We can’t turn on the TV anymore without being subjected to leadership gone astray at the highest levels. I’ve been fortunate during my life. My bosses have been pretty good to excellent. That was especially significant during my four years as a naval officer. Poor judgment in the military can have especially serious consequences.
Leadership is among the most consequential skills we need. I’ve never understood why it doesn’t show up among the subjects discussed in schools. I became fascinated by it at an early age. Back in the 1980s, the Customs Service moved me from Pembina, ND, to Chicago. My boss there, Jack Kraus, who remains a friend so many years later, assigned me to do leadership seminars for newly promoted people moving into management positions. It was an enjoyable assignment. Thirteen years later, when I retired, I was still at it.
Jack and I decided in the beginning that a good first step would be to create something that could serve as a guide. Today, a framed reproduction of the guide hangs on the wall in my office.
PHILOSOPHY OF THE CUSTOMS MANAGER
---To accept willingly the responsibilities of leadership.
---To lead by encouragement and example.
---To discharge my duties faithfully, and to accept accountability
for my actions, and those of my subordinates.
---To create a climate which encourages employees to excel.
---To induce employees to take pride in their work.
---To do the right thing, regardless of consequences.
---To recognize that managers are only as good as their subordinates.