In his new and highly recommended book, It Worked For Me, In Life and Leadership, Colin Powell writes about the importance of having what he describes as ground truth.
Powell writes, “…surround yourself with sergeants-that is, people with ground truth experience whose thinking is not contaminated with grand theories.” This is excellent leadership advice for the leader just starting out or as a reminder to the seasoned leader in need of a refresher.
The “sergeants”, the bearers of the ground truth on your front lines are some of the most valuable people on your team. They are the ones by which potential clients form their first impressions of your company and what they can expect in terms of any relationship going forward.
The sergeants in your organization are also the ones who will tell it to you like it is and give you the unvarnished truth as you need it delivered. A wise leader is one who knows his or her sergeants well and places a high degree of confidence in them. In the marketplace today you need people with ground truth experience who can help you.
John Maxwell said, “Few people increase the credibility of leaders more than adding value to people around them.” And that is what people with ground experience do – add value. Ground truth in leadership matters because those with it are invaluable to your organization.
© 2012 Doug Dickerson
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