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Cadet Michael McClain
LET 1
Northeast High School
Clarksville, TN
True Leadership
As a LET 1, my career may have been brief, but it's been exhilarating. I've learned so much about esprit de corps, teamwork, and, one of our most recent lessons, leadership. I've seen some cadets take this lesson to heart, becoming leaders themselves. We have learned so much about this vital topic, such as what a leader must provide, how a leader should behave, and different approaches a leader should use. However, there's nothing a book can teach you that firsthand experience won't. While I haven't been leading that much (and I hope to do more later on), as the follower, I've seen qualities in leaders that have proven vital for any team.

The first thing a leader should do is care for their team. Some people would consider this a given. However, this is way easier said than done. It's a lot simpler to order people around than to really care for them, maybe easier too, but is that really an excuse? If you really care for your team, take a second before you move. If your team member messes up, before you rush to drop them, try to correct them, and help them learn from their mistakes. They should help their team through their trials. I've seen a leader take off his shoes, give them to a cadet without running shoes, and run a mile barefoot. A leader should also take some time to get to know their team. Not every person has the same story. As their leader, you should know certain things about your team so that you can appropriate your leadership style for the group.

Another important value a leader should have is dedication to his team. Not the task or job, but TO THE TEAM. A leader should never quit on his team, despite the fact that some people may be rowdy, disrespectful, or just have a serious lack of knowledge of the task. A leader must be willing to work with the team, unifying them, and creating the end result of which they desire. This means a true leader must stand by...
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