(Courtesy of Joe McFarland)

Every great manager or director has to start somewhere: Joe McFarland, executive vice president at Lowe's, began as a sales associate in the light bulb aisle of Home Depot. But before that, he spent six years in the Marine Corps as an aviation mechanic. When he left the military in August 1993, he knew that his technical skills were not relevant: "No one was looking for someone to fire a .50-cal out of a door. My technical skills weren't as important as my people skills."

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I am skeptical of a lot of the recommendations I read on leadership, which often strikes me as pyramids of buzzwords, but I liked this article by a former British submariner who went on to do a PhD in leadership.

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It's common knowledge that Secretary of Defense James Mattis embodies the humility and empathy we've come to expect from modern military leaders. He does laundry in the Pentagon basement, forgoes appearances on cable news, and praises the U.S. service members under his responsibility at every possible moment.

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Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell/National Guard Bureau Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. — Early Tuesday afternoon, the skies outside Maj. Heather “Lucky” Penney’s office window were clear blue, much like the brilliant blue morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

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