Many moons ago I had the privilege of serving with the Australian Army. I loved every minute of the experience and loved going to work every day. I left because I knew that long term it would not challenge me and I wanted to go to University. At the time I assumed I would get the same energy when I found my first job after University.
What I loved about the army was the sense of teamwork, comradery, intensity, commitment, honesty, learning/training and relationships. All the things dearest to my heart.
When I started in my professional career I felt disconnected and lost. I blamed the environment, that people were motivated by self-interest, that leaders were poor, or that it was a bad culture. I became fascinated with culture wanting to re-create what I felt with my mates in the Army. I kept searching and kept being frustrated.
I now realise the problem wasn’t the environment I was working in but rather the problem was me. At the end of the day I was not committed enough nor did I have a strong enough sense of purpose to change the environment to what I knew would work. I waited for permission or complained. I judged others rather than taking responsibility myself.
Leadership is about being committed and having a sense of purpose. It’s understanding the environment you want to create, and having a tough line on those who don’t want to go the journey with you. It’s accepting that it’s my job to create the culture I want through commitment, persistence, consistency and courage. Playing victim or waiting for permission helps no one.