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Permission to Speak – Leadership Blog – Kelly Vandever Interviews Colonel Jill Morgenthaler on Leadership and Trailblazing


Permission to Speak

Leadership Video Blog & Podcast

Hosted by Leadership Communications Expert Kelly Vandever

Permission to Speak is the video blog and podcast that loiters at the intersections of leaders who want their people to speak up, technology that facilitates connections, and results that serve an organization’s higher purpose.

Our guest for this episode:  Colonel Jill Morgenthaler

About Colonel Jill Morgenthaler

Colonel Jill Morgenthaler is a woman of many firsts. She was one of the first women to enter an experimental class for women in the U.S. Army ROTC and train as an equal with men. She was the first woman Battalion Commander in the 88th Regional Support Command Division, the first Brigade Commander in the 84th Division and then rose to the rank of Colonel. She was also the first woman to run homeland security for the state of Illinois.

During her military career, Colonel Jill led hundreds of men and women around the world in war and peace, and was the recipient of the Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit for her lifelong leadership.

Her unique experiences, range from a showdown with Saddam Hussein to saving an American engineer from a Soviet kidnapping.

Now retired, Colonel Jill teaches others about leadership as a professional speaker and the author of the highly acclaimed book, The Courage to Take Command:  Leadership Lessons from a Military Trailblazer.  And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to watch her popular TEDx Talk, “Fake It ‘Til You Make It.” 

Find out more about Colonel Jill Morgenthaler at her website http://www.coloneljill.com

Topics Covered:

– Colonel Jill’s experience as one of the first women to train alongside men in ROTC.

– No one makes it on their own

– When you lead, look out for others that are trailblazing, offer to mentor

– Every time a leader rips into you, realize, it’s not about you, it’s about them

– Colonel Jill’s “Fake It ‘Til You Make It” TED Talk

– Show your people you have faith in them to complete a challenging assignment, give them the training and development they need too

– For people who are blazing trails themselves:  accept the fact that everyone is watching you and you do represent far more than just yourself.  You have to be on your top game all the time.

– It can be lonely and it can be so rewarding

– What you send out is what comes back to you

– Let your people take risks and make mistakes, that’s often where you learn the most

– The military tells their junior officers, now’s your time to make mistakes.  Own up to your mistakes and fix them.

– If you have a problem that you take to your seniors, bring a solution with you too

Jack Zanger of Harvard Business Review published research that revealed the average age a leader becomes a manager in corporate America is around 30/31, but on average, they don’t receive professional training as a leader until on average the age of 40/41.

– Advice for leaders that find themselves in that gap of being a manager without formal education – Find a mentor that can give advice or maybe even champion you

– Educate yourself, there’s lots of information online

– First show respect to your team and acknowledge all the skills and gifts they bring

– Acknowledge what you lack so that you can turn to your team and say, “I’m really strong here, but here’s where I lack and that’s why you’re here.”

– Have each other’s backs

– Be honest, I’m new, but help me

– Colonel Jill shares her encounters with two of the most evil men in history:  Sadaam Hussein & Chemical Ali (Ali Hassan al-Majid)

– Colonel Jill shares how she foiled a Soviet kidnapping plot

Questions Answered:

– What should I do as a leader if I’m managing someone who’s a trailblazer in our field?

– How should I manage a woman in a male dominated profession?

– What should I expect if I’m the first in my demographic to enter a chosen field?

– What should I do if I’m a new manager without formal leadership training?

– What are suggestions of how I can lead a team when I’ve had no formal training on leadership?

– How can I learn more about leadership?

– What role can a mentor play in my development as a leader?

Book Recommended:

The Courage to Take Command:  Leadership Lessons from a Military Trailblazer by Jill Morgenthaler