Life and Leadership Lessons Learned In The Military: “Being a no person is just as bad as being a yes person.” with Anthony Bustamante and Marco Dehry

Marco Derhy
Jul 17, 2019 · 19 min read

Being a no person is just as bad as being a yes person.
We all know someone that is a yes person, they agree at all costs, regardless of whether the agreement is warranted or not. Equally but oppositely harmful is the no person, the person who’s default answer is disagreement. While I appreciate individuals that have a healthy amount of skepticism, the operative words here are “healthy amount”. There have been many individuals that I’ve come across in my time, who’s default answer to an idea is no, or where the immediate opinion of a situation is negative. These individuals are exhausting and impede progress. Don’t be a yes person, but also, don’t be a no person. People in either of these camps lack the ability to think critically.

As a part of my series about “Life and Leadership Lessons Learned In The Military”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anthony Bustamante, an active duty First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, with over 17 years of experience. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Park University and his Master’s degree in Cybersecurity from the University of Maryland. In 2018, Lieutenant Bustamante was chosen to exercise a new authority granted to his service by Congress which allows highly skilled technicians with operational experience and advanced degrees to commission at a higher rank. He was an Instructor for the Air Forces Cyber Warfare Operations technical school and has since found his passion as an educator. He is a self-professed nerd and enjoys conducting security research and programming in his free time. Currently, he works at the 390th Cyberspace Operations Squadron on a development team, designing training for advanced cyber warfare operations. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member for Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement online Cybersecurity Management program.


  1. Being a no person is just as bad as being a yes person.
    We all know someone that is a yes person, they agree at all costs, regardless of whether the agreement is warranted or not. Equally but oppositely harmful is the no person, the person who’s default answer is disagreement. While I appreciate individuals that have a healthy amount of skepticism, the operative words here are “healthy amount”. There have been many individuals that I’ve come across in my time, who’s default answer to an idea is no, or where the immediate opinion of a situation is negative. These individuals are exhausting and impede progress. Don’t be a yes person, but also, don’t be a no person. People in either of these camps lack the ability to think critically.
  2. Times change, change with them and embrace it.
    A great example of changing with the times, is being able to adapt to how technology has changed the way in which we communicate. When I was a young Airman, you called your boss if you were going to be late to work. But in this generation, texting is without a doubt the primary mode of communication, and it’s not uncommon to receive a text instead of a phone call. Initially, this may seem off putting, but when you think about it, having to take a disruptive phone call instead of picking the time and place to have the conversation is actually more of a hindrance. Times are changing, change with them.
  3. Positivity is contagious
    In reality, attitudes are contagious, good or bad. Often when we talk about bad attitudes spreading, we use the phrase poisoning the well. Unfortunately, we don’t have a turn of phrase for the opposite, the positive attitude. The impact that a positive attitude has on an organization, especially from higher levels of leadership, is profound. In particular, I remember one unit that I was at in which the hours were long and grueling, but the members of the unit were a tight knit group and morale was high because we all worked well as a team. However, as it often happens, our current commander’s time was up, and the new commander was on his way in. Of the dozens of changes of command I’ve witnessed, I remember this one vividly, because it was the first time that I realized the impact that a leaders attitude can have on an entire organization. When the new boss came in, he was a real iron fist, my way or the highway type individual, with little room for negotiation. Within days, the entire atmosphere within the unit had changed, and the tension was so high you could cut it with a butter knife. The mission carried on, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that the next year was rough.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Marco Derhy

Written by

A Positive Influencer | Author | 19 years publication industry |Created unique series….| Founder @ Derhy Enterprises, a boutique international consulting firm.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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