3 Things Junior Leaders Must Do!

By | March 23, 2020

[March 23, 2020]  I was watching a little television yesterday, and while catching up on the news (all about the Coronavirus-COVID19), one of the announcers said that “now is the time for leadership.”1  After seeing what many young folks are doing by ignoring commonsense warnings about the pandemic, I would have added that now is the time for junior leaders to step up.  For those junior leaders, here are three things they must do to be a good leader.

First, junior leaders must be able to read, write, and think.  Yes, I know I’m cheating on the numbers a little here, but many of my peers and I think these are the same.  If you cannot read, write, and think (all three), then you will not be able to succeed in any leadership position in any modern-technical society.  Thinking is the most crucial, but our current formal educational system de-emphasizes reading, writing, and thinking.  Pushing these abilities requires help; the right mentor, good teachers, and the no-nonsense friend.

Second, junior leaders should try whatever they’ve never done.  An old, combat veteran told me once to “get outside your comfort zone.”  He was telling me to do things that I didn’t like but had worked for others.  Fear held me back on many occasions.  Fear keeps most of us back from acting when we know we should act.  When I joined the U.S. Army, my buddies and I did things we had never done before.  The first time we jumped from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter into a river (as part of a river-crossing under enemy fire), we were frightened.  We were so scared that my buddy peed his pants, but he jumped.

Third, junior leaders must take responsibility for their actions.  Never make excuses, never ever.  It seems natural to blame others for what fails on a mission.  We like to be bystanders because it’s safe.  But only by adopting responsibilities can we be a real leader.  Otherwise, we will sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by us.  Then, sometime in the future, when we look back on our lives, we will see a person in the stranglehold of fear and hesitation.  Regrets will follow us forever.

Our current Coronavirus pandemic demands leadership.  Leadership like this requires independent action, right thinking, dedicated and responsible leaders, and doing things we have never done before.  There is no template for action on such a novel virus.  No one can tell us what to do.  Every junior leader should look upon the situation and take the authority vesting in their leadership to take action.

Apply the brainpower we are given as a gift to humanity and step beyond our fear.  Only when the many junior leaders at the tip of the spear work together can we defeat the pandemic.  Our national-level government can only guide us.  The real work – that which will allow the fewest deaths – is at the lowest level of leadership.


  1. I’ve heard this expression so often, I now just ignore it. “Now is the time for leadership,” is one of those overused and abused phrases that are a catchall for “I don’t know what to do so I’ll just throw this out to make it look like I do know what I’m doing.”  One of my first Army sergeants used it all the time.  When I asked for more specifics, he would just tell me to manage my time better (another worthless phrase).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “3 Things Junior Leaders Must Do!

  1. Joe Omerrod

    Note to self, CHARACTER COUNTS. Groucho Marx is supposed to have said, “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

  2. Valkerie

    General Satterfield, another great article. I see that maybe I have a long way to go. But, and this is a big butt (no pun intended), I promised myself in the mist of all this self-isolation that I would focus more, get more courage, and start being a better leader.

    1. KenFBrown

      Just keep going and you will succeed. Nothing better than a person driven by what they want desperately in life.

    2. Deplorable John

      Are you feeling inspired to take some risks and try something you’ve been avoiding? I hope so! You’ll probably do great! If not, you’ll learn. Go for it!

  3. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Life can be tough. Things can happen that will yank you right out of your comfortable nest. The more open you are to new possibilities, the more diverse your experiences, and the more confident you are in your ability to face new situations, the more resilient you will be. This is what Gen. Satterfield keeps telling us. Maybe we should pay attention to what he says more often.

  4. Eric Coda

    One of your greatest quotes, “Never make excuses, never ever.” I constantly hear whining from young folks these days. On and on they go about how someone or something prevented them from accomplishing something they wanted to do. From the small like going to the grocery store or large like getting a university education, there is always the boggie man who stopped them in their tracks. Whining is for losers. And junior leaders – everyone for that matter – must stop the whining. It only makes us look like babies.

    1. Shawn C. Stolarz

      Good point, Eric and well said. Whining is for babies, college students, and immature politicians. The rest of the world doesn’t take excuses for failure. It matters not how prepared you are, how smart you are, or how beautiful, if you fail too bad. Get up and start over.

  5. Georgie B.

    Hey guys, hope that all is well with you and you are resisting the govt stupidity that is just as contagious as this COVID-19 virus thingy. There is an old saying by a comedian (cannot remember his name) that noted that just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town. Very intelligent observatrion.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      I think it was George Carlin who said it.

      1. The Kid 1945

        Yusaf, you’re right, it was George Carlin and he is often underappreciated for his keen observations.

    2. JT Patterson

      Ha Ha. Good one, Georgie and on target as usual.

    3. Dale Paul Fox

      Thanks Georgie, I hadn’t heard this one before.

    1. Lynn Pitts

      Right! Here is the one that I liked the best and we should all focus and remember that not everyone will succeed (because we don’t really try).
      5. People with no more talent and no less fear than you are successfully doing the thing you are avoiding.

  6. Ed Berkmeister

    Good set of things junior leaders MUST do. I would argue that ALL leaders must do them and do them all the time.

    1. Randy Goodman

      Agreed, we take senior leaders for granted that they know what to do and are spot on in every action and word. That is not always the case and in fact most great failures are because they failed at one of these acts laid out so well by Gen. Satterfield.

      1. Ed Berkmeister

        Hey thanks, Dead Pool Guy. Always good to get some feedback.

      2. Nick Lighthouse

        Hey, Dead Pool Guy, where did you get this DPG moniker? Eh? I like it. Spot-on! Can I have one?

        1. Linux Man

          I think someone might have said this before but just go to http://www.gravatar.com and you can find simple directions on how to get your “avatar” of choice. Picture or anything you want.

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