Real Leaders Get Their Hands Dirty

By | October 6, 2016

[October 6, 2016]  … and that’s how they get things done!  The expectations and hopes of any organization (or society) depends upon the quality and experience of its leaders.  Regardless of position – junior manager, mid-grade officer, or senior leader – the commitment of a leader to get their hands dirty is intimately connected to how well that leadership is flourishing.  Real leaders do, in fact, get their hands dirty by participating in the everyday lives of others and only by doing so are they successful.

Many years ago I was sent to observe the performance of a dozen junior U.S. Army lieutenants at a big training exercise in the California Mojave desert.  The Fort Irwin Nation Training Center conducts one of the best force-on-force training events in the world and has been called the U.S. premier school for realistic training.  While there, it didn’t take me long to figure out those who were the better lieutenants.  Their soldiers found it easy to speak with the better lieutenants and told me that their officer would do anything they were asked to do; in other words, they got their hands dirty.

I’m told that America has a leadership crisis.  Now, I don’t know if that is really true but people say that our political leaders have “betrayed” the trust and confidence freely given.  This pessimism is the result of divisive politics and perhaps poorer leadership in politics.  Many people tell us to just look at the U.S. presidential campaign where one candidate is a habitual liar and the other an unrelenting narcissist.

There does appear to be a problem with leadership in politics; regardless of the reasons.  Apart from of the thoughts of many about politics, we still know that good leaders are those who can rally people to a great cause and both U.S. presidential candidates have that ability.  To do so means that they’ve been able to get their hands dirty and they did so by doing the everyday work necessary to ensure they’re seen as real.

By getting their hands dirty, leaders are able to build trust in relationships, connect better with folks, get more involved, communicate better, and demonstrate their creativity.  Clearly, the best leaders get their hands dirty and that is becoming more an imperative today than ever before.

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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.