Never Leave A Buddy Behind

Unique Leadership Axiom: If You Leave A Buddy Behind, You Are The Enemy!

Children are self-centered survivalists. When they are choosing up sides for a sandlot football or baseball game they try to leave behind the ones who are least likely to contribute to a win. This crushes the moral of the kid who is the last one picked to play.

Winning Military teams don’t leave a team member behind under any circumstance. A military team that neglects a team member is not a winning military team. It is a group self-centered, childish losers, about to be extinct members of a fatally flawed mob.

A team is defined as a cooperatively functioning group; a number of people organized to function cooperatively as a group. A military team has a tighter definition: a group of people, each of whom is vital to the success of the mission and the survival of the team and its members. In a military environment resources are precious and extremely limited. There are no surplus team members. There is no room for freeloaders or excess baggage.

How does this kind of team function? It functions with an internal shared belief.  Not just by the tag line of the “Three Musketeers One for all and all for one”.

The members gladly serve the team; the service teaches them that each of them is inseparable from the team. They don’t quit nor do they let any other member quit. They become a team through the practice of the mission. Members of the team are systemically inseparable. Dead or alive, no member of the team is ever left behind.

If you have never been a member of this kind of team you may wonder; what are the principles that the military uses to dictate this kind of evolution.  In general terms the principles are: unit moral and unit vulnerability.

These are not kid games. If any member of the team fails to believe that he and the others are one, then he has turned team moral into a weak link; a weakness that will lead to failure and death.

If a team member becomes a casualty and is left behind the enemy has vital information that gives him what may become the margin of victory.

Leadership Focus: Whether you will eventually leave a buddy behind, or be deserted by him, depends on

  • How you choose your mission
  • How strongly the team members are invested in the mission
  • How strongly you invest yourself in the mission,  and
  • How ethical are the practices of the team leader.

My Take: To be the member of a powerful winning team, you or I or any other individual must value the objective of the team above our own ego. No dancing in the end zone, just for having done your job.



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