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The Leadership Experience (with InfoTrac) 4th Edition


Author: Richard L. Daft

Publisher: South-Western College Pub


Publish Date: July 17, 2007

ISBN-10: 324539681

Pages: 528

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

What Does It Mean to Be a Leader?

At 694 feet long, 105 feet wide, 13 stories tall, and 25,000 tons, the USS San Antonio is breathtaking—and a bit intimidating. But not to Commander Brad Lee, the 40-year-old Navy offi cer who recently took command of the ship. As commander of one of the most technologically advanced amphibious assault vessels ever built, Lee is responsible for up to 400 sailors, twice that many Marines, numerous aircraft, fi ghting vehicles, smaller vessels, and tactical support for a Marine AirGround Task Force. Lee admits that it’s not exactly comfortable being in charge of a ship the size of the USS San Antonio, simply due to the enormity of having so many people’s lives in your hands. Yet he is confi dent in himself—and, more signifi cantly, in his crew. “Every sailor is important,” Lee tells his crew members, stressing that success is never a one-man mission. “Each [person] brings a certain perspective to the table. So, it’s not about me. It’s about the ship and the success of our mission.”

Lee joined the Navy as a way to make a difference in the world after seeing an article in Ebony magazine that featured Admiral Anthony Watson, an African-American Naval offi cer who grew up in a rough Chicago housing development. Although Lee originally didn’t think of the Navy as a lifetime career, his fi rst four-year stint showed him that he had “a real opportunity, and more importantly, the ability, to make a difference in the lives of sailors.” It was the desire to help other sailors, rather than personal ambition, which spurred Lee to seek increasing levels of leadership responsibility.

By the time he took command of the USS San Antonio, Lee had served 18 years in the Navy and earned numerous awards and medals. More important to him, though, is earning the respect and commitment of his crew. As Anthony Ray Cade, Senior Chief of Information Technology serving on the ship, said, “The best part of what I do every day is working for a guy like that.”1

What does it mean to be a leader? For Commander Brad Lee, it means striving to make a difference in the lives of others and the world. It means believing in yourself and those you work with, loving what you do and infusing others with energy and enthusiasm. You probably have never heard of Commander Brad Lee. His face isn’t splashed on the covers of magazines. His adventures and accomplishments aren’t featured on the national news. Yet leaders like Brad Lee are making a difference every day, not just in the military, but in businesses and nonprofi t organizations, educational systems and governmental agencies, sports teams and volunteer groups, huge cities and small rural communities.

When most people think of leaders, they recall great historical fi gures such as Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon, and Alexander the Great, or think of “big names” in the news, such as former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who still commands a spotlight nearly fi ve years after his retirement. Yet there are leaders working in every organization, large and small. In fact, leadership is all around us every day, in all facets of our lives—our families, schools, communities, churches, social clubs, and volunteer organizations, as well as in the world of business, sports, and the military. The qualities that make Commander Brad Lee a good leader can be effective whether one is leading a military unit, a basketball team, a business, or a family.

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