It’s the Camaraderie

[June 3, 2019] Like many before me who served in the military, I’m repeatedly asked what I miss about being in the service. “Do you miss the action?” is a common question but misses the point about why our military folks miss being around other service members. Military veterans will tell you that they miss the people because nothing else comes even close to the camaraderie of their service.

If you ever get the chance, visit a Veterans’ Administration health clinic or hospital. If you walk around and pay attention, you will see veterans sitting around, not waiting on a doctor but who are there just to be around other veterans. Often, nothing is said. They are there because they are in the company of those who had similar, life-altering experiences.

“I won’t miss coaching. What you miss is that camaraderie with those boys and the other coaches. You miss that.” – Bobby Bowden, one of the greatest American college football coaches upon his retirement

I belong to a Veterans Club, where I now live in Southern New Jersey. We have a large club with good attendance. What brings the veterans out every month to sit and talk and listen to a short speech? The decaf coffee and sweets are an attraction. But it’s the camaraderie of those in attendance that attracts them.

A few years ago, I wrote an article called Being there helps make a leader. My point was that leadership is about people, and the physical presence of leaders is the most effective way to show they care. Another way to say this would have been to write that leadership is about building camaraderie and in the camaraderie is trust, respect, and a mutual understanding of others.

There are ways to build upon camaraderie. I ran across a good article that lays out some good, common sense ways to do this. The article, by Brandon Carter, is worth reading. You can find it here (see link). Carter explains the benefits of camaraderie and the role of a leader in making sure it remains strong.

Ultimately, camaraderie is the spirit of trust and friendship. That is why our military service members have seen it work and once ‘infected’ by it, can never go back to being the average citizen again. I don’t miss the action, and I don’t miss the work. I do miss the people who gave significance to my life. Just ask any military veteran, and I’m sure you will get the same answer.

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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 “It’s the Camaraderie

  1. Martin Shiell

    While it may seem like camaraderie in the workplace is nice but not totally essential, a sense of closeness amongst co-workers can actually improve the odds of getting the job done. Nuff said!

    Reply
    1. Dennis Mathes

      Right, amazing how many leaders (really managers) overlook this basic idea.

      Reply
    2. Kenny Foster

      People who regularly gather together trust each other more, which contributes to better teamwork. It also makes them more loyal to the business as a whole. Camaraderie strengthens communications within a team, and these all contribute to the bottom line of the organization.

      Reply
    1. Max Foster

      Gil, that’s why ‘being there’ as a leader is so important. A major theme in this leadership blog is that leaders must be able to ‘connect’ with those that follow them. Just look at major leaders of countries today. Either they stay in power by force (communists, socialists, etc.) or by building some form of camaraderie (democracies). Your choice! One is done by force, the other by consensus.

      Reply
      1. Janna Faulkner

        Ever experience a leader who couldn’t connect with others? I have. What a disaster.

        Reply
      2. Maureen S. Sullivan

        Well said, Max and thanks Janna for being on point.

        Reply
  2. Yusaf from Texas

    Where you live also has a camaraderie effect. For example, those students who attend Texas A&M Univ have it more than those who attend a lesser school. What makes this so is complex but not that difficult to understand. Go Aggies!

    Reply
  3. Drew Dill

    I was in the Army many decades ago and I still can feel the tug of camaraderie. While we no longer have reunions, that does not mean any of us have rejected that feeling when you have others around you that protect and defend you.

    Reply
    1. Ronny Fisher

      Thank you for your service, Drew and also for your confirmation of the long lasting impact camaraderie has on us.

      Reply
    2. Harry B. Donner

      Well said, Drew. Also, thanks for your service.

      Reply
      1. Drew Dill

        Hi JT. Haven’t heard from you in a while. Good to see you back on Gen. Satterfield’s leadership blog.

        Reply
  4. Army Captain

    Once again, you are on target with this article, Gen. Satterfield. No one really knows the depth of camaraderie until they’ve actually experienced it in all its profoundness.

    Reply
    1. Wilson Cox

      Correct, until you see for yourself what real camaraderie is like (not the weak or fake stuff we see happening on college campuses), there is no full understanding of its implications and how emotionally soothing it can be. Even during the most traumatic experiences, camaraderie is about the only thing that will get you thru. Resilience is another, of course.

      Reply
  5. Greg Heyman

    Great article. Camaraderie is what it’s all about.

    Reply
    1. The Kid 1945

      One cannot underestimate the value of camaraderie. The more we value each other, the better we all work together.
      It never ceases to amaze me how so few people actually get this concept.

      Reply
    2. Dale Paul Fox

      Thanks Greg. I see you’re the first comment of the day. But also you said it well, “Camaraderie is what it’s all about.”

      Reply

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