A REAL COMMANDER
The difference between getting respect
...and earning it
APOLOGIZING: Putting self aside
News, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS)
By Gene Kamena
MAXWELL Air Force Base,
When the military police vehicle pulled behind my car with its blue lights flashing, I knew I had screwed up. I was not wearing a seat belt.
a big deal? It is if you are the brigade commander in
The next morning,
as I entered the
brigade headquarters and the charge of quarters dutifully called the building to
also said with a wry smile: "Sir, I understand you had a brush with the law
needed to do something, and quickly.
make mistakes; good leaders acknowledge their mistakes and if appropriate,
apologize. Apologizing is never easy, especially for someone in a
position of authority.
not, sometimes it is the right thing to do.
had it that the monthly brigade run was
next morning. In front of more than three thousand
soldiers and leaders, I
told the story of what happened, admitted I was wrong,
made no excuses, handed my license over to the brigade command sergeant major and walked for the next week (no one ever offered me a ride).
The above story is true. I relate this very embarrassing incident with the intent of passing on what I learned
about leaders, mistakes and
leaders make mistakes, big or small, people notice. They notice because they watch what
leaders do. If there is a disconnect between what a leader
says and what a leader does, people will remember what a leader does. Mistakes
do not get better with time. My advice is to inform,
communicate and remedy the situation as soon
Tell the truth and set the record straight. I am convinced had I not apologized,
have it that I was
involved in a high-speed chase.
Mean what you say. People will know if you are
sincere or not.
· There can be only one
standard. Whatever the
rules, policies or practices, hold yourself to the same standard you
do everyone else.
Apologizing for my misconduct
was not easy, but it was the right thing to do.
A leader must keep their ego
in check. Good leaders
hold themselves accountable for their mistakes, and when an apology is required,
leaders put self aside.