In an interview with EntreLeadership, Senior Fellow and distinguished retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General, George Flynn, gives invaluable advice on what it means for “leaders to eat last.”  LtGen Flynn has served in the highest levels of leadership in the military, and has decades of experience leading Marines on the ground. In “Developing Trust with Your Team,” he discusses being adjustable across environments, trust, taking risks, mistakes, integrity and being a role model.

Communication is the theme throughout, “the key thing for people to understand is the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of what you’re going for”, Flynn says. This is not unique to military leadership where ranks mandate command and subordinates have to follow you, but is effective to facilitate working relations in all organizations. Here he says, “Resources and authority are the only things needed to lead with a task, but actual leadership is hard because it’s about building relationships with people to get them to do things they normally wouldn’t want to do, and leaders have to build those relationships.” Ideally a leader gets a point where he or she doesn’t have to check behind them after they tell those they’re leading to “follow me.”

Listen to LtGen Flynn’s full talk on developing trust here.

Currently LtGen Flynn is the Director of the Center of Adaptation and Innovation (CAI) at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. The Center was established to assist senior defense leaders grappling with the most demanding issues and problems posed by a complex and uncertain security environment. 


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