Leadership Development is not “Drop and give me 20”

By Willie Snellings


Every organization hand picks and selects individuals for a level of skill sets. However, only a "select few" are viewed outside that skill-set to excel. 

Would you be surprised to know that this "selection" is in everyone? However, people often wonder where leadership development comes from or how to bring it to the surface. 

Very simple...there are three DNA strands that sets the bar to solid professionalism and leadership.  Those leadership traits are 1) Formal Training, 2) Mentors/Supervisors and 3) your own experience.   Let’s discuss each one:

FORMAL TRAINING - This is your foundation.  This may set the bar to many levels of traits.  Formal training could include:

  • High School graduation
  • College Graduation
  • Armed Forces Training (Boot Camp)
  • Specialized Technical Certifications          

In other words, a document that has your name written in "bold print" in the “Old English" font.  Any type level of "completion" which elevates you to a certain group of trust.

MENTORS & SUPERVISORS - These individuals provide the mindset and the attitude modeling needed to accomplish and make decisions. 

  • Mentors are individuals who have personal contact or connection in direction and guidance.
  • Supervisors are in a leadership capacity in a particular craft or technical field who provides clear direction and guidance.

If you noticed, I didn’t say "positive" direction and guidance for either.  Mentors and Supervisors will provide two things: "what to do" and "what not to do."  Either way... You should gain understanding to assist in future decisions.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE - There is no avoiding the following:

  • Your own victories
  • Your own defeats
  • Your own strengths
  • Your own weaknesses

As long as you breathe, these experiences will happen.  All of them are equally important.  It’s just as important to maintain your strengths, as it is to recognize and improve upon your weaknesses.  In addition, YOU MUST AT ALL TIMES document what went right in your victories, as it is to document and take ownership of what went wrong in your defeats.

Once you get all of these strands together within a skill-set, you qualify to: 

  • Become a solid professional
  • Perform well in your craft
  • Have a voice
  • Make a difference

Professionalism - Apply it!!  It is a continuous work in progress:

  • Train as a team (“we”, not “me” concept)
  • Make concise & timely decisions
  • Seek responsibilities
  • Be accountable for your actions
  • Reasons vs Excuses; knowing the difference
  • Pride of being technically & tactically proficient
  • Know yourself and seek self-improvement

To evolve into an effective leader, you should at all times:

  • Set the example (people are watching)
  • Keep your team informed (communicate, communicate, communicate)
  • Employ your team in accordance with its strengths & capabilities
  • Know your team and look out for their welfare
  • Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished

Check-6 sharpens the team already assembled.  We instill a culture through attentive coaching that unleashes the power of leadership in individuals.

not leadership development

Professionalism does not “get in your face”

Leadership Development question:     

“There are three types of people in the world; those who make it happen, those who only watch it happen and those who wonder what happened.”  Which one are you?

Professional quote:

"Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve!” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 Willie "Black Lion" Snellings, Check-6's HSE Manager, is an Afghanistan Combat Veteran and retired Master Sergeant.  During his tenure in the Marines, he conducted background checks and investigations for all levels of security clearances for the Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons.  He later became the Security Inspector and Senior Advisor directly to the Comanding General, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, New Orleans, LA.  He is currently Check-6's HSE Manager and received certification as Safety Manager (CSM) from the National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP).