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  • Writer's pictureMaya

A Selfless Leader

Updated: Jan 30, 2019


Video Length: 2:42 min

In this video, Colin Powell is giving a press conference and is asked about leadership. His answer gives some insight into how to build a tribe.

Description & Discussion:

A tribe has a shared vision and a culture of love and trust. In the video, Colin Powell says that to build trust you must be a selfless leader rather than a self-serving leader. In practice, you must truly care more about the team succeeding than you succeeding. That is selfless leadership.

Decision, Design & Discipline:

As an enlisted SEAL, I have had both self-serving and selfless leaders. The effect on the team was very apparent. One team worked together, stayed late when needed, and even hung around outside of work just enjoying each other’s company. In the other team, people could not wait to go home. If there was an event outside of work, most people left as soon as they could. The differences were that dramatic. Selfless leadership will build trust in the team. It becomes infectious throughout and will help the team become a tribe.

Selfless leadership is not easy. People are smart and will see through phony attempts. You must authentically put the team needs and individual’s needs above your own. This is not easy and will take time before people notice—but they will notice and you will build trust.

Goal: Take the time to talk with your people. Get to know them and their needs. If there is a need you can help with, jump on it.

Goal: Do not show your discomfort. The video talks about not showing you are hungry, scared, or cold. This translates to complaining about long hours, pay, or environment. If you appear to be upset about something, they will be upset about it. Do not complain in front of or to your team.

Goal: The biggest thing to build trust in the SEAL Teams is pretty simple. Do what you say you are going to do. If you do what you say you are going to do, no matter how small, people will trust you. If for some reason you cannot, you must notify that person at the earliest and make amends. Committing to doing what you say will also forces you to think before you commit. To build trust, do what you say you are going to.

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