Leadership – The Duty to Your Men.

This is the first on a small series regarding leadership. Hopefully, this can aid in how you go about being placed into such scenarios willingly or otherwise.

There are endless books, papers and podcasts regarding leadership. It is a market of its own, one that can attract many thousands of pounds. What this indicates is a deep need for this sort of conversation, about what it means to lead a team and what can help in such an endeavour.

It is often terrifying to be placed in such a position for the first time, a fear you often cannot show that does not help the matter. One where you have to both prove yourself to your team and hope that the choices you make are positive ones for them. However, it can also be a very exciting prospect for many as well, be it for the potential increases in salary, power or so forth.

However, this first post is dedicated to one particular aspect of leadership. The most important one to realise when placed in such a position. The duty you have to your men, to any who work for you. There is a quote I particularly like from Star Trek of all places regarding the duty that comes with such a position.

‘There are three things to remember about being a starship captain: keep your shirt tucked in, go down with the ship, and never abandon a member of your crew.’

Captain Kathryn Janeway

While taken from a fantasy show I feel this captures the very essence of the duty a leader has to their team. The first is keeping your shirt tucked in, while simple and sometimes impossible depending on your work carrying a particular message. That being that it is important to set the standards of professionalism you expect from others yourself. That can be as simple as dressing the part, taking care not to look sloppy or lazy in even those mundane things can have an impact on how others perceive you.

The second thing to remember of ‘go down with the ship’ is arguably more important. It demonstrates the importance of sticking around until the bitter end when things do not go as expected. Instead of vanishing when difficulties arise, it is up to you to stay and help fix them and take responsibility for them. Equally, when things are unable to be remedied, it’s up to you to take the blame for such things instead of passing the buck to those working for you.

Finally, never abandon a member of your crew. This in particular is how you gain loyalty from people, if you truly care and will have any of their backs regardless of a situation they are more likely to return the favour. Furthermore, if you see a member of your team falling by the wayside, struggling with work or simply not fitting in as much socially, it is up to you to make the effort to go and talk to them. Do not ever let such a person feel abandoned, it speaks poorly of your leadership ability and can impact that individual’s mental health at work negatively.

While this post is focusing more on getting across the heavy responsibilities of leadership, future posts aim to discuss more practical skills and philosophies that will help in bringing out the best in people. They will also hopefully help in being able to manage when things do not go to plan, which is always a matter of if and not when. However, even without these skills, if you show a dedication to your team and you go out of your way to care for and support them you will have the right mindset to succeed and learn the other skills much more easily.

Published by Duncan Hookey

A British/Canadian writer who writes about various topics related to how to make the most out of life.

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