A Navy SEAL’s Perspective On The Economic Impact of Leadership — Forbes

I cover leadership and marketing for entrepreneurs.

I am by no means perfect and have learned many hard leadership lessons over the years. I have learned many of those lessons as a Navy SEAL in combat and even more over the past ten years helping run our digital marketing agency. One of the most impactful things I have learned is that a leader’s behavior has a direct economic impact on the organizations they run.

As a leader, continually developing our emotional intelligence is critical to moving people in a desired direction and taking collective action towards achieving common goals. A few months ago I wrote an article about the aspects of emotional intelligence required for effective leadership. Now I would like to expand on this subject and talk more specifically about how our behavior as leaders impacts the ultimate success of our organizations.

Here are eight ways that a leader’s behavior impacts the bottom line.

Calm is contagious. As is panic. Staying calm under pressure is an absolute requirement for effective leadership. The team responds to the behavior of its leadership. If managers and leaders fold under pressure so will everyone else. If you can’t stay calm, you won’t think or communicate clearly. Panic leads to misinformation, reactive behavior and poor decision-making which has a direct impact on efficiency and profitability. When we stay calm, we can project confidence and make the necessary adjustments with the best information at hand.

Integrity as a guiding principle. It’s quite common to see integrity as a core value or guiding principle for an organization. Living it every day is a different story and requires constant self-reflection. Integrity won’t exist in any organization or team unless it is blatantly and consistently practiced at the top. Every transaction, decision, strategy and communication must be laced with integrity in order for it to become a cultural foundation. When a leader does not act with integrity, neither will the team, which puts the company at financial risk.

Consistency is key. This may be one of the toughest aspects of leadership. Everything we do is under the close watchful eye of our teams. Communication must be consistent. We have to follow the policies we put in place more closely than anyone. If we run around acting like we have multiple personality disorder, the entire structure of the organization becomes fragile which inhibits forward progress.

Trust is a must. Studies show that productivity, income and profits are directly negatively or positively impacted dependent on the levels of trust within a company. Studies also show that only 49% of employees feel that senior management have their best interests in mind and only 28% believe that CEOs are a credible source of information. When trust is low, it places a hidden tax on every transaction, communication and decision bringing speed down and costs up. By contract, high-trust organization operate on a dividend. A performance multiplier that increases speed and decreases cost.

Empathy shows compassion. As leaders, we have to learn to control our emotions but also have a balance of compassion for people at all levels. This goes back to having good emotional intelligence and showing our human side every now and then. It’s a delicate balance. Emotional competencies are not innate talents but rather learned capabilities that must be developed and practiced to achieve higher levels of performance. When the team feels protected, they will be more connected which leads to greater self-discipline, collaboration, insight and collective action toward common goals.

Be the example. Don’t just lead by example, be the example. Inside and outside of the office. Great leaders live the vision and values of the company on a daily basis.

Protect the team. A great general once said, “You cannot manage people into combat, they must be led.” Sometimes our teams need more leadership than management. It’s our responsibility to make the team feel safe and supported, stay calm under pressure, provide resources and remove obstacles. When the team feels protected, they will stay calm and focused on the mission.

Communication is like oxygen. Like Navy SEALs, any high performance team must have exemplary communication to be successful. Good communication is the cornerstone for any relationship to flourish, overcome adversity and ultimately to survive long-term. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. Redundancy is imperative. When an organization’s internal communications are poor, it erodes trust which impacts performance.

As leaders, we make a conscious decision to lead well or not. To pursue perfection or not. To always be improving or not. Our behavior does impact our companies’ bottom line. It’s up to us whether that impact is positive or negative.

Follow Brent Gleeson on Twitter at @BrentGleeson or view his website at www.brentgleesonspeaker.com.

KimA Navy SEAL’s Perspective On The Economic Impact of Leadership — Forbes
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9/11 — Never Forget!

 

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We pause today to reflect on the significance of this important anniversary, and we recognize the strength and resiliency of the 9/11 families. Today is their day and we will never forget.

The NSW community has been in the fight from the beginning and we expect it will be fore some time. In this spirit, we exist to support the NSW Family’s needs and we are staged to meet their future needs.

Let’s be ready and God bless the families of 9/11 today.

Kim9/11 — Never Forget!
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Kristen & Megan in NYC to Support the SEAL-NSW Family Foundation, Promote September 10 Event

Megan and Kristen appeared on Wall Street Journal TV and CNBC’s Squawk Box this week to discuss what the SEAL-NSW Family Foundation does the SEAL children and families. The Foundation will hold its first New York City gala dinner and fundraiser on September 10 at Pier Sixty.

Here are the links to the stories:

CNBC — HERE

WSJ TV — HERE

KimKristen & Megan in NYC to Support the SEAL-NSW Family Foundation, Promote September 10 Event
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Children in Military Families More Likely to Have Problems, Says New Study

Children in Military Families More Likely to Have Problems…

 Researchers have found some children from military families have a higher likelihood of substance abuse, violence, and weapon-carrying.
Military Families

As a clinical psychologist, Ingrid Herrera-Yee is surprised by the findings.

As a mother of three, whose husband has served 14 years in the military, she’s also saddened.

According to an article published today by JAMA Pediatrics, children with parents or caregivers currently serving in the military have a higher prevalence of substance use, violence, harassment, and weapon-carrying than their nonmilitary peers.

military children

While most young people whose families are connected to the military demonstrate resilience, war-related stress inducers can contribute to struggles for many of the children, according to researchers.

Those stressors include separation from parents due to deployment, frequent relocation, and the worry about future deployments.

Study Looked at California Children

In the study, researchers looked at data collected in 2013 from secondary schools from every county and almost all school districts in California.

Kathrine Sullivan, M.S.W., of the University of Southern California School of Social Work, Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed the data that included 54,679 military-connected and 634,034 nonmilitary-connected secondary school students from public schools.

Students defined as military-connected had a parent or caregiver currently serving in the military. Latino students were the largest percentage of the sample at 51 percent. Overall, almost 8 percent of children reported they had a parent in the military.

Researchers said military-connected students reported higher levels of substance use as well as violence, harassment, and weapon-carrying compared with nonmilitary-connected students.

For example: 45 percent of military-connected youth reported lifetime alcohol use compared with 39 percent of their nonmilitary-connected peers.

Slightly more than 62 percent of military-connected students reported physical violence compared with 51 percent of nonmilitary students.

Results Described as ‘Disturbing’

“There’s not enough research on military kids overall, particularly among those with parents who’ve been deployed,” said Herrera-Yee, who is also a military spouse advisor for the military family advisory network in Arlington, Virginia.

She’s worked with military families for more than a decade.

“It looks like this particular study is finding some issues around alcohol use — which I’ve not seen before — and smoking, violence, and carrying a weapon at school. It’s so very disturbing but very important work,” she said.

More Research, Assistance Needed

More initiatives within social contexts, including civilian schools and communities, to support military families during times of war are likely required, according to researchers.

Herrera-Yee said while the study makes it sound like kids who are struggling “are struggling in significant ways,” it’s key to remember the findings are based on a specific sample in one state.

These studies help shine a light on what might be going on with our military kids.
Ingrid Herrera-Yee, clinical psychologist and military spouse advisor

“[Still], these studies help shine a light on what might be going on with our military kids,” said Herrera-Yee, whose husband has served in the Army and the National Guard.

Herrera-Yee said her children, ages 5, 9, and 14, have handled aspects of military life relatively well, although her oldest seemed somewhat down when her husband, Ian, was deployed.

“But we were lucky because we were in a military-affiliated school. All the kids were aware of deployment and what it’s like,” she said.

One thing that helped her son was his participation in a lunchtime group at school. There, students talked to each other about missing their parent.

“It helped him get through the deployment and served as a buffer. He got better,” Herrera-Yee said.

How to Overcome the Problems

How do military parents overcome the issues raised in the study?

It’s not easy on the parent left behind, said Herrera-Yee.

“That spouse has to be present, but it’s difficult because, as the remaining spouse, you’re having a hard time, too,” she said.

Nevertheless, it’s important “to hold it together, for your kids’ sake,” she emphasized. “Make sure they have a strong social support network which, as the adult, you need as well.”

She also suggested keeping in touch with everyone involved in your children’s lives.

“The more support a child gets, the less likely they are to use some of these more negative ways of coping,” she said.

Some Limitations on Data

The authors noted the data they were using was cross sectional and therefore causation cannot be established.

Herrera-Yee expanded, saying the researchers basically used a “convenience sample,” which is not representative enough of the total population.

The children also were from civilian, rather than Department of Defense schools, where different factors could be at play. Furthermore, only 8 percent were military affiliated children, which is a small percentage, Herrera-Yee added.

This shows that more work needs to be done and we need to advocate for more help for our kids.
Ingrid Herrera-Yee, clinical psychologist and military spouse advisor

“So there are problems, some weaknesses with that, but it’s still important information to have,” she said.

Whatever the case, Herrera-Yee said, she’s “hoping [the findings are] some sort of anomaly.”

“But even if they’re not,” she added, “this shows that more work needs to be done and we need to advocate for more help for our kids. Only then can we learn how to moderate the effects of over 14 years of war on our children.”

KimChildren in Military Families More Likely to Have Problems, Says New Study
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RAND Report – How the Pentagon Can Better Serve Military Families

“This article highlights the importance of supporting military families. We work to ensure that we compliment all that DOD offers the families. The need to support families is not decreasing and we want to stay on the forefront of being there for them.”

Marissa A. Cruz

 

By  on August 4, 2015
The Department of Defense needs a standard definition of military family resilience in order to build and sustain programs to support families enduring tough times.

Recently there has been an increased recognition of the importance of family resilience, particularly in support of military children, yet there is no Department of Defense-wide definition of family resilience. Military families face a number of unique challenges, from deployments to frequent moves and separations, on top of the regular stresses of civilian life. While many families successfully navigate these challenges, their success doesn’t negate the need for a common approach to supporting family resilience. Without a comprehensive, uniform definition, it is challenging to make measurable progress and provide assistance to those families that may be having a more difficult time.

The Pentagon recognizes this, as well as the fact that in order to have a truly robust family resilience program, there needs to be a common definition as a starting point. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury asked RAND Corporation to review studies on family resilience, summarize the literature, and develop a definition that could apply across DoD.

RAND is no stranger to research on military families. The research center has dedicated studies to exploring topics such as the need for military-sponsored child care and the role of military spouses. These are are certainly worthy of their own study, but until a report released in July, the family as a unit had been not analyzed in depth. The focus was instead on individual members and how service and all its associated factors impacted caregivers, spouses, and children. Taking a more holistic approach and looking at how the entire family operates and bounces back from stressors offers valuable insight to the already-existing studies.

Soldiers with the 3/49 Agribusiness Development Team, South Carolina National Guard, embrace family members after the unit's departure ceremony at McCrady Training Center, S.C., Jan. 10, 2013. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jorge Intriago
Soldiers with the 3/49 Agribusiness Development Team, South Carolina National Guard, embrace family members after the unit’s departure ceremony at McCrady Training Center, S.C., Jan. 10, 2013.

RAND researchers began reviewing literature on family resilience in early 2015, at which point they encountered 26 DoD policies related to family resilience. They also focused on how family resilience is commonly defined and what policies to promote family resilience currently exist. As expected, there was no common answer to either question. The report, released July 10 to the RAND website, includes a thorough analysis of existing family resilience content.

Researchers found that definitions of family resilience vary across the services, and there is no officially recognized DoD-wide definition. That there is no standardization in approach or definition makes it incredibly difficult to address this issue. It becomes nearly impossible to accurately measure progress, let alone establish concrete goals, without a common starting point.

 

On the more positive side, the researchers identified several common family resilience factors — resources that families use to cope with stress — in their research on family resilience models. They were grouped into helpful domains, including family belief system, family organizational patterns, family support system, family communication/problem-sharing, and physical and psychological health of individual family members.

These factors were noted to have helped civilian families cope with issues such as financial distress, divorce, chronic physical and psychiatric illness, drug addiction or abuse, and exposure to trauma and natural disasters. It should come as no surprise that military families face all of these problems and often simultaneously. Although the types (and, possibly, amount) of stress that military families face may differ from those civilians face, the resources needed to combat them do not.

The RAND report presents six recommendations to help guide the development of comprehensive family resilience programming.

  1. DoD should designate a governing or oversight body to manage the overall family-resilience enterprise, including definitions, metrics, policies, and programs.
  2. The family-resilience enterprise organization should adopt an official DoD definition and model of family resilience.
  3. The family-resilience enterprise organization should have a “road map” that follows established programs, policies, and definitions, ensuring that all stakeholders know their role and how they contribute to the success of the overall family-resilience enterprise.
  4. The family-resilience enterprise organization should encourage a culture of continuous quality improvement across DoD and within family-resilience programs.
  5. DoD should develop a system of coordination between programs to avoid redundancy and to encourage continuous quality improvement .
  6. The broader research community should identify what aspects of family resilience matter most for best practices in military family-resilience programs.

The recommendation pertaining to a culture of continuous quality improvement is especially encouraging. This recommendation recognizes that the establishment of a family-resilience enterprise will be an ongoing process that will need tweaks and adjustments in order to achieve the best results for service members and their families.

Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison paints pottery with Lillian Johnson, 20th Reconnaissance Squadron sensor operator, during a Hearts Apart event at the Chartreuse Moose in Warrensburg, Mo., June 17, 2013. Photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Wilson
Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison paints pottery with Lillian Johnson, 20th Reconnaissance Squadron sensor operator, during a Hearts Apart event at the Chartreuse Moose in Warrensburg, Mo., June 17, 2013.

From a leadership perspective, what is especially useful from RAND’s research on family resilience is the implication for retention. That military families face high stress in not the issue, but without a clear understanding and resulting support, we cannot expect to retain our service members. Facing back-to-back deployments and constant moves is one thing, but to do so without resources or support leaves little incentive for our service members to reenlist.

It’s not clear what Pentagon leadership will do with the findings and recommendations from the RAND report. However, the fact that the department is dedicating resources to investigating this issue is meaningful. Reinvigorating the conversation is helpful in getting people to consider the important issue of supporting not just our service members, but the families who support them every day.

Beyond the recommendations, it’s also important to emphasize that words truly matter. The RAND report notes that by first defining the concept of family resilience, DoD can better develop programs to support it and help military families best adapt to the challenges of military life. Basically, you can’t follow through and fully build and support something without having a clear definition of what that thing is.

To that end, RAND proposed the following definition of family resilience: “the ability of a family to respond positively to an adverse situation and emerge from the situation feeling strengthened, more resourceful, and more confident than its prior state.” Simple and clear. I can’t think of any better marching orders for this type of programming.

nswffRAND Report – How the Pentagon Can Better Serve Military Families
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