Leadership Lessons from a Green Beret: How to Lead for Success - Interview with Otis McGregor- Grant Writing Simplified Teresa Huff, Episode 117

Leadership Lessons from a Green Beret: How to Lead for Success [Episode 117]

“...You’ve got to do something for yourself each day to refuel yourself so that you can sustain that high level of effort in your life.”

Whether you think of yourself as a leader or not, you are. You impact and influence others whether you realize it or not.

We all feel the heat sometimes in this hectic world. Let’s glean some wisdom from someone who’s been in the trenches – literally. Today’s interview is with a former Green Beret, Otis McGregor, and it’s an honor to have him share his leadership and life lessons with us.

Otis shares about learning how to grow as a leader, eliminating stress in your life, gaining positive structure for your day, and sharing the three aspects of trust that can make a huge difference in your success.

Lessons for Leaders from a Green Beret:

  1. Be clear in communicating to others what needs to be done. Clearly express how to do it, why it’s important, and how it fits into the bigger picture.
  2. When seeking out wisdom about how to grow as a leader, don’t pigeonhole yourself into only learning from people within your line of work. Great leadership skills and techniques can be learned from people in all different fields, implementing their tips and tricks into your wheelhouse.
  3. Accountability partners help keep you on track.
  4. When trying to make a large change, implement smaller increments of change at a time. This makes it easier to achieve the smaller goals. For example, say you want to start getting up early to exercise. When you get up at 6am normally, instead of jumping right to setting that alarm for 4am, start with 5:45am for a week, then 5:30am, and so on. Take smaller steps to make a long lasting, larger change.

Tips to Eliminate Stress and Handle Hard Situations:

First things first, stop and assess the situation. When you realize you’re overwhelmed, slow down, take a breath, and write down all the things that you need to get done. Once you have this list, use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to help you categorize and prioritize.

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix

(Image from https://luxafor.com/the-eisenhower-matrix/)

Another tip to help eliminate stress is to shut off your electronics to avoid distractions, and just write down everything that’s been on your mind. Not with a goal to solve a problem or to create anything, but just to get everything out of your head. This can help us clear our minds and be more relaxed.

We don’t need to be “on” every second. Our culture has trained us to be readily available to respond to the text or email as soon as we hear that chime, to read the latest post on social media as soon as that notification lights up our phone. We aren’t robots, and taking a beat before coming back to our phone can do wonders for our mental health.

Break Your Day Up Into 3 Categories:

  1. Focus: This is a time in your day that is set apart to work on a specific thing or two that you want to handle and you do not allow people or things to sidetrack you. Do whatever you need to do to be unavailable to distractions.
  2. Flex: This is where a lot of us spend most of our time. This is where you’re working on different things for the day and you’re able to bounce around a bit more, allowing for interruptions or breaks.
  3. Personal: This is the category a lot of us let be pushed under the rug when we’re stressed, but taking care of ourselves must be a priority. Have you ever heard the common phrase, “You can’t pour from an empty cup?” We can’t be our best selves when we’re drained. Take a walk, read a book, take a nap, spend time with friends, play an instrument, etc…whatever it is that helps you unwind and feel refreshed.

The Trust Triad

As a leader it’s important to learn the power of the Trust Triad. The Trust Triad consists of three legs of trust:

  • Trust yourself: Believe that the decisions you make, with the time available to you and the information at your disposal, are the best decisions that you can make.
  • Trust your team: Believe they are capable of doing what they are here to do.
  • The team must be able to trust you: They must believe that your decisions have the best interest of the organization in mind. Not yourself, not a specific person, not the money in your pocket, but the organization’s success.

Strive to create strength in whatever area is lacking in the Trust Triad within your organization and see how much stronger you become.

Challenge Question:

What lesson will you begin to implement right now to grow as a leader?

Meet Otis McGregor:

Leadership Expert, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, Project Management Trainer, Rugby Coach, LTC, Special Forces, US Army, Retired. My passion lies in helping people succeed. I’ve used this passion through years in the Army Special Operations, coaching rugby and business. It now drives me to create better leaders. I believe that better leaders create better organizations, better organizations create better communities, and better communities will create a better world.

I worked as a Business Development Manager, Director, and Chief Strategy Officer for several companies. In 2009, I founded LTO Enterprises, LLC to help businesses win government contracts. In 2021, I rebranded LTO to become Tribe + Purpose, aligning with how we operate and our business purpose. We focus on creating better leaders to lead high-performing teams. I am a certified business performance coach and certified project director and trainer through The Institute of Project Management.

I retired from the US Army in 2009 as a Green Beret Lieutenant Colonel following 25 years of service. While in the Army, I had a broad range of experience from being a private driving tanks five years older than me; to an engineer in the Arctic, running heavy equipment in the most extreme arctic conditions; to leading Green Berets on complex and dangerous missions around the world. I also had the unique experience of being part of new organizations and creating these new units into cohesive, effective organizations. This experience ranged from Arctic conditions in Alaska to counter-terrorism units in Iraq and Afghanistan to NATO Special Operations Headquarters.

Being part of these organizations from the ground up has given me immense experience in creating successful organizations. I’ve used those skills and experiences to build successful teams, business units, and companies in the business world. I’ve led capture efforts and proposal development for large and small firms. These efforts have ranged from small task orders to multiple large entity Joint Ventures. In addition to my business development efforts, I ran multi-million-dollar programs for the government spread across the US and overseas.

I possess a BS-Engineering Technology, from Texas A&M University; MA-International Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School; Certified Professional Coach, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC); COR.E Leadership & Performance Dynamics Specialist, IPEC; Certified Project Director and Certified Project Trainer, Institute of Project Management (IPM); USA Rugby Level 300 Coach. I create better leaders, host a podcast, build high-performance teams and wrote the book Enable Your Team’s Success. I live in Colorado with my wife, Suzanne. We have three grown children living in the USA.

Connect with Otis McGregor:

Resources Mentioned:

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