Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Leadership Secrets Of The SEALs

... may not apply to everyone.

I heard a talk today given by a SEAL team commander on leadership. It didn't resonate with me at all and I tried to put my finger on just why that was. I wondered if it was my normal contrariness until I finally hit upon it.

SEALs are effectively professional athletes. Their ability to carry out their missions are closely tied to their physical prowess. After a while, age takes it's toll and they can no longer do the job.

Contrast that with a professional - engineer, scientist, accountant, what have you. You can continue to develop within your profession until your mental faculties give out which is a substantially longer time frame. In fact, most of the superstar engineers and scientists I know are 40 years old at least. You need to fail in lots of different ways to gain wisdom as a professional. When SEALs fail, they can die or be severely injured.

Leadership in the professional world has a lot to do with recognizing and grooming talented youngsters and helping them manage their careers over a decade or more. I'm not sure what the lifespan of a SEAL is, but it's got to be pretty short in comparison. It was great to hear the chap's perspective on leadership and listen to his sea stories, but it wasn't my world at all.


tom said...

Admit it, you wouldn't mind having a few of their flash-bang grenades just to keep your staff at work on their toes :-)

K T Cat said...

Well, there's that and the fact that I was insanely jealous of how they spend all their time at the gym.


tom said...

Don't know about the gym, but I read the book about starting Delta Force. Once they started deploying, their practice ammunition count went down by a million rounds. Per month.

Reminds me that I need to get out to the range more myself...