Remember Where You Came From

Attached you will find another article written in regards to leadership. But before we get to that, I would like to share some thoughts.

Never Forget Where You Came From

When I came into adulthood and eventually law enforcement, I made the acquaintance of an individual,  a commanding officer who had gone from the bottom rank, to the second-in-command, and then to highest tier of the department, and this occurred on more than one occasion. I asked this person how he handled going from being the boss of everyone one day, to being the subordinate to others the next. He gave me a lengthy explanation for this phenomenon, but astutely summed it up with this singular statement, “be careful of who you step on while on your way up, because you will see them again on your way down.”

This has been something of a mantra for me and always stuck with me as I have used it to my advantage many times throughout my career. The primary message of this statement is that you must remain both flexible and diversified in your dealings with others as well as in your work.

In my industry, you can observe this from the first time a practitioner is placed in charge of a detail, to when they blossom into the up and comer who is then named director of a large enterprise. It’s important to remember where you came from.

Another thing that has been on my mind lately is the phony self-praising and third party commendations that goes on, particularly in social networks. I have always been about the job and have made nothing more of it than just that, and I enjoy what I do a great deal. There is nothing wrong with giving praise, especially if it is for someone other than yourself, but it’s important to remain realistic. If you want to acknowledge someone for their upward movement, or for a job well done, then do it, but do not make it sound like they have walked on water, which can not only sound phony but also shallow. Often, what the overboard praising really does is disguise the self-praise which the person originally giving the acknowledgement is looking for. If you mean it, keep it simple with a public, “thank you”.

Finally, there is the person who is so successful and with a rather choked up schedule which simply allows them little available time. I don’t advertise the hats that I wear too often, but I will say this, I wear many, but I always try to give everyone the courtesy of time as it allows. Please don’t mischaracterize this, as I am not one who likes to waste time either.

I only recently had an old school pal of mine send me a one sheet for marketing from his new employer in the security business. He had asked me to review it and give an opinion on what he had created. But because I had more questions before I rendered an opinion, I put him off until time would allow for me to articulate the questions and then for him to answer, although I did not notify him of this. After my workflow eased 0ff, I called him and left a voicemail stating I had some questions on what he sent me and to call me back so we could discuss further. To this day, he has not called me. The issues, as I see them are: 1) I should have sent an email right back saying I would get to him as soon as I could, so he does not stay waiting on me. 2) I am left with the question; did he just waste my time regardless of the delay in my answering? In either case, I feel bad that I did not respond to a friend who thought he could count on me.

As leaders, we need to be careful. If you step up on that soap box in a humble manner, you may just have someone hit you in the groin to bring you back down. On the other hand, if you step up on that soap box with arrogance, there is always someone else who will step up and knock you completely off that soap box just to serve as a reminder of who you are.

Best of luck to you,

Bill Peeler


Link to “9 Things Out of Touch Leaders Do”



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