Former Delta Commander: ‘If In Charge, Take Charge’
Lt. Col. (Retired) Jim Reese is a 25-year veteran, and former troop commander and squadron operations officer at US Army’s Delta Force. This is a must-read interview…
What are the key leadership lessons you took from your military career?
Jim Reese: Number one: Strive to be a good listener. You have to be a good listener and an active listener. Number two: If in charge, take charge. When a follower, be a loyal follower. Live by the old adage, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” The third lesson is, be a “servant leader!” Lead for your people; get out from behind the desk and lead by walking around. Know your people and let them know you.
WFB: Is there a foreign SOF unit that you believe sets a global standard in a particular area?
Reese: I compare other foreign units against Delta. Delta is the best in the world at entering an unknown situation and quickly delineating friend from foe, and can fight in multiple directions. Then there’s the British SAS and SBS. They have the adage, “Who Dares, Wins.” I’ve always loved that about those guys. Because they will make it happen with limited or no assets. Their bravery and their ability to do things with limited assets is just incredible. I also think Iraqi SOF are proving their mettle against Daesh. Iraqi SOF are leading that war in Iraq right now. And I’ll tell you, in Afghanistan, the Afghan SOF has an incredible capability. Unfortunately, they’re being used for things they shouldn’t be. And they’re being decimated at times.