a team looking at a notebook together with one of them writing notes

You need at least one follower, to be a leader.

Who was the  one individual you led who had the most impact on your leadership?

How did that individual make you a better leader? Analyzing how those you impacted your leadership is the purpose of this lesson. We will take the time to look at each stop on your journey and think about at least one subordinate who helped you as a leader.


Look at each stop on your journey and conduct a mental survey of those you led. Pick one who made an impact on you. Write what that impact was.

Some thoughts to consider from my experiences.

In my first positions as a 1st Lieutenant in the Marine Corps I had a Marine Staff Non-Commissioned Officer who made it his mission to help me grow. Though, I did not know that at the time, he had a significant impact.

I learned the value of technical expertise and training others senior to me.

Later in my career I was moved to lead a department of over 100 Marines in the maintenance department of an aviation squadron. This time I was smart enough to ask those experienced Marines for their assistance.

I learned to be comfortable not knowing all the answers, even though I was in charge. I also learned how to delegate and ask a lot of questions and still be accountable for the performance of the entire operation.

Same position different example. I had an individual who refused to comply with norms of the organization. I always felt I would be able to make a difference and get this individual to “get on board”. In the end, he never did, resulting in significant harm to the organization.

I learned not everyone wants what I want or wants to be led by me. I became more realistic and objective with what I was able to accomplish. I learned the lesson of holding individuals to the standards of the organization. If they don’t comply move them along. Creating exceptions is harmful to your credibility and the organization’s performance.

The goal of sharing my examples was to jog your memory of the impact individuals had on your leadership.  Your turn, what impact did those you lead have on your leadership?