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Thread: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

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    Default Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    The Doc Fogelsong thread and the “I’d have a beer with him” thread got me thinking about the following question:

    Is it better for a leader to be feared or loved?

    Machiavelli once said, “It may be answered that one should wish to be both,” he acknowledged, “but because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved.”

    Many posters in this forum seem to value competence in their particular skill set above all other leadership traits. While I agree that being competent in your primary skill set is the foundation to being a good leader, it doesn’t stop there.
    Establishing warmth or charisma is part of it too but it goes beyond that.

    In a crisis I want a leader I can trust!

    I’ll tolerate a lot of uncertainty and hardship if I feel my bosses have my back. If they are clear headed, calm and courageous I will follow them to hell and back.

    I don’t want a leader who is panicky every time their boss comes around and I don’t want them obsessing over raking leaves or painting lamp posts.

    If Doc Fogelsong wanted to set a high standard for the appearance of the bases under his command then I think he could have figured out a way to do that without losing his credibility.

    Why did he lose his credibility?

    I can’t say that I know the answer to that but I think it was that he created fear for dumb reasons to the point of losing trust and respect. Fear probably is a valid leadership tool in some situations but it shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox.

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    He wasn't feared, he was hated. A bully who hid behind his rank.
    Newton's First Law of Motion

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    They should use Doc as a leadership case study example of how not to be. The guy was despised not only by the troops, but I'm willing to bet by his own GO peers too. There're a lot of people who would love to punch him in the mouth.

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    A leader should be respected, to the point of not wanting to disappoint him/her.

    WRT Machiavelli, I only have a couple of CCAFs so please give me a couple days to watch some YouTube videos and check wikipedia on said subject before I can comment more.
    "Never force a fart in Djibouti"..."Always marry your second wife first"..."If anyone says that you're not a team player, maybe they're on the wrong team"..."You can gold plate a turd and it's still a turd"

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Happy View Post
    but I'm willing to bet by his own GO peers too. There're a lot of people who would love to punch him in the mouth.
    How in the hell did he make 4 stars then? He must have polished some good knobs.

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    Quote Originally Posted by CJSmith View Post
    How in the hell did he make 4 stars then? He must have polished some good knobs.
    He filled the right squares and knew who to suck up to.

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    I've always wondered who his benefactor was that allowed him to rise to level that he did. I lived through his wing command at Osan as a Col and he was a piece of work back then. Years later, when I found out was was coming to USAFE as a 4 star, I couldn't believe it. He had commanders all the way down to the squadron level shaking and quaking in their boots that they would be fired for some ridiculous "infraction" of Doc's standards. I went back to USAFE after his reign of terror and life was sooo much better. Amazing how one guy can destroy the morale of thousands...

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_KO View Post
    A leader should be respected, to the point of not wanting to disappoint him/her.
    This is the best thing I have ever seen posted here. The aspect of not wanting to disappoint a leader or supervisor was a powerful motivator for me. The vast majority of my supervisors were of the type I never wanted to disappoint. I'd have rather been physically clobbered than hear any of those supervisors/leaders tell me they were disappointed. And as a leader/supervisor, when one of my troops screwed up, meaning they did or didn't do something they were smart enough to do or not do, I never yelled at them. I just told them how disappointed I was.

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    Quote Originally Posted by OtisRNeedleman View Post
    This is the best thing I have ever seen posted here. The aspect of not wanting to disappoint a leader or supervisor was a powerful motivator for me. The vast majority of my supervisors were of the type I never wanted to disappoint. I'd have rather been physically clobbered than hear any of those supervisors/leaders tell me they were disappointed. And as a leader/supervisor, when one of my troops screwed up, meaning they did or didn't do something they were smart enough to do or not do, I never yelled at them. I just told them how disappointed I was.
    Even worse is when they say nothing at all and just look at you in a way that says they are disappointed.

    I agree that a hallmark of a great leader is that their troops never want to let them down, not out of fear but out of dedication.

    What type of traits in a leader build that kind of following?

    I want to see competence and fairness first. If I see that much, I’ll trust them even when I don’t agree with them on an issue.

    As for Doc Fogelsong , well, I think he eclipsed himself with over a dozen “Combat” programs that focused on weeds and making sure window shades were raised or lowered in an orderly fashion.

    For a MAJCOM CC it is hard for the troops to see an actual person behind all those programs, even with him popping out behind them on a myriad of AFN commercials. Yes, he certainly created a persona and it was one that didn’t go over very well.

    Someone mentioned using Doc as a case study in leadership, I agree, he is an excellent person to study.

    I’ve only been a leader in the enlisted ranks and I’m sure that being a MAJCOM CC is a whole other animal, despite the fundamentals of leadership being the same. From a PR perspective, all those AFN commercials failed in their purpose.

    One of the things that always frustrated me about general officers was the swarm of colonels below them who were constantly evoking the general’s name to motivate people.

    How about we clean up our facility because it is the right thing to do? Not because, “they general won’t like that!”

    The idea behind Combat Proud wasn’t all that bad if you ask me. It certainly did spin out of control on many levels.

    Why?

    Was it a failing of fundamental leadership principals not only on Doc’s part, but also on the part of his wing-level and squadron-level CCs?
    Last edited by Absinthe Anecdote; 07-29-2013 at 04:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Machiavellianism and Doc Fogelsong

    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    Even worse is when they say nothing at all and just look at you in a way that says they are disappointed.

    I agree that a hallmark of a great leader is that their troops never want to let them down, not out of fear but out of dedication.

    What type of traits in a leader build that kind of following?

    I want to see competence and fairness first. If I see that much, I’ll trust them even when I don’t agree with them on an issue.

    As for Doc Fogelsong , well, I think he eclipsed himself with over a dozen “Combat” programs that focused on weeds and making sure window shades were raised or lowered in an orderly fashion.

    For a MAJCOM CC it is hard for the troops to see an actual person behind all those programs, even with him popping out behind them on a myriad of AFN commercials. Yes, he certainly created a persona and it was one that didn’t go over very well.

    Someone mentioned using Doc as a case study in leadership, I agree, he is an excellent person to study.

    I’ve only been a leader in the enlisted ranks and I’m sure that being a MAJCOM CC is a whole other animal, despite the fundamentals of leadership being the same. From a PR perspective, all those AFN commercials failed in their purpose.

    One of the things that always frustrated me about general officers was the swarm of colonels below them who were constantly evoking the general’s name to motivate people.

    How about we clean up our facility because it is the right thing to do? Not because, “they general won’t like that!”

    The idea behind Combat Proud wasn’t all that bad if you ask me. It certainly did spin out of control on many levels.

    Why?

    Was it a failing of fundamental leadership principals not only on Doc’s part, but also on the part of his wing-level and squadron-level CCs?
    You asked what traits build a certain following.

    First of all, a presence. When I was in charge/command of something, I'd do a walkthrough at the start of the shift/duty day. When working in schools, I'd pay unannounced visits to classrooms to observe. And during the duty day someone knew where I was at all times, just in case I was needed.

    Yup, competence, fairness and trust. Also, never expecting any more from the troops than you expect from yourself. When we would run bomb evacuation drills and practice looking for bombs guess who was the first one to strap on the helmet, the flak jacket, and go into the building....yup...me.

    Being willing to stand up for your people. Being accessible. Spending time in workcenters.

    Staying aware of your folks' overall workload and trying to find ways to lessen it or at least even it out among everyone. NOT volunteering your people for bullshit things. Ensuring a meaningful work-life balance for everyone.

    Letting your folks know what needs to be done and trusting them to get it done without telling them how to do it. In other words, having faith in your folks not to let you down.

    Running interference for your people. In the same vein, in case of a screwup you take the shit for the unit and decide how much of that shit to pass downward.

    Being willing to listen to, seriously consider, and adopt ideas other than your own.

    Treating your people as assets rather than liabilities. That means you take care of your people and put value into them.

    And always remembering that your people have been entrusted to your care in order to accomplish a mission. They aren't there to make you look good so you can make rank on their backs.

    Could provide more but you catch my drift.

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