JLBC Leadership

JLBC Leadership presence is the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others, to motivate and inspire them toward the desired outcome. An officer can incorporate such a presence in their daily routine is to practicing what Tom Peters calls “management by wandering around” (MBWA). Management by wandering around involves “making the rounds” to improve connectivity and communication in the organization. The leader sees for him or herself what is happening throughout the organization and, in the process, gets first-hand information from informal channels, has an opportunity to share their vision and communicate their perspective, and can forge a bond with subordinates. The subordinates get access to the leader and can directly voice their concerns, ask questions about rumors, and make suggestions.

Commanders practice a form of MBWA within the military through “battlefield circulation.” While the staff controls the battle from the headquarters, the commander travels throughout the battlespace to gather information and form their conclusions. The commander meets with subordinates, checks on the progress of actions and orders, and gets a perspective that cannot be obtained from a remote location. Otherwise, Lieutenant General E. M. Flanagan cautions how a leader “can know and properly lead and be responsible for his outfit from the desk in his office escapes me.

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