The Wisdom of Good Mentors

More than once down the years I have been told by wise men that a good leader knows how to praise you not so much for what you have done nor for what you are, but, rather, for what he sees that you could be — and for what you ought to be. Mentors I have had, even as a young military officer, have more than once shown me the good fruits of that inspiring sapience; and they have further taught me this fruitful insight by their own exemplary actions on my behalf, to include some altogether embarrassing instances of their deftly expressed trust — to include their entirely unfounded deep trust in my sincere but unmistakable callowness.

In a more jocular manner, moreover, one of my wise team sergeants in Special Forces once memorably said to me: “Sir, no one is completely useless. You can always serve as a bad example.” (He laughed, but I looked at him askance! He still then cheered me up, even as I blushed.)

Several mentors I was blessed to have had, even as a boy, taught me by way of questions — apt and timely and often challenging questions. Such as: “What do you mean and how do you know?

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