It was a muggy Summer evening on a military base in San Antonio, Texas where I gained 100 responsibilities overnight! It was time to check in to ensure everyone was present and accounted for, and to hear any necessary announcements before we turned in for the night. I was assigned to Team 7, and was in the second phase of my training for Security Forces.
There was chatter all around as we lined up waiting for roll call to start. That night I was given the responsibility of being a student leader for our team. At that point in my life, I was never in a leadership role of that magnitude. I've had experience being a supervisor and I've had plenty of experience working with people in various capacities. Of course our training leader and instructors were ultimately responsible for all teams. However, student leaders were assigned to manage specific student responsibilities.
It was my responsibility to ensure that everyone had their needed equipment each day. Everyone needed to have the appropriate amount of supplies. If one person did not have what was needed, the instructors would ask me why that person did not have what they needed. It didn't take me long to prioritize and establish a routine that was in the best interest of the team. That included getting up earlier than we were normally scheduled to get up and delegating task to others to check assigned members.
Establishing trust worked both ways. They needed to trust me, and I needed to learn to trust them as well. I sacrificed participating in some things in order to maintain a level of integrity and the urge to stay true to my role. I learned quickly to be accountable and to be prepared to give an account for everyone. That meant everywhere I went, I had a note pad and pen, ensuring that I could give an accurate report each day.
Lisa Haisha once said " Great leaders don't set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It's never about the role, always about the goal. " Her quote spoke loudly about my intentions as a leader at that time, and my current convictions of leadership. My role as a student leader afforded me the opportunity to learn even more about myself. I sharpened my level of patience and learned to make fair and swift decisions. Even though it was not about the title for me, I was honored to receive the highest level of student leadership at a military training school.
There were so many lessons learned. In no time, I knew each person by name and had an idea of what type person they were and who they normally associated with. I knew who was reliable and who was cruising through. An important piece of leadership is getting to know the team. It's important to know the strengths and weaknesses as a whole. With so many people assigned to the team, it was essential to delegate. I know what is is like to do things on my own to ensure things were done right. However, in this case, I relied on feedback and assistance from specific members on the team.
I found a voice. It soared. I had to stand in front of the team and call everyone to attention and other required commands. I remember being told once that individuals in the back could barely hear me sometimes and commands was echoed by a few people so that those in the back would know what to do. I built the confidence to dig deep and ensured that my voice could be clearly heard without the assistance of those in the middle echoing for me.
Some want to lead for the title. I strived to lead for the impact. I recognized the strength of the team and used individual strength to the team's advantage. Overall we were a proud, responsible team. I'm forever grateful for the experience of 100 responsibilities overnight, for that experience had shift my life forever.