Back as an engineer working at an Army post, I remember a time when some of us had an informal potluck of sorts. We had invited the on-shift crew of soldiers training on our system to have some food as well. The officer in charge of the crew didn’t skip a beat and was the first to the break room. I caught one of his crew grimacing, and he said to me quietly, “leaders are supposed to eat LAST” (i.e. make sure their soldiers are fed and taken care of before they eat themselves).

I’d never heard that saying before then, but I instantly recognized the simple truth behind that statement. I realized it was a concept I’d subconsciously followed and seen subtly demonstrated before by parents, teachers, and a few of my better bosses, but it was never stated out loud to me before then. So since then it’s been an official rule of mine that I try to follow on more than just a subconscious level. And while that unnamed officer was a bit of a douchebag (in that and a couple other ways), when I looked for it at other times I did see most officers and NCO’s follow that rule diligently.

Anyway, a hat tip to that soldier (who shall remain unnamed) who dropped that little nugget of wisdom on me… 🙂