Temper the Sword
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Temper the Sword

Be Clear, Accessible, and Bold

If you are looking for a simple leadership formula, Utah adjutant general Maj. Gen. Michael Turley has one.


Be clear in your communication. Be accessible to others. Be bold in your actions. Turley reminds Soldiers at almost every opportunity to live these leadership principles.

Properly applied, they will help leaders at all levels achieve more in their organizations.

Be Clear

Turley tells Soldiers consistently to make sure “all your communication is clear.” The need for clarity spans all levels of the organization.

Several tools will help leaders maintain clarity in their written and oral communication. These tools include back briefs — or asking listeners to summarize what you tried to communicate with them. Another is taking the time to let others ask questions about your communication.

Be Accessible

Accessibility helps empower organization members to be their best. When others feel free to come to you for questions, direction, or motivation, they will do so. This gives leaders additional opportunities to extend influence.

Conversely, as you extend that influence, you empower others to do the same.

Nearly everyone is any organization has leadership responsibilities. Even those who don’t supervise others have a functional leadership responsibility. In many organizations, the principle of everyone is a ___ applies. For instance, everyone is a safety officer is meant to empower any Soldier at any level to call out safety violations at any time.

Accessibility leads to a convergence of effort toward organizational goals.

Be Bold

“We don’t put you in charge of a unit, assignment, or a team so you can sit back and not do anything,” Turley often says to Soldiers.

Boldness means leaders need to be willing to accept risk. But risk shouldn’t be ignored. Instead, leaders need to look for risk, acknowledge it, and evaluate it. Consequently, being bold ends up being quite deliberate.

Still, Turley wants leaders who can push limits. “Otherwise, we’ll find a machine or an algorithm to do what you do.”



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