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Choose to improve and others will follow

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brent Booker
  • 375th Operations Group, Detachment 1 commander
Whether you know it or not, you are in a leadership position. If you have friends and co-workers, then you are able to lead. When you set your mind to improving, others take notice. Most everyone wants to improve--to become a better parent, subordinate, friend, or supervisor. It's in our nature. We don't want to be left behind. Once you start your self-improvement program, others are likely to follow.

In our unit, my friend brought his passion for road biking to the office. He continually encouraged me to get a bike so we could ride together. Before long, I scraped up the cash and bought a bike. His passion for biking has spread. Now we have at least a half dozen people in the office who join us on rides.
 
In fact, I have taken his enthusiasm for riding and influenced my wife to get a bike. At first she was skeptical of the idea. But now she loves to ride! My friend has admirable qualities of enthusiasm and encouragement. His enthusiasm for biking was contagious, and resulted in a group of people who joined up with him. The byproducts of his leadership are friendships, unit cohesion, stress relief, healthier bodies, and trust.

Another friend of mine is an exceptional leader. I met him while attending the University of Oklahoma. His No. 1 character quality is discipline. For over 30 years, he set his mind to helping college students build good habits that last a lifetime. This man has had an amazing career. He doesn't have a big bank account, but is tremendously successful. He disciplines himself to daily review and memorize scriptures. His memorization helps him when he is faced with tough decisions. His belief is simple: Whatever you fill your mind with is bound to come out. He is disciplined to fill his mind with useful content so he can be effective at encouraging those around him. I have met hundreds of people who have followed him and have been influenced by his zeal for scripture memory.

People love to be around him because he's interesting, encouraging, selfless, funny, wise, and disciplined. He set his mind to continually improve. These guys didn't set out to be leaders ... but they are. They pursued their passions. But more importantly, they shared their passions, and recruited their friends to join in.

Do you enthusiastically share your interests with your friends and co-workers? If you are passionate about your pursuits, others will follow. If you're like me, identifying your shortcomings is pretty easy! I challenge you to sit down and think about a few of the exceptional commanders, friends, and mentors you've known, and jot down the characteristics you most admire in them. Choose to improve--let others know what you are working on, and get enthusiastic about it. Recruit their help. The end result will be a team that is united, full of energy, trusting, and successful.