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19 November 2019

Leadership = Love

An excerpt from an up coming book I am currently writing:

I love you, I care about you, I want to see you succeed further then I ever have, so one day you will take over my position.

This isn’t some thing that would normally be said in the work place, more likely in a family.

In the movie “A Bronx Tail” Calogero asked Sonny “Is it better to be loved or feared?”, and Sonny replies that it is easier to be feared.

I agree 100% with this statement. It easy to instill fear in subordinates. It’s easy to rule with an iron fist and it’s extremely hard to invest emotion in those who follow you.

Leadership has evolved. The day of the tyrant is exhausted. You will never get the full capacity of your men and woman that way. Over the past 17 years I have learned a lot of my leadership styles from watching leaders I never wanted to replicate, and the rest from the great leaders who have crossed my path in my career.

Love breeds respect

When you care for someone’s well being you treat a person with value. When you have love for someone and are in a position to lead them, you tend to place boundaries to what you would put them through. In combat we have a mission. As an infantrymen we have all accepted the fact there is a possibility of death.  Decisions made in this world can be catastrophic. We believe in the process, understand the possible consequences, and go directly into the fight. Yes, In our world we put our “kids” at risk but this is our job. I have been on a mission leading my team into an objective knowing we are going to get into an engagement. I had two radios going on in my ear… The left is platoon communication, on the right internal communication. I could hear that we were walking into a fire fight, I was ready but I was nervous for my young Soldiers. I would tell them “Get your minds right” meaning, be ready, this is what we trained so hard for. I was terrified that they would be terrified. They knew what was coming by the tone of my voice. I knew what could happen if things went wrong. I have built a rapport with them, they trust me, they know I wouldn’t lead them astray… They have respect for me and I have love for them.

After my time as a Ranger I was activated as a Drill Sergeant to train the troops for war. This was the most enlightening leadership experience of my life. This was where I come to solidify my idea that Leadership is nothing more than Love.

Training and raising tomorrow’s future takes a strong role model with the ability to also be a nurturer…

There is definitely an important time to identify who’s in charge… but once this has been established, there is very little maintenance to remind them. The rest of the time is raising soldiers as if they were our children. Giving them tools to take forward in life and in war. The intricacies of shaving. The importance of punctuality. The significance of physical fitness. It’s most unfortunate that the rest of the world isn’t put into a position to train the masses and prepare them for war. This would push more leaders to give a fuck about their subordinates. Their life and death can all be trickled down to training. There is no higher level of pressure to lead with honest intentions.

There is a popular Men’s life coach who says “Kings eat first”. His ideology is that the king needs to eat so he can have the energy to protect the flock, the reason he is king is because he is the toughest and so he needs his nourishment to continue in his leadership ways.

This had me thinking for months… This was so far off from what I have learned from the leaders I have respected. The ones who taught me “Leaders Eat Last”.

At first I hated the idea but then as he explained it I started to understand his point. But something about this mindset didn’t sit well with me, I took a deep dive into my leadership style and what I’ve learned all these years and I had finally came up with the answer to why this will never be my style.

Before my mentor and leader in the Military was killed in combat, we went through a training cycle. During one of those events I was the casualty. The team removed my gear and started doing notional medical attention on my training injuries. As they started to carry me to the LZ for extraction he joked about my weight saying “you better not ever go down in combat”….

The next day he was the casualty, the difference was before we started to prep him for exfil he whispered to me.. “take my fucking radio”.

Once at the end of the exercise he said “How the fuck are you going to take charge of the team without the radio”. The mission doesn’t stop because the leader goes down. If that was the case then the leadership had no trust in his subordinates and was too insecure to develop others to be good enough to perform their job.

The family doesn’t stop living once Dad has passed.

“Leaders Eat Last” is total focus on taking better care of your men than yourself. The experience of hardship is the leaders burden to carry. I like to think of this like parenting. Dad doesn’t grill steaks and eats them before heading back inside to serve his kids.

In a king eats first world, the king has not given his men and women the lessons needed in life. They need to know how to continue when the leader has taken a fall in combat. In this type of world our Military would never have success, actually quite the opposite.

If the leader is in fear of allowing his subordinates to reach a greater education, and greater understanding of the leaders intentions than all forward momentum is halted once the leader goes down.

At the root of that mentality is selfishness, the rest of the pack is left to wander in total chaos. He has left them with no ability to complete the mission. He had no real love for those he leaves behind.

Great leadership equals love. Selflessness without ego.

Why was my friends mindset on leadership so different from mine? Why has he gone a completely different route than I have in the mindset of great leadership.

He based his leadership style on his life.  Struggles of being a business man, Experienced Fighter, dealing with Divorce, being a single dad to becoming Extremely successful again.

I based mine on my lifestyle. Struggles with being a business man, Experienced Fighter, dealing with Divorce, being a single father, and I am still chasing the becoming extremely successful again part…

We have almost identical life experiences and failures…

What was missing in his experiences that was present in mine.


Serving at a time of War:

Decisions made under a possible consequence of Death.

The selflessness of service for a  greater purpose than your own.

The Military’s fundamental ideology.

A squad, a platoon, a Unit …. All can be broken down to one definition, Family.

As some leave the ranks, others are placed into positions to further move the unit in the Direction of success.

This in engrained into the fabric of our DNA, subconsciously.

For the Love of the men and woman to the right and the left of us.

We are made to follow and to lead.

All we need is a leader with the willingness to say :


I love you, I care about you, I want to see you succeed further then I ever have, so one day you will take over my position.