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8 Essential Qualities That Define Great Leadership in the Militia

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1. Sincere enthusiasm

True enthusiasm for the mission cannot be faked. Team members can recognize insincere cheerleading from a mile away. However, when leaders are sincerely enthusiastic and passionate, that’s contagious. 


2. Integrity

Whether it’s giving proper credit for accomplishments, acknowledging mistakes, or putting safety and quality first, great leaders exhibit integrity at all times. They do what’s right, even if that isn’t the best thing for the current project or even the bottom line.

“When people see evidence that leaders lack integrity, that can be nearly impossible to recover from...“Trust lost is difficult to get back.”


3. Great communication skills

Leaders must motivate, instruct and discipline the people they are in charge of. They can accomplish none of these things if they aren’t very skilled communicators. Not only that, poor communication can lead to poor outcomes. Leaders who fail to develop these skills are often perceived as being weak and mealy-mouthed, It’s important to remember that listening is an integral part of communication.


4. Loyalty

The best leaders understand that true loyalty is reciprocal. Because of this, they express that loyalty in tangible ways that benefit the member of their teams. True loyalty is ensuring that all team members have the training and resources to do their jobs. It’s standing up for team members in crisis and conflict.“Great leaders see themselves as being in a position of service to their team members,”


5. Decisiveness

A good leader isn’t simply empowered to make decisions due to their position. They are willing to take on the risk of decision making. They make these decisions and take risks knowing that if things don’t work out, they’ll need to hold themselves accountable first and foremost.

Further, leaders who aren’t decisive are often ineffective. Too much effort working on consensus building can have a negative effect. Rather than simply making a decision, many leaders allow debate to continue, and then create a piecemeal decision that satisfies no one.


6. Managerial competence

Too many militia units try to create leaders from people who are simply good at being a member. To be clear, those who emerge as being very good members often have important qualities. They are the ones who have a strong understanding of the militias mission. They understand unit goals, processes, and procedures. All of these are important.

On the other hand, being good at being a member doesn’t prove that someone possesses the other competencies they need to be a leader. For example, can they inspire, motivate, mentor and direct?


7. Empowerment

A good leader has faith in their ability to train and develop the members under them. Because of this, they have the willingness to empower those they lead to act autonomously. this comes from trusting that their team members are fully up to any challenges they face. When members are empowered, they are more likely to make decisions that are in the best interest of the militia and the members as well. This is true, even if it means allowing members to go a bit off script.


8. Charisma

Simply put, people are more likely to follow the lead of those they like. The best leaders are well-spoken, approachable and friendly. They show sincere care for others. “People at all levels of an organization find it easy to relate to them and follow their lead,”


Every one of these qualities is absolutely essential to great leadership. Without them, leaders cannot live up to their full potential. As a result, their team members will never perform as well as they can either. Because of this, Militias must learn the best ways to identify and also to develop these necessary traits in existing and emerging leaders.

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Great article and true to form.  Finding serious-minded, genuinely concerned folks, are a scarce thing, and they seem to be getting more scarce today.  Today, just like its always been, it's important to know who you're friends are, know who you can trust, and know who you can depend on once everything falls into a jackpot.  Effective leadership produces those kind of things, and it can also create the kind of brotherhood found in good militia units.  

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Great leadership is always, first and foremost, completely devoid of the "my way or the highway" attitude. Great leaders get the most from their groups by recognizing and cultivating group strengths. That is to say, every single individual may not possess the strengths of each other but when folded into a group or team, these strengths can be shared and even adopted by others. Much the same can be said for weakness within an individual or group of individuals. By fostering and promoting the team mentality, weaknesses can be mitigated. As a former Bridge Rescue Supervisor and prior to that, team member, our lives were directly in the hands of our team. In the case of the militia, I suspect the same results are quantifiable . Just my opinion but I have seen it work. If any of our veterans would like to comment, I would greatly appreciate it. 

Edited by GregWrench
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Excellent descriptions and illustrations! I have found the quality I enjoy most about a leader is altruistic. I didn't see it mentioned but it was danced around among some of the others! A good leader must put the needs of his men first often over his own and that will then create the loyalty you discussed!

Edited by Lobo
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