What a quote! “If serving is beneath you, leadership is beyond you.”
If you ever struggle with being willing to serve a greater good and another human being, you should reconsider any desire you have to become a manager or a leader. Being in a position of authority has a great responsibility. If you are already in a leadership role and you shirk the notion of service to others, please resign.
This concept was instilled in me during my freshman year of college. I had enrolled at Texas A&M and joined the Corps of Cadets. In the Corps, freshmen are called ‘fish”. The sole purpose of surviving your first year as a fish was to learn one principle.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#d98310″ class=”” size=””]You will never be a leader if you don’t know how to be a follower.[/perfectpullquote]
As a fish, I endured all manner of pressure from the upperclassmen. Yes, it was a different time back then, so the physical and mental challenges we were given were much more daunting than today’s politically correct standard, but it taught me something. Actually, it taught me a lot. By contrast, any training I was later subjected to in the regular Army (both basic and advanced individual training) seemed easy compared to being a fish.
At the hands of upperclassmen I was introduced to a full spectrum of leadership ability; ranging from very good leaders to not good at all, and everything in between. Most of all I learned the original principle. To be a leader, you must first be willing to be a follower.
Take a look at this video. I had the opportunity to interview an old friend and long-time colleague, Louis W. (Bill) Weber, U.S. Army Brigadier General (retired) [see bio below].
Our discussion centered on Bill’s observations about leadership and management, with a special focus on young, aspiring professionals who are put into action for the very first time. Our topics include:
- Making the move into leadership for the first time
- Working through the first 6 months
- Servant leadership – what is it, where does it work?
Join me for my visit with Bill.
BIO – BILL WEBER
After soldiering for 32 years as a U.S. Army Armor officer, Bill retired at the end of 2007. He has extensive experience in leadership, training, organizational management, budget management, and operations. He worked as the Vice President of Business Development for McLane Advanced Technologies, as the Chief Operations Officer for three years with Advanced Concepts and Technologies International, and with Knowledge Point as an advisor to the United Arab Emirates Army leading reorganization and transformation efforts. From September 2012 through July 2013, he worked for the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) as the Associate Director for the UTA Research Institute. He is currently consulting with several organizations, including the Department of the Army.
Bill commanded numerous units and organizations throughout his military career and is a veteran of combat operations in Iraq during Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. His last Army assignment was as the Vice Director of the Army Staff, preceded by serving as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Sarajevo, Bosnia and a two-year assignment as the Director of Training on the Army Staff.
He earned a Bachelor’s Degree (Business Management) from Texas A&M University and a Masters Degree with Distinction in National Security Affairs (Middle East Studies) from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He also attended Georgetown University as an Army War College Fellow, served as an Army Congressional Fellow, and has over 25 years of experience related to the Middle East.
He attended the Moroccan Staff School for a year of immersion in French and Foreign Area Officer in-country training and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. He maintains currency on events and social, economic, military, and political situations throughout the Middle East.
His decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, UN Medal, the NATO Medal, the Presidential Unit Award, and the Valorous Unit Award. He was also Ranger and Airborne trained and qualified.
He served as Mayor of the City of Woodway, Texas from May 2010 through October 2011.
Married to his wife Robin for 32 years, their daughter is a 2011 Baylor graduate and USAF pilot and their son is a 2012 Texas A&M nuclear engineer graduate.