Many believe that each of us has a leader inside; some more overt and some more covert. Some are better at utilizing their leadership skills, while others aren’t sure how to tap those resources. Many have questioned the difference between a leader and a manager…are they one in the same or very different characteristics? Do all leaders need to develop and refine their leadership skills or just some? (The answer to this is an absolute ‘yes’ that all leaders can advance their skillset by learning from others!) And finally, what engages the leader within; and, do all leaders learn in the same way?
Regardless of where you look or turn, leadership skills are important…from the boardroom to the mailroom. Experts understand that it is mission critical to understand when to engage the leader within and when to engage others take ownership of solutions and ideas, while taking a step back and encouraging the process. In the words of John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
How then, do leaders themselves engage their own growth and ability to generate new ideas? The answer is crystal clear; through leadership training courses that encourage the very characteristics discussed by John Quincy Adams students gain more knowledge and more importantly, more confidence. Leadership training is not a new concept. It is something that has evolved over time and traditionally was taught in a classroom with lots of documentation and discussion akin to a college setting. It is only recently that award-winning programs, like the Spearhead Development Group, have made their classrooms virtual ones, and their modules based on real-life scenarios and interactions.
Spearhead Development Group is unlike any other available today. The program is a technology-based, integrated e-learning course which engages and motivates with leadership skills, real-life scenarios, and more. It also teaches key solutions for corporate and entrepreneurial organizations in a portable, user-friendly, and most importantly, time-sensitive environment. Because the program is based on e-learning, students can participate when, and where, they work best. The program is based on both the psychological and emotional aspects of learning to engage the mind and aid in the long-term retention of the material. The entire program is based on Andrew LeMasters’ time and experiences in the Special Forces.
LeMasters’ leadership experience, both inside and outside the military, has shown him conclusively that, “businesses need true leaders if they want to reach their full potential, not managers. Leaders do everything a manager can and so much more. They can create environments that breed innovation. They understand different personality types and how to communicate with each one and in return welcome diversity. Leaders can flex their styles to fit the environment as often as they have to. They take the time to know their employees personally and care about them on a deeper level. But most importantly they always place others before themselves,” he says.
With the dream of joining the military so prominent in his life, LeMasters enlisted as early as he could. Shortly after, he became a member of the military police. His skillset meant he would be deployed to Iraq, where he was responsible for everything from Personal Security Details to Key Leader Engagements to Con Air. Throughout this experience, LeMasters realized that the way in which leaders grow and develop is game-changing.
After returning Stateside from Iraq, LeMasters decided it was time to take his career in the military a step farther. He applied to join the Special Forces. With a mindset ,and the will and determination to make it through boot camp again, (if he needed to), LeMasters passed the Special Forces Assessment and Selection, earning his green beret. He himself says he, “became the newest and probably the worst at everything,” after being assigned to a group in Florida. For many this would be a hardship. For Andrew, this was bigger than winning the proverbial “Golden Ticket” because he understood the greatness around him that he tap into and learn from on a daily basis.
In the Special Forces, he learned how true leaders lead and inspire others. He also learned what type of leader he wanted to be. He loved being a part of the Special Forces. That is, until he fell ill and received a medical discharge because he was no longer deployable. Upon hearing the news and returning home, LeMasters felt lost, even with the full support of family and friends. What he didn’t know at the time was that this was to be his greatest challenge, and his greatest opportunity of his life. “I went from being Special Forces, jumping out of planes, late nights, early mornings, and never being in the same place for more than a month or two, to becoming a full-time student that never left the house and felt isolated from the world. Downtime became my enemy” he said. Because of his leadership experiences in the Special Forces, he quickly realized that he had to find the purpose behind losing his career, becoming ill, and receiving the medical discharge.
“Leading people became my “reason” for why everything had happened to me. At the end of the day, my mind always came back to leadership. I loved people. I loved pushing them to be better. I loved diversity and I loved getting a group of people from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. All of this was so easy and natural to me, although it wasn’t at first. It took years of experience leading people from different countries, in different languages, failing, and learning from my mistakes for leadership to eventually become easy,” says LeMasters.
One thing that continuously stuck out in his mind was the importance of teaching through technology, instead of merely putting people in a classroom with paperwork and a speaker. He understands that when leadership training is broken down in to easy-to-synthesize modules, it is easier to digest and most importantly, to retain. The learning curve shortened, and the real-life applications grew. He designed Spearhead’s classroom as a virtual one. Based on this knowledge, he proved rather quickly just how fast student engagement can grow. Because the program is based on e-learning, it is also accessible to everyone, regardless of need or circumstance. Spearhead passes on real-life military training tools and business insights, so everyone who engages in this program can learn and understand just how important their role is to their organization and even, by extension, to their family unit. In doing so, everyone from the program’s creator to the student in the program benefits from the shared knowledge and experiences this form of leadership training brings to life.