19 October 2009

Mea Culpa

I owe an apology to the bloggers at Army.mil.

Last week I reported, somewhat cavilingly, that the official "Year of the NCO" blog refused to publish my comments.

They didn't; they were just slow to accept them. Sorry.

The entire affair brings to mind a point that I need to refer to, and one that will help Soldiers do their jobs better. The point is humility.

I have learned that an effective teacher needs to be humble. One reason is that pupils need to trust in their leaders, and a teacher that is infallible is not trustworthy. Rather, those eager to learn see through the facade of gilded perfection the fake and flimsy intelligence.

Subordinates may feign respect for egomaniacs, but they heed little besides the most basic instruction.

Army leaders need to ingest frequent high doses of humble pie. Far from betraying weakness, their lack of pride will instill a deeper respect and confidence for what they do well.

Imagine a squad leader who defers to a younger Soldier in a situation requires the best possible decision. Having accomplished and learned from the mission, the squad will have more confidence in both leader and team members.

Or in a training exercise, consider the instructor who admits he doesn't know the exact best answer to a complicated dilemma. The group can discuss and learn, and the instructor's credibility is bolstered in areas that he doesn't claim ignorance.

It's hard for leaders to expose themselves as anything below demigod, but a good one needs to do it.

And I'll continue to monitor when I'm too quick to cast aspersion at the good people of Army.mil.


  1. Were they slow to post your comments until after your complaint?

  2. Well, I am not going to presume that anyone at Army.mil is actually reading my blog, but yes, they published it just after I complained, after having waited one week. Coincidence? Maybe I'm on some sort of watchlist.