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Booher_040717_BlogWhere does leadership begin? How do leaders engage and influence others? At what point do “the troops” agree to follow the person who’s soliciting their devotion and respect?

This is how Secretary of Defense James Mattis addressed his “troops” in a letter to the Department of Defense on the first Friday he assumed leadership back in mid January: “It’s good to be back and I’m grateful to serve alongside you as Secretary of Defense.”

Eagerness. Humility. Camaraderie.

He continued, “Together with the Intelligence Community we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation… You represent an America committed to the common good; an America that is never complacent about defending its freedoms; and an America that remains a steady beacon of hope for all mankind.”

Community. Common goals. Mission.

There’s more. “Recognizing that no nation is secure without friends, we will work with the State Department to strengthen our alliances. Further, we are devoted to gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people.”

Accountability. Responsibility. Trust.

He concluded, “I am confident you will do your part. I pledge to you I’ll do my best as your Secretary.”

Confidence. Commitment. Hope.

For additional insight on leadership and effective communication, check out these Booher blogs: 6 Ways to Communicate as a Leader, 5 Ways to Increase Your Likeability Factor as a Leader, and Effective Leadership Skills – 5 Reasons Strong Leaders Admit When They’re Wrong.

Oh, and on the next day after the address, his first official day on the job at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Mattis oversaw a total of 31 airstrikes on the Islamic State terrorist group in parts of Iraq and Syria.

A leader also takes control and gets things done.

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