Are You a Chicken or an Eagle?

Some people will disagree with me, but I personally do not believe your rank or duty position MAKES you a leader.

Instead, I believe you have to earn that right.

I’ve met Battalion Commanders who can’t lead themselves out of a wet paper bag.

And I’ve also met a few Privates and Specialists that I would follow in combat.

I find there is seldom ANY correlation between “leadership ability” and “rank.”

One of the biggest mistakes Army NCOs and Army Officers make is “thinking” they are leader.

They confuse seniority and experience with COMPETENCE.

Just because you have experience and seniority does not make you a leader, nor does it make you competent.

And just because you wear brass, bars or stripes, does not make you a leader.

As I mentioned earlier, you have to PROVE YOURSELF to be a leader.

In fact, many people who think they are “eagles” are nothing more than “chickens” with a title.

If I had to describe a leader in my own words, it would be this:

  • Someone who gets things done; a producer (this is the # 1 criteria)
  • Someone who isn’t scared to make decisions or face adversity
  • Someone who has followers by choice, not by force (influence over others)

How do you rank in these categories?

Do you produce?

Are you sure?

Do you do more than you are paid to do, or do you do the minimum?

Are you scared to make decisions or do anything without your boss’s approval?

Or are you a MAVERICK who takes initiative and makes your own decisions?

Do you have followers?

Do they follow you because they have to or because they want to?

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I guess the purpose of this article is to get you to reflect on these criteria.

I hope you will conduct a self analysis and evaluate yourself as a leader.

Look yourself in the mirror and find ways to improve.

Even if you are a chicken, you can become an eagle.

I know because I was a chicken once.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s true.

I was simply fortunate enough to have another eagle teach me how to fly.

If you want to become an eagle, all you have to do is (1) make a decision to be one and (2) develop the right mind set and the right skill-set.

It really is that simple.

It won’t happen overnight, but it is possible.

I’m reading a great book right now called “From a Chicken to an Eagle” by Jerry Frankhauser.

It is definitely eye opening book.

And it’s forcing me to reevaluate my own life.

I hope that you will always consider yourself a “work in progress” and do what you can to get a little bit better every single day.

I hope you will make a decision to leave the chicken coop and soar with the eagles.

We need more eagles.

We have enough chickens, especially in the military.

What are your thoughts?

Please give your opinions below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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3 thoughts on “Are You a Chicken or an Eagle?”

  1. From the movie Down Periscope:
    "You are speaking to a superior officer."
    "No, merely a higher ranking one."
    Rank and leadership often have no bearing on each other. Now I will say most people in leadership roles were top quality people, but there are always a few who seemed to have wandered into their roles. There isn't much you can do about that except make sure you aren't one of these people.

  2. Your articles on leadership are excellent and apply to anyone, not just those in the military. Even in the private sector, there is nothing more annoying than a leader who thinks they are “all that” just because they have the title, but their actions, knowledge and the way they treat people says just the opposite.

    1. Johndel Callora

      I agree with you Rick. This blogsite talks about the real qualities of a leader and how to become a great one. Young military aspirants should read some tips in this blogsite, they will surely learn a lot.

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