rules are made for the masses, but the masses don't finish.
DF Leadership Secret #2 - Get Over It!
The year was 1994 and the US Army was staged to invade the country of Haiti. Our Ranger battalion had just loaded the tail end of the last of seven C141 aircraft prepped to execute acombat jump on Dallas DZ. The 82nd Airborne had already taken off from Fort Bragg, NC. Nosooner had we struggled into our seats did we see our battalion commander, then LTC FrankKearney, come walking up the ramp still wearing his parachute. The colonel grabbed the nearby
radio mike and made an announcement over the aircraft‟s intercom.
“The bastards cut a dirty deal. We are on a twenty
four hour hold,” He barked before turning to
leave and pass the word to the other aircraft.
That invasion was called off, at least the aggressive entry option, and we waited around acouple of days in the off-chance our services were still needed. Just prior to boarding the sameplanes to head back home to our families, Kearney executed one of the most memorableleadership acts of my career. He gathered the battalion around him as he stood atop a woodenPT stand and gave us a pep talk. We needed it. I turned on my tape recorder to capture hiscomments.Kearney simply told us that if you stay in the special ops business long enough, and especiallythe Rangers, that you would definitely see combat in your time. Just not this time and just notHaiti. Basically, he motivated us so much that by the time we loaded the planes we were lookingforward to the upcoming Boxing Smoker more than we were feeling sorry for ourselves for notexecuting the combat jump.Not long after this event, Kearney gathered the officers and senior NCOs and told us that weweren't going to the Ft Benning cemetery once a month anymore to lay a wreath at thegravesite of fallen Rangers from action in Somalia a year or so earlier. He said it was time tomove on mentally. We had done what we could for those heroes and it was time to honor themby physically and mentally preparing for the next action. It was respectful, spot-on, and the rightthing to do.Years later, while serving in a different special ops unit, we gathered to farewell our squadron
commander. We all were feeling a little underused by our nation‟s decision makers. We openly
bitched about American citizens being held hostage in Ecuador and the Philippines, practicallydaring our nation to do something about it. Sure, we spent a lot of hours planning rescueoperations that were shelved. And even more hours hoping someone with enough authoritywould decide that Americans held hostage were important enough to repatriate.Like K
earney years earlier, our commander told us, “Get over it!” He then said, “Someday thenation is going to need the services of this unit.” It didn‟t take long.
DF Leadership Secret #3 - Apply Your Sixth Sense and Seize theMoment
You are a commando, the guy that everyone in the room is looking at to go against the grain, tochallenge the conventional wisdom, to say something with passion, something based onempirical evidence and that follows logical thought that even the stuffiest senior leader in theroom can't argue with. In fact, the senior conventional minded leader 
to hear what you
have to say. Even if they don‟t admit it openly, the
y know you carry an enormous amount of clout with their subordinates the moment you walk through the door.Only hours into Operation Anaconda in March 2002, the well thought-out plan for attacking theShah-i- Kot to rid the valley of al Qaeda fighters began to fall apart. Senior conventional leaders,well-removed from the fighting, developed cold feet. Emergency meetings were held wheresome recommended immediate retreat to prevent further loss of life and equipment.Near the fighting and hearing this latest news from Delta officer Jim Reese, Pete Blaber grabbed his Satellite radio hand mic, called the Joint Operations Center, and convinced theambivalent leadership not to retreat, but rather reinforce and seize the moment. Anaconda isnow considered a major victory for US forces in Afghanistan. It was gravely close to becoming amajor embarrassment.
On a different battlefield, in mid July 2003, Saddam‟s notorious sons were still evading US
special ops forces. An informant had failed a polygraph three times and some intelligenceagency elected to disregard anything else the fella had to say. One seasoned special operator,with a keen sense of intuition, opined the informant was simply too nervous to ever pass a poly.The operator told his commander that he believed the guy. He was telling the truth.Within hours, the murderous sons of the former President of Iraq were being hauled down twoflights of stairs wrapped in bed sheets and thrown into the back of a waiting civilian van. Ace of Hearts, Uday Hussein, and his brother, Ace of Clubs, Qusay, were hiding in the house in Mosulafter all.
DF Leadership Secret #4 - Admit Mistakes with Confidence
We all do it. We fumble something important and instinct tells us that maybe we weren‟t at fault.
Or maybe the blame can be shared with a couple others. Mistakes are the stepping stones tosuccess, but a good
special operator learns from other peoples‟ mistakes and never makes the
same mistake twice. But as a leader of high-performance teams most eyes are on you. A fouled
shotgun breach can easily be fixed with a spinning mule kick…and nobody is the wiser. But
theleader that sends one of his assault teams to the wrong target building is a true liability. Ithappens, your men expect it. But they also demand two things. One, that you own up to it assoon as the post-mission hot wash begins, and two, that you lear 
n from it and don‟t screw it up
again. Selection is an ongoing process, particularly for the leaders.In a short note to President Clinton in the fall of 1993, former Delta Commander andcommander of Task Force Ranger MG Bill Garrison took full responsibility for the disaster inMogadishu, Somalia. Never mind that the Clinton administration denied multiple requests for  AC-130 gunships and armored vehicles from Garrison himself. A month or so later, on a hot autumn day on a remote parade field at Ft. Benning, GA, Garrison
told the 700 members of the 3rd Ranger Battalion that we were as close to America‟s Foreign
Legion as you could get. He went on to say that our job was to fight the dirty little wars thatnobody else wanted, was capable of, or could stomach. He finished by telling us that if wecouldn't handle the potential consequences of the business, or if our families couldn't, then weneeded to find alternative employment. Nobody expected Garrison to shoulder the blame, buthe did it anyway, and still to this day he is considered to be one of the finest leaders ever tocommand Delta Force.
DF Leadership Secret #5 - Find Your Maverick...or Grant.
When the future of the Union was in doubt and the Confederacy was giving it to the Yanks,President Abraham Lincoln turned to the unrefined, abrasive, results-oriented General Ulysses
S. Grant. Grant‟s leadership turned the tide and ensured the Nor 
th won the Civil War.Four modern day superstar special ops leaders - GEN (R) Stan McChrystal, BG Scott Miller,COL (R) Pete Blaber, and MG Bennet Sacolik, - at some point in their black ops career, turnedto one man as their Grant. Year after year, commander to commander, maverick warrior LTC
(R) Jim “Serpico” Reese, a stand
-out Ranger and Delta officer, quite possibly would have madeGrant appear wanting when it came to working through chaos, calming nerves, and demandingthe best out of subordinates.

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