Memorial Day…a time to remember those who sacrificed their lives serving our country.

This weekend there will be plenty of speeches about their sacrifices as they did what others can’t or won’t. When was the last time you thought about the leader that sent those brave Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen into harms way knowing they probably would not survive?

While taking classes for my degree, we had a discussion about Level 5 leaders, particularly who had known one and what traits and characteristics made that person a leader who builds enduring greatness. To my surprise there were few in the class who had, and that I was the only one who had known more than one. All those I’ve known were military or veterans.

Imagine being a U. S. Army squad leader, serving as Military Police supporting local security forces in Iraq during their first independent elections. You have gunner refusing to enter the turret and are receiving pressure from the commander and platoon sergeant to meet the start time for your joint patrol to collect ballots from the polling places. You cannot guarantee the young man’s safety. How do you accomplish your mission and convince your gunner to do his duty? You accomplish success by showing concern for your people everyday. This squad leader developed relationships with all his Soldiers allowing him to encourage his gunner to overcome his fears, enter the turret and complete his mission. Everyone in the organization would have known if this leader failed. The soldier would have been ostracized. The leader would have been replaced. The mission would have failed. That did not happen.

Being a leader means involvement in the lives of those you lead. Had this leader not cared for minor problems the Soldier had earlier in the deployment the ending may have been different. Several years later I was watching a show on television recounting that election. There was video of the ballot counting where we worked. In the background, a group of soldiers including the squad leader and his gunner. That night they both made a difference in the lives of thousands of people, enduring greatness.

The squad leader’s duties officially ended several weeks after this event. They continue to this day however. I receive periodic status reports from each of my squad leaders about their Soldiers. They remain involved in their lives even though their official duties have ended. Leadership is about influence. To be truly influential one must genuinely care about others. Your people understand you may not always know what to do next. They understand you cannot promise what will happen in the future. They will not tolerate a leader who doesn’t care.

To build enduring organizational greatness, leaders need to care about those who follow them. Caring brings great rewards and sometimes great pain. I once read a comment from a civilian asking why the veterans don’t do as much on Memorial Day as they used to do. The reality is Memorial Day is not for veterans to remember those who have fallen, they never forget. Memorial Day is for everyone to remember. Memorial Day is an example of what combat leaders do to influence non-veterans to remember those who served but did not make it home. They still care.

Photo courtesy of Jon Foote


Welcome to my blog. I have been a supervisor and trainer in the public sector for over 20 years. I have trained soldiers, emergency medical responders and police officers across the country and around the world. I have had the pleasure of working with first responders and public sector managers both in person and in cyberspace.

I envision using this space to share the lessons I’ve learned on public safety issues, leadership training and management. I expect to post two new articles each month during the second and fourth week. While I believe people new to public safety leadership will learn many lessons here, I also expect those of you with some experience will share what your have learned also and create a positive learning space for everyone.

My qualifications include 31 years of service in the United States military, three years in the regular Army the balance in the National Guard where currently serve a the Chief Instructor at a Regional Training Institute at the rank of Master Sergeant. I completed two combat tours in the Middle East training the security forces of the host nation and training military security forces. After completing the hitch in the regular Army, I joined the police department in my home town and also worked on the local rescue squad. After four years there, I moved to the next town where I expanded my knowledge and was promoted to supervisory positions.

During my time studying and practicing leadership, I have noticed the more tools one has, the better one adapts to the situation at hand. No single leadership theory takes into account all the variables that exist in any leadership situation. Leadership is a continuum and fluctuates based on the leader, the followers, the situation and communication. The same is true of adult training. Training is a formal attempt to change behaviors to achieve a desired outcome. If leadership is a process of influencing others, then training is one method of applying influence. Again the strategies employed to teach adults new skills and theories and how to apply them to real life is a mixture of the trainers skills and knowledge, those being trained, the situation they are training in and for and how well they communication. As a result, there are many parallels between training and leadership.

This blog will seek to explore and inspire others to improve their leadership and training. The discussions will center around applications in the public sector, however the principals apply equally in the private sector. Learning to adapt the principals to your situation is the secret to success in leadership and training. I look forward to sharing what I have learned and from hearing from readers how they apply the concepts we discuss. You may contact me by email at christopher.saint.cyr at