Not Your Average Operator, Ep: 035 – Impactful Leadership: Masterclass by COL (Ret.) Kelly Hines

Not Your Average Operator, Ep: 035 - Impactful Leadership: Masterclass by COL (Ret.) Kelly Hines

The boys were honored once again to have COL (Ret) Kelly Hines as a guest. In this episode, they were able to extrapolate tangible result based tenets that Kelly drew on in his near 30 year odyssey in service of Our Great Country. Taking him from a young enlisted soldier in the infantry, to leading some of the most prodigious Special Operations pilots in the U.S arsenal, who’s exploits mostly remain classified. The famed Task Force 160th. Fortune struck Task Force Diamondhead and Raf when, as a seasoned and formidable leader, he took command of the unit in preparation for their 2012 deployment. Kelly was instrumental in preparing, mentoring, and leading  a conventional force of over 500 hundred men and women into the pernicious lands of Afghanistan. Tenets that served him, and especially the troops he led on and off the battlefield. These are just some of the takeaways the boys were able to discuss with COL (Ret.) Hines.

  • Leadership is an art, not a science. And it starts with reading and knowing the people you’re around.
  • Get their buy in, to want to do it, as much as you do.
  • Manage risk by accepting it, but only when the end state is worth it. Ultimately, that’s something you’ll have to live with if you were to lose any of your people. This is especially true in combat.
  • Appreciate the team for how special they are. Don’t ever hold grudges. As a leader, consider them family even if you have to discipline them.
  • Internally assess the people that work with you. Kelly invested the time to look at all his soldier’s personnel files before he met them.
  • You build them up doing the basics, and scale to complex contingencies until everyone is exhausted. Then you celebrate equally hard on your successes.
  • Train your people to step up and take leadership roles to be prepared when it’s void of leadership. This is especially critical for any group that can find themselves in a hostile environment.
  • It’s great to identify your star players, but just as important to get your B team the experience necessary to rise to be star players. In other words, invest in EVERYONE.
  • Focus on realistic demands, even if it means you’re breaking away from the status quo. Allow the space to have failure. If you don’t let people fail, they’ll never learn.
  • The culture starts with the leader. You can’t expect something you’re not living personally. If you want a family environment, then you need to invest that time and energy to know your people like family. ////

The boys all agreed that encountering a combatant commander like Kelly truly is scarce, and even more rare to have the opportunity to listen to his own personal anecdotal stories. We think you’ll agree that trailblazers like COL (Ret.) Kelly Hines is a living institution for those following in their footsteps. This short interview only gave us a small footprint of his exploits, however, it unearthed a treasure trove of tools that every listener could implement in our own leadership roles. Timeless tenets that proved powerful in some of the world’s most hostile corners of the world, can have impactful positive results here at home. Please share your thoughts about this episode and we encourage all of our listeners to reach out to us with your own stories. We love reading your insights, feedback, and how we can add more value to your day.

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