Today, I want to share a transformative moment from my military journey, highlighting the importance of seeking support and leading with resilience in the face of challenges.
During my second summer training with the Army, I found myself in a daunting situation. Our squad had been assigned to unload trailers filled with various supplies, including insulation, paint, and chemicals, under the scorching July/August heat at Fort Leonardwood, MO. Despite our best efforts, the lack of protective clothing and exposure to these substances left us itchy and struggling to breathe.
Determined to prioritize the well-being of my squad, I mustered the courage to approach our drill sergeants for medical assistance. Unfortunately, their response was to discipline us with intense physical exercises, only worsening our condition. (For those who know the term, we got “smoked”) Realizing we needed urgent help, I took a bold step and reached out to my father, an active-duty Colonel in the Air Force, using his influence to intervene and ensure our squad received the medical attention it deserved.
Through this experience, I learned two invaluable lessons:
- As a leader, it is essential to utilize all available resources to protect and support those under your care. Advocating for your team’s well-being is not just a responsibility; it is a privilege.
- Acknowledging the need for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. No matter how challenging the circumstances, reaching out to trusted individuals can make a significant difference in navigating through tough times.
I am forever grateful to my father for his unwavering support during that critical moment. This experience taught me the power of collaboration, resilience, and the significance of fostering a supportive environment within any team.
Let’s remember that leadership isn’t about tackling challenges alone; it’s about fostering a culture where seeking assistance is encouraged and valued. Together, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve greatness.
Thank you, Dad (Paul McVickar), for being my guiding light during that unforgettable time!
Originally posted on LinkedIn July 20th, 2023
Image credit – the McVickar Family archive