July 2018

Stop Pampering Them

This month I am highlighting an article written by a Marine, a friend, and colleague—Valerie Bérubé. Valerie is the author of the recently published "Polish Your Star." Her phenomenal book is a unique treatise on leadership development.

"Polish Your Star," is written for those with busy schedules to learn the lessons of leadership in short, meaningful segments. A truly genius way of teaching a skill everyone in a leadership position or aspiring to be in a leadership position should have.

Enjoy the read and get her book, you will be glad you did!

Semper Fi,
Col John Boggs

Stop Pampering Them

By Valerie Bérubé

A friend of mine, a senior Air Force Officer, was lamenting how too many Airmen at her installation seemed unhappy and wanted to leave the Air Force. This was despite having the best of everything: great gyms, office spaces, food offerings, comfortable work environment, free advanced education, and much more. She just couldn't understand why they were unhappy and wanted to do something else. But the answer to me was obvious, and I gently suggested to her the following — "Stop pampering them."

A surprised look spread across her face, and then she responded: "Of course I would expect that from a former Marine."

"This has nothing to do with being a Marine," I said. "It has every bit to do with the psychological needs of a young adult." I'll share with you the explanation I shared with her.

Young adults need cycles of "good stress" and recovery. They need challenges that make them a little scared and uncertain, with leadership encouragement (tailored to the needs of the team or individual) to help them through the challenge. Once the challenge is done, there's congratulations, a short respite, and then another, different, stretch goal challenge. This cycling of relevant and edifying challenges is more important than beautiful office spaces, fancy gyms, or comfortable living quarters. I'm not saying that stuff isn't important. What I am saying is that if young people don't feel like they're being challenged in relevant ways, all the pampering in the world can't make up for this missing critical piece.

Part of giving young people relevant challenges is managed confrontation. There is too much effort going into avoiding confrontation and having harmonious work environments, when in fact such efforts can lead to stagnation and boredom when overdone. Disagreements, arguments, and confrontation are valuable stormy events that also serve as relevant challenges. I am not talking about toxic communication, cursing, or name-calling. What I'm talking about is having difficult conversations, not hiding things that should be out in the open, and expressing unpopular opinions that bring a new perspective. Confrontation is indeed scary and uncomfortable for a lot of people. Learning how to confront and manage confrontation correctly is a critical life skill for young people and we, as leaders, should not deny them this skill for the sake of remaining in our own comfort zone.

Those of us longer in the tooth generally prefer creature comforts over challenges, or we prefer the challenges at a slower pace, but young adults are not like that. They need cycles of "good stress" fairly often, or else they get bored or get into trouble, and then will seek their excitement from somewhere else. They need to be stretched beyond their comfort zone fairly often, and to do that, we as leaders must go beyond our comfort zones, too.

After sharing this explanation to my friend, she responded with "Wow, I never thought of it that way."

I closed with my opinion that today's young people are not needy, lazy or an entitled generation. I do not believe such things about any younger generation, despite popular views to the contrary. The problem is not the generation; it is their leadership. If we as leaders get too comfortable, trying too hard to make things nice and easy and harmonious, then our younger people will become confused, bored, and lost. That is not their fault. That is ours and ours alone.

She’s Such a B_ _ _ _!

Ladies, I know many of you hear the words 'she's such a bitch!' used to describe you every time you have to exert your authority.

When you are making the lazy produce, the inept learn, and the cocky more tolerable don't sweat being called a bitch. Great leaders know how to get the most out of those they lead. Things have not changed, some need a kick, others need coaching, and some you just let run with a little steering from time to time.

Keep this in mind; those who see the bitch in you also see the laziness or ineptitude in themselves. It is easier for them to say something wrong about you because they feel bad about themselves.

Charge on!

Take Care of Your Marines

I am often asked for leadership advice based on my Marine Corps experience for use in business. This section is providing short leadership tips you can use to become an Exceptional Leader. Being good on any given day is easy. Being exceptional requires daily effort. Enjoy the read.

Taking care of your Marines does not mean babying them or accepting anything but their very best.

It means to set the expectations high. Make sure they have the means—that is training and resources to be successful. Ensure you praise publicly, chastise privately; paid on time and have time to be the men and women they want and need to be for themselves and their families.

You will reap the benefits. Goals will be met, and consistently exceeded.

Taking care of those who work for you is taking care of your business.

Current Happenings


On August 28th John will be providing a Presentation/Workshop at the Arizona SHRM event. The event will be at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa.

The topic—Executive Level Decision-Making


COL. Byron Freeman U.S. Army (Ret.) President of BAF Security and I will be returning to Delta College in Michigan to teach the popular course "21st Century Community Policing and Cultural Competency."

Enrollment is open now on the website.

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