Positions of Leadership – Leading from The Front

welocalize November 21, 2017

Leading from the front is a concept I learned in leadership training while I was in the U.S. Army. It has stuck with me ever since. Whilst I was in the U.S. military, I witnessed the most effective leaders demonstrating this concept. Courage, duty, honor – these weren’t just words – they were values demonstrated each day by the leaders out in front. They did not command from the rear, they lead from the front. They set the example.

This is the example if have endeavored to set over these last 20 years at Welocalize. Lead from the front. In the spirit of Welocalize’s 20th Anniversary, I thought I would reflect on five key leadership principles that I believe have enabled us to reach this milestone.

  1. Leadership can be learned. I don’t believe great leaders are “born”. They learn through experience just like anyone else. They make mistakes, but they are relentless in correcting those mistakes over time.
  2. The troops eat first; leaders eat last. This is an Army concept of putting people first – especially when you are tested by adversity. One of our 4-Pillars at Welocalize is Global Teamwork, and leaders who inspire by “eating last” are those with the strongest Global Teamwork.
  3. Correct a problem instead of complaining about it. Determined leaders across the years and across our company are the reason Welocalize has endured. They never give up on remedying a tough problem. That old Army buddy was also our first employee. We had no office yet, so he marched down to the basement of our house to work each day. He never complained and he worked hard so that we could build success to afford an office.
  4. Get out of the way. We hear about this a lot in leadership training, but I like many others have had a challenge making it consistent over the years – especially when times are tough. My Army Commander once told me, “I will deem you successful Lieutenant Yewell when you are just sitting in your Jeep and all of those around you are functioning like precision clockwork.”
  5. Discipline trumps flash. Leadership is a test of time and discipline is its measure of success. We have all witnessed flashy operators and short-term results. It is the humble, disciplined and determined leader that rises to the top.

I want to thank all the great Welocalize leaders who have inspired me through their examples and built Welocalize to last. We lead and succeed together.

– Smith Yewell.