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TCFP071: LEADERSHIP LESSONS WITH FORMER NAVY COMMANDER DENNIS VOLPE

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum with Jeff Hancher! Have you ever wondered how people handle high-pressure situations? Do you wish that you could lead with more confidence, influences, and effectiveness? In this week's episode, Jeff interviews former Naval Commander Dennis Volpe about achieving your goals, resilience, and dealing with failure as a leader.

Know your Mission, and Know your Objective

A lot of your effectiveness as a leader is based on your intent and purpose. Do you know your organization’s mission and objective? In the Navy, we knew our mission and our objective. We focused on making sure our teams knew their roles and responsibilities and were trained to carry out those tasks in light of the mission and objective. When you help everyone understand the reality of what you are facing before you encounter a crisis, they will be more effective! Don’t wait to cast vision until you are in crisis.

Q: What is your company’s mission statement? Have you ever worked for a company where you did not know the mission? How did this impact your effectiveness? Does understanding the mission impact how you view your responsibilities? Why or why not?

“When your commitment to your mission is greater than your commitment to your personal comfort, you won’t be rattled by high-pressure situations.”

How would you define resilience?

I define resilience as the ability to adapt to change, adversity, or hardship and lean into it. It’s not just about bouncing back. It’s about bouncing back and moving in a positive direction. You have to be resilient so that you can get things done and positively impact your surroundings and community. Resilience is about talking about what you have left, not what was taken from you.

Q: Would you add anything to Dennis’s definition of resilience? Describe a time when you showed resilience in a work environment. What helped you be resilient? How did your leader help you in that situation?

How did you process your demotion and exit from the navy?

In some ways, I’m still processing it. Through signing up for a triathlon I learned that self-awareness is important, but self-management is also important. You have to know who you are and manage your commitments and your purpose.

Q: Describe a time when you faced failure or disappointment. How did you grow through that situation?

Vulnerability and Leaderships

Even though I was focused on the personal and professional development of my sailors, I think if I was more vulnerable, it would have deepened the relationship. Understanding your why will help you. If your organization is all about you, people will not trust you. You have to make it so that people want to do things. They want to be a part of the vision.

Q: Have you ever worked for a vulnerable leader? How did that affect how you viewed them? How did it affect how you viewed your work? Is there such thing as too much vulnerability? Why or why not?

Application Activities:

  1. Do you know your organization’s mission and objectives? Take some time to think strategically about your key players. Write down their individual responsibilities and ask yourself how they directly connect with the mission and purpose you are working toward. If your employees are doing something that is not tied to the mission, change it! Likewise, test your employees to see if they understand how their tasks relate to the big picture. Remember that people who understand the mission will work harder and more effectively than those who do not.

  2. On a scale of 1-10 how resilient do you think you are? If you are not sure, think about how you responded the last time you were faced with an unexpected change. Is there anything you wish you would have done differently? If you are not very resilient, challenge yourself to think back to the “why” behind every decision that is made and ask for clarity if you are having trouble understanding the “why.”

  3. What role does vulnerability play in your leadership style? Consider how vulnerable you are with your team members. Do you think that your vulnerability makes you more approachable or less approachable? Write down a list of topics and situations that you are willing to be vulnerable about as well as a list of topics that you are not. It is okay to set boundaries as a leader, but if you refuse to be vulnerable at all, you will lose the trust of your team members.

Resources Referenced

Give and Take by Adam Grant

Connect with Jeff

Instagram: @thechampionforum

Facebook: The Champion Forum with Jeff Hancher

Email: jeffhancher@thechampionforum.com

Connect with Dennis Volpe

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/djvolpe/

Email: dennis.volpe@lri.com

By Phone: 904-861-9155

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