In all sectors of life, from the military, to corporate business, to professional athletic teams, to political leadership of nations, people place a great deal of focus on the bottom line. This is important, even necessary. However, the pursuit of bottom line goals without an equally—or even greater—focus on the development of personal leadership traits within leaders in these sectors, will ultimately lead to many organizations failing to reach their bottom line. In any sector of life, an organization needs a leader to guide it along the path to the goal.
Since organizations in all facets of life need leaders, and leaders need practical lessons to learn or enhance their leadership skills, that is what this book provides—leadership lessons, or tools. While the author has spent the past 22 years of his life learning about leadership in the United States Air Force, witnessing leadership from joint and coalition partners around the world, and practicing leadership when given positions of responsibility as his rank increased, this book is not just a book for military leaders. First, the author did not write the book as leadership lessons for commanders or colonels or generals—although the lessons certainly are applicable to them. Rather, the author describes leadership lessons that apply to personnel of all military ranks who lead and mentor others—officers and enlisted members alike. Second, but even more important, the leadership lessons in this book apply just as much to leaders in business, sports, politics, and other walks of life as they do to military members. Therefore, the intention of the leadership lessons in this book is that they have a universal application that will be helpful tools and guidelines for individuals leading or aspiring to lead others on an any level and in any sector of life one can imagine.
Within each lesson of this book, the author has included descriptions of how individuals from the past—some recent past and some distant past—demonstrated a positive or negative example of each lesson, reinforcing the practical application of each lesson title. When the words describing the lesson and the examples illustrating the lesson are combined, they provide a powerful, memorable frame of reference for the readers as to how they might apply these lessons themselves in their situations or within their organizations to enhance their leadership abilities.
Some of these leadership-enhancing lessons in the book include the following: hard work goes a long way; persevere in the face of difficulties; respect must be earned; empower key deputies; and do the right thing. Are any of the lessons in this list difficult to comprehend? No. As the book’s title suggests, they are commonsense leadership tools. The book contains more lessons, but all of them are similar to these—leadership tools that all leaders can easily understand, and once they understand the principles, they can put the words into action with confidence and conviction.
Last, but not least, what does the author really mean by leadership tools with universal application? He means that the leadership lessons described in the book apply just as much to the shift supervisor at a fast food restaurant as they do to the chief executive officer of a multi-billion-dollar company. The captain of a high school football team or the head coach of a NBA franchise can use these same tools, just as a captain flight commander or the commanding general of a warfighting command could use them. The lessons in this book have the potential to inspire and motivate local city councilmen or councilwomen, or even enlighten and energize elected federal officials in any nation throughout the world. That is what universal application means, and that is what this book provides—commonsense leadership lessons and tools that any inspired individual on any level in any sector of life can use to become a leader, or become a better leader.
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