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Col. Charles D. Allen
Military scholar

Col. Charles D. Allen

Colonel Charles D. Allen (U.S. Army, Ret.) is the Professor of Cultural Science in the Department of Command, Leadership, and Management at the U.S. Army War College.

Share Your Challenges

With military leaders, their professional histories are read aloud with each promotion and assumption of command during the attendant ceremonies for those events. The leaders' past assignments, operational deployments, and postings become public knowledge. This is part of our military culture and tradition--a statement that our leaders have had the right jobs, performed well enough, and demonstrated the potential required for the next rank and position of responsibility.

It is up to the leaders to share their personal stories to motivate, educate and mentor others in their organization. The more successful leaders I have observed do not tell stories of their great accomplishments, but rather of their personal and professional challenges. They tell stories of others that taught and inspired them along their career--fellow officers, NCOs and enlisted service members, friends, and family members. The stories of these senior leaders offer self-reflection, reveal a sense of humor and humility, and demonstrate their empathy.

It has been said that leadership is simply the process of influencing others. While followers may be impressed (or not) by the history of their new leader, the real influence may result from the ability of the leader to communicate and develop a trusting relationship through their words and deeds.

By Col. Charles D. Allen

 |  June 12, 2009; 10:12 AM ET
Category:  Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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