How do you become a good leader? That question is one of the mysteries of the world. No one knows the answer to that; however, people can try and be good leaders. Actually, there are studies that people undertook to determine what it takes to be a good leader…
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How do you become a good leader? That question is one of the mysteries of the world. No one knows the answer to that; however, people can try and be good leaders. Actually, there are studies that people undertook to determine what it takes to be a good leader. Robert J. Thomas’ The Crucible of Leadership is just that. A crucible is a vessel in which metals like gold are melted. It is another term for certain incidents in life that would make people change, just because the incident is so intense that change is inevitable. Basically, like the object, crucible incidents in life are instruments that would melt – transform – you into a better object. For Robert J. Thomas, crucibles in life are important, since these make us (leaders) aware of our weaknesses by gaining insights to ourselves. It is extremely helpful, however difficult, that we have crucibles in our lives as they teach us important life lessons and the ways to be strong. For Thomas, the “combination of hardiness and the ability to grasp that concept that, above all, allows a person to not only survive an ordeal but to learn from it, and to emerge stronger, more engaged, and committed than ever”; that is what it takes to be a good leader, and one could get that by getting such challenges in a crucible. Basically, Thomas echoes the maxim, “What does not kill you will make you stronger”. In this case, it makes you a better leader too. These ordeals, therefore, are important to us. Back in 2005, I was in Iraq. Being a single, female soldier in Iraq is not very easy. I’m not complaining, but I had my share of difficulties. I was a commander; a leader. I know that sexual inequality is not as strong as compared to, say, the 60s, but it still exists. As a female commander, I had to endure rumors about my leadership. Worse, I had to endure rumors about myself, on a daily basis. Everyone was talking behind my back; everyone was lying to me; everyone was pretending to be with me, but actually was not. It was a pretty difficult experience, especially since I am a commander and I have to be in control of the subordinates. I tried to confront everyone who’s involved but I decided against it since I know that it would only add friction and create tension among the people involved. I knew that they disliked me but I decided to let it all go. There was no point of taking things personally. We were in a war and adding more stress to that is not just worth it. I have to lead my soldiers through that war. I do not have to let the rumors get the best out of me. I decided to focus and deliver my duties as an effective commander. So, I dropped it and refused to acknowledge their taunts and rumors. They can’t do anything to hurt me because I was their commander, only rumors. In the end, they stopped because they could not get a reaction from me; and I led them through battles, unscathed. Although the relations between me and them are not as fraternal and jovial as people would imagine, we became a good unit out in the field. If I chose to bicker with them and engaged them with their taunts and rumors, it would have then been an awkward time out there in the field. There might be a chance that they might rebel against me, because personal feelings can always get in the way. Keeping things professional is the best way out of this problem, as well as keeping quiet. This crucible of mine taught me how to see things on a basic perspective; without letting emotions getting the best out of me. It also taught me to be more calculating, and this is proving to be more useful in these times. A leader is supposed to inspire and motivate. Can I do that when I am acting emotionally, when I am retaliating to their immature behavior? The answer is “No”. A good organizational leader is someone who develops plans and strategies that make soldiers into better players of such teams. Experience is the best teacher when it comes to these types of leadership. My crucible experience will
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