[October 18, 2018] Check Your 6, also phrased as Watch Your Back, is an appropriate warning for those who live under the precepts of good leadership. As we know, what a leader says and does will be misinterpreted; either unintentionally or purposefully. That is why leaders must ensure that they are perpetually prepared to defend what they do.
Human relationships are based largely on trust others have of you. Yet there will always be people who will betray those social bonds for a temporary advantage (money, prestige, revenge, etc.). That is why I recommend leaders prepare to ‘check your 6’ in taking great care how they perform. Being situationally aware and open is the solution.
The advice given to junior leaders is to develop and maintain a transparent model of doing business. This means that all your methods are open for anyone to see and it also means, more importantly, that the leader’s life is also open and public. This ensures that anyone who has something to gain through dishonesty or subterfuge will have difficulty.
That, however, is not always sufficient to protect one’s self from incriminating, unverified accusations and innuendo. Not unlike the Judge Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation process that witnessed women coming forward to blame him for rape and drunkenness without any corroborating evidence. We know that some of the spectacle was political malice and one of the greatest scandals in American politics.
We are also seeing a similar development on college and university campuses where the “we believe her” movement has taken hold of the intellectual elite. Radical ideologies get their start this way and it is of great importance that leaders use morally acceptable techniques (e.g., transparency and openness) to undercut false accusations.
The advice to check your 6 doesn’t mean all is well but it is the most effective. Continue to watch out for the naysayers, liars, charlatans, and wolves in sheep’s clothing.