As I am sure is true with many others, there were a number of people who helped me along the way of my life’s journey that helped me succeed. Most of them saw something in me, something I didn’t see in myself, and helped me see that thing and grow to the next level to become more successful. While there were many in my life, the one I credit with giving me the biggest push was Command Sergeant Major Lonnie Bagwell.
I was young man in my early 20’s coming to the end of my first enlistment in the Army. Honestly, I was just wandering through life wondering where I was headed. I can’t say that I was “finding myself,” because I didn’t really know what that meant. I have to admit I was rather disillusioned with whole military experience. Looking back, I could see that a lack of effective leadership led me to feel that way.
Lonnie Bagwell had just been promoted to First Sergeant when he became part of my direct leadership chain. He took many steps to turn around the low morale and low preparedness of the entire group. He was quick to publicly praise those who did well, and he certainly corrected those who needed it.
There were three core things he taught those whom he led:
By exemplifying these traits, he modeled servant leadership and gave me the inspiration I needed to move towards my future success both during my 14 year military career, and then afterwards in business.
I wasn’t the only one who was positively affected. Many of those who served with CSM Bagwell credit him as being the example that help them be successful in their careers. This one man had an impact on many. I can certainly credit him with having a tremendous positive impact on me.
Editor’s Note: Thank you Elmer Boutin, and Command Sergeant Major Lonnie Bagwell for your service today, on Veteran’s Day, and every day of the year. You can read more about what happens when a true leader sees something in us that we do not see in ourselves in Chapter 3 of Crowd Success.