In this article from our wider PME network, Steve Leonard reflects on his ‘Iron Major’ days as a US staff officer; both as a brigade Support Operations Officer (SPO) and then as an Executive Officer (XO). Steve sees his years as a staff officer as ‘deeply rewarding’ as he was able to share his years of experience to help younger leaders grow and develop. His staff officer roles also prepared him for success in his follow up postings.
In the first half of this article, Steve discusses the factors that attributed to his success as an SPO. These include integration, anticipation, flexibility and dependability. In the second half of the article Steve talks about his experience as an XO citing the role as the ‘single greatest learning experience’ of his career. His insights provide useful tips for any XO or Chief of Staff.
Steve finishes his article by highlighting the importance of PME in developing his skills as a staff officer and recommends several books to prepare staff for life as an ‘Iron Major’ – Defeat into Victory, Iconoclast and Influence without Authority.