[June 8, 2023] As a new Platoon Leader in the U.S. Army Infantry, my Soldiers were always comparing me to their previous leader. And oh, that Lieutenant did not do so well. Those comparisons were usually unflattering and frankly I was not too happy about it (for professional reasons). My commander told me to just get use to it. He was right.
“Life is not fair. Get used to it.” – Bill Gates
It took a year before I was fully accepted into the platoon for who I was and for my own teamwork and accomplishments. It is to be expected that leaders are compared to other leaders. Yep, the advice to just get use to it, was spot on. This is the way of the world and so better to have a thick skin and move on.
Being compared to other leaders is something we should not only expect but also should help manage. There is a natural inclination of others to do this. Typically when we think of people making comparisons, it is one person comparing themselves to someone else. For the leader to be compared to other leaders can be a sticky problem if it gets out of hand.
This is why it is so important for leaders to establish genuine personal connections to people and to use their social skills effectively. At that point, when the tendency to make comparisons occurs, the comparison is more likely to be positive.
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