Lesson # 15 from Starship Troopers

Today, we’re going to cover the fifteenth lesson I learned from the book Starship Troopers. This is the fifteenth lesson in the 17-lesson mini-series.  If you haven’t read the previous post yet, please do so right now and try to follow it in order.

Lesson # 15: Leaders Must be Confident and Poised at All Times

Quote: “Officers are supposed to look relaxed son.  An officer can’t look scared or tense; it’s contagious.”

starship troopers bookMy Take: One of the most important jobs a leader has is to lead by example and instill confidence in their Soldiers.  When the bullets start flying, a leader must be at their best.  While the quote focused on officers, I believe it also applies to NCOs.  Just like a woman controls the emotions in a home, an Officer is expected to control the emotions of his Soldiers. And the best way to do that is to set a good example.

The best leaders I’ve ever served with had the ability to stay calm and poised, no matter the situation.  Even when everything was stacked against them, they remained calm, confident and poised.  They remained OBJECTIVE.  As a result, their Soldiers stayed calm and things turned out okay.  On the other hand, I’ve also worked with some folks who were like an emotional roller coaster.  When things were great they were calm and relaxed, but when things went sour they were an emotional wreck.

You have to realize that your Soldiers will do what you do and act how you do.  If you are confident, they will be confident.  If you act scared, they will be scared.  They look to you for leadership and advice when things go haywire.  And however you react, they will react.  Never forget that.  So do what you can to learn how to master your emotions.  Get grounded.  Stop letting a situation dictate your emotions.  Learn to relax, be confident and be poised at ALL times.

I understand it’s much easier said than done, but it is very important to learn how to master your emotions.  Here a few tips for success:

  • Be confident in your abilities as a leader
  • Be technically and tactically proficient
  • Learn how to look at a situation objectively
  • Evaluate the facts and make a decision
  • Whenever you give an order, be confident about it
  • If necessary, hide or mask your emotions
  • If you need to worry about something, worry for two minutes and then be done with it!

The bottom line is that LEADERS set the emotional tone in their organization.  So if you lead others, you need to be confident and poised at all times, especially when shit hits the fan.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

3 thoughts on “Lesson # 15 from Starship Troopers”

  1. Faith A. Coleman

    What a vital lesson! No one in any role can lead effectively if they’re jerked around by emotions and feelings, especially if fear is running the show. As you said, a good leader can have the emotions and feelings, even fear, and still have the ability to make the tough decisions and show confidence. That principle seems to be one of the characteristics that define a leader, the trait that separates a leader from the followers. It’s interesting that you say the woman controls the emotional climate in a home. I’d be interested in your comments about the differences between male and female officers. Do their leadership styles differ?

    1. Being scared is perfectly fine and normal. But when you lead others you need to hide that fear and appear confident. That is one of the leader’s most important responsibilities, especially in combat.

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