Posted on Sep 23, 2014
Sgt Evan Proctor
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I remember as a PFC/LCPL/CPL when a peer would get promoted we always told them "Don't forget where you came from."

I think the most successful people hold true to that motto. In my opinion the best leaders build their teams from the bottom up. They support those who are seeking more challenges, and they mentor those who should be seeking more.

Send the elevator back down, and help your team be successful. A true leader says "WE" accomplished this.

What are some other ways you have helped a subordinate move up the ladder? Did you have to hold their hand or did you shine the flash light on the path they should travel?
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Responses: 5
1SG Steven Stankovich
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I think that it is critical to remember where you came from. Granted, my contribution to this forum is strictly from a military perspective, but as I have read in the other responses here, it absolutely applies in the civilian sector as well. We all need to keep in mind that we started somewhere. Usually that was at the bottom. We had leaders and peers who showed us what right looked like. They also showed us what wrong looked like. We took those lessons and became who we are today. Learning those lessons was critical to maturity in our career path and in our lives. Never pass up an opportunity to help someone who is where you once were. That is how we pay it forward.
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Sgt Evan Proctor
Sgt Evan Proctor
8 y
The theory can be used at home too. As a Father I notice that the youngins will be pestering the heck out of me, however, they are having a great time and not bothering anyone but me. Remembering that I too used to love sliding around on tile floors in my socks helps keep me from being too much of a "Hard A$$" on them. Also keeping in mind that high school antics are meant as just that.
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PO1 Disaster Survivor Assistance Specialist
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It's not a bad idea - remembering where you came from. No matter how HIGH you go up in the food chain it's always possible to fall from grace. I can't tell you how many senior officers / senior enlisted fail this simple test. Can't say I passed with flying colors either when I retired...but I re-learned the lesson quickly. Most of the civilian world rarely gives a rats a$$ about your rank, position or authority when you get out or retire. Most of us in AD have visions of getting the middle to senior level management job when we get out - only to discover that McDonald's is always hiring, but they aren't too keen on ex-mil that flaunt that fact.

I've learned that keeping in mind the people who were with you (we're talking the good, solid, honest workers not the riff-raff) when you get promoted is a good thing. Take your learned military skills and apply them when you need to hire or promote people. Promote from within - you will find people understand what's expected of them if you've been a good leader when you were earning your way upwards. Of course - avoid keeping the "yes men/women" - they're never any good (except for your ego - which really doesn't need to be stroked IMHO) to a company or management team.
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Sgt Evan Proctor
Sgt Evan Proctor
8 y
I would personally have a subordinate that questioned my ideas, this makes me question them and find flaws. Having a "yes man/woman" only holds your team back. Collaborative thinking is the new black!
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Sgt Evan Proctor
Sgt Evan Proctor
8 y
That's exactly what I am saying! When I was brought on as an Assistant Store Manager with Safeway, I was surrounded by team members who had been on the job 15-20+ years. I was always given tasks to be completed by higher up, and had to come up with a plan to get everyone to work together for that goal. The number 1 way to get everyone's "buy-in" was so solicit the experience of those who reported to me. Then once the task was completed, all credit was given where it was due.

There was/is no better sight than to see someone light up when the District manager was walking our store and I stopped him/her to share with them the positive things a crew member did to help us get to where we were!
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PO1 Disaster Survivor Assistance Specialist
PO1 (Join to see)
8 y
Sgt Evan Proctor I'd rather have a subordinate questioni my ideas than to have any series of yes-men/women around me. Yeah, having the subordinate question my ideas can be a pain. But if you take the subordinate aside and actually speak with them one on one you often find they either have an honest difference of opinion - which is ok or they just don't get where you're coming from - which mean you've failed to get the message across.
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Sgt Evan Proctor
Sgt Evan Proctor
8 y
Most questions of authority derive from lack of communication. If my team was in arms about a task it was usually due to them no knowing why we had to make a change. Once they understand the larger picture, more of the team is on board.
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CW5 Desk Officer
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Edited 8 y ago
And that's why I think warrant officer (or officer with prior enlisted) is such a great rank. Most of us (some pilots excluded) came from the enlisted ranks, so it's easy to remember where we came from and to relate to folks working their way up those ranks. I watched warrants ahead of me and coached warrants behind me to learn and to share the path.
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Sgt Evan Proctor
Sgt Evan Proctor
8 y
I was a big fan of Warrants and Prior service officers running the show, they always seemed to have a fuller grasp on reality as opposed to "this is the way we do it" mentality of the fresh out of college/OSC fella's
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