I’ve read many books on management and leadership, and heard lots of speakers on this topic. Starting this Top 10 Leadership Lessons and seeing on my Kindle app that it would take only 22 minutes to read the whole book, it made me wonder. The army is a great environment to practice leadership. And after 22 years in various leading positions in the US Army you’d certainly have to share lessons learned, undone from combat details and technical language. Thomas Finneran has a top 10, but doesn’t explain this number, other than having a handy acronym LEADERSHIP to have each of the lesson titles start with. The book is about principles like fairness, earning respect, empowerment, servant leadership, perseverance and seeking silver lines in drawbacks.
Just like many fellow authors of leadership books, Finneran leans on a small number of examples: besides his own background, US Army, and sports, there’s the all too obvious host of Good People: Gandhi, King Jr., Lincoln, Welch, Drucker, Jobs, Gates and Covey. Where the author uses illustrations from his work field, he uses lots of words and details, which detracted me from the lesson itself.
Though the book doesn’t lack ambition: read this, it will help to become a (better) leader, I doubt whether this single book can accomplish that.
About the author
Upon graduation from Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, Tom Finneran attended the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduating in 1992 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering sciences and a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force. After an unsuccessful attempt to become a pilot, he served as a command post controller until the Air Force selected him to attend navigator training, which he successfully completed in November 1995. His flying experience includes time as a navigator in airdrop and special operations missions in the C-141B; as an instructor at the navigator, or now, combat systems officer schoolhouse in the T-43; and five years as an electronic warfare officer in the RC-135.
His staff experience includes serving as an executive officer for a squadron commander and general officer wing commander; training program manager in the Directorate of Operations at HQ Air Education and Training Command (AETC); member of the AETC commander’s action group and director of executive services; and speechwriter for the AETC commander.
Tom’s significant leadership experience includes two years as squadron director of operations (DO) and two years as squadron commander for the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, England. He has completed three years of a four-year assignment as the deputy chief, Combat Plans Division, for a 40-member division at NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) Uedem, Germany, and the deputy US senior national representative (SNR) for 30 American positions.
In addition to his peacetime leadership positions, Tom also led in combat and combat support roles as executive officer to the director of mobility forces in the US Central Command Air Forces CAOC at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan; DO for the 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron supporting OEF from Al Udeid Air Base in the Middle East; and commander of the 95th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron deployed to British Indian Ocean Territory Diego Garcia in support of US Africa Command intelligence collection missions. He also deployed to the NATO CAOC in Poggio Renatico, Italy, as an air tasking order (ATO) coordinator during Operation Unified Protector, the NATO-led operations in Libya.
With more than 22 years of military service in the mobility air forces, combat air forces, training and education command, and an international CAOC, as well as his leadership experience culminating as a squadron commander and CAOC deputy division chief, he is uniquely qualified to share his views on leadership from a variety of perspectives.
Tom has been married to his amazing wife, Ashley, for 16 wonderful years, and they are the proud parents of Eliza (15) and William (13).