Deborah Lee James served as the 23rd Secretary of the United States Air Force with responsibility for 660,000 military and civilian personnel and a budget of $139 billion. She was the second woman to ever lead a military service in the United States. Deborah is also the author of “Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success.” Her impressive resume and deep expertise in strategic planning, risk management, public policy, logistics, and innovation, lead to a fascinating conversation with Jim and Jan on the topic of leading during difficult times. Can any of us survive and thrive against such a backdrop of unsettledness and anxiety? Deborah Lee James wants to help us try.
“Lead several hundred thousand people, manage a budget over $100 billion, and secure the nuclear enterprise. That’s what Secretary James did as the second woman ever to run the U.S. Air Force, and this book feels like having a personal conversation with her. She takes you behind the scenes with rich case studies to share valuable leadership lessons for your career and your life.” — Adam Grant, Professor, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, LinkedIn Top Voices 2017, New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS, GIVE AND TAKE, and OPTION B
[4:55] Debbie explains why she thinks she became the Secretary of the Air Force… by accident.
[7:55] Keep your network always active. You never know when you might need it!
[9:15] Debbie was uniquely qualified for this position because of all of her past experiences on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and the private sector.
[11:05] Debbie offers a tip on how to make your presentations engaging.
[14:35] In order to be competent and move from the junior to mid-career ranks, you need to know your competency.
[16:45] How you get leadership done is important, especially when working in a male-dominated field.
[17:35] When you want to lead and inspire a team effectively, you have got to give them the why and you have to listen to their needs.
[18:15] People hate to be micromanaged, they want to be coached.
[22:35] There was a lot happening under Debbie’s watch, she shares the strategies she used to manage it and lead everyone towards a common goal.
[30:15] Your team’s opinions are important but don’t just stop there. Dive deeper.
[31:05] Debbie would take to the most senior people in the room all the time, but she would also make a point to talk to more junior airmen.
[32:40] No matter what you’re doing, keep asking why.
[39:35] The adaptability of a high-level leader is more of a requirement than ever before. A lot changes in a three-year span.
[41:50] Debbie offers tips on how to lead in a field you might not have 100% understanding in.
[44:25] Listener challenge: Part of having a fulfilling career is to have a fulfilling home life, too.
The Leadership Podcast is sponsored by W.S. Darley & Company.
Founded in 1908, Darley remains a family owned and operated business, providing the highest quality equipment solutions to our country’s warfighters and firefighters.
Learn more at darley.com and darleydefense.com
Quotable Quotes“Get things done. Ultimately you’re not going to be a leader for long; your company or your organizations are going to fire you if you don’t create a body of accomplishment.” Click To Tweet “To go to the next level, you’ve got to lift yourself out of the details, and now you have to lead a team and make sure you’re not doing the team’s work.” Click To Tweet “What makes you successful at one level won’t necessarily take you to that next level.” Click To Tweet “In order to lead and aspire a team effectively, you can’t tell people what to do. You’ve got to give them the why.” Click To Tweet
- Sponsored by: Pass-life.com. Coupon Code: Duty.
- Websites: Deborahleejames.com & Deborah on LinkedIn
These are the books mentioned in our discussion with Debbie