Der Tag, an dem ich Entschlussfindung verstand

„leaders are peoplewho make quick decisions and are sometimes right.“




Reading time: 4 minutes



The leadership of people, subordinates, soldiers is the most important issue in the Bundeswehr. There is no area in which you can do more wrong or more right that has a greater impact and shapes the image of the troops in the long term.

I came across the above quote while reading today and had to think directly of a (practice) situation in the Bundeswehr that has shaped my leadership style to this day.

I would like to give you a little insight into exactly this situation and I hope that other (young) leaders can also learn something from it.



1. Controlled chaos

I remember it as well as if it just happened.

It was a rainy day at a large training ground somewhere in central Germany. My group had run into an obstacle while marching through the woods and were engaged in a gun battle with a squad-size enemy.

Visibility was only 50 meters in places, thickets and narrow young trees everywhere prevented early reconnaissance of the apron. We were just able to keep in touch with the other group, but this also took a lot of effort at times.

A typical thicket: As you can see, you see nothing.



2. The command

My group received the order over the radio to flank the enemy so that we could eliminate the danger and continue our march. Our neighboring group would cover us meanwhile.

So we somehow had to get through the barrier or past it, pinpoint the exact position of the enemy along the way and break into their side as undetected as possible.

After the order was passed from me to my men, we immediately set to work on the job.

My first husband, an experienced crewman, overheard the order and wanted to support me. He pointed out to me a scouted gap in the barrier and was about to steer us there.

I paused. Everything in my head told me it would be wiser to go all the way around the barrier and swing a lot further before heading towards the enemy.

But the gap in the barrier was actually right in front of us and I didn't want to ignore the opinion of an experienced soldier.



3. The decision

I had to make a decision.

Either trust your own instinct and possibly lose valuable time. Or follow another opinion that I'm not 100% convinced of.

It happened the way it had to. I followed my comrade's advice and the disaster began. We got completely lost, almost started from the wrong side, appeared at times exactly at the level of our neighboring group and needed  about four times as long as we normally would have needed to locate and throw the enemy.

It is only thanks to the dense terrain and our very aggressive approach despite the wrong decision that we were not enlightened and fought at an early stage.n.



4. Summary

I was more upset that day than you can imagine.

Not simply because I could have assessed and solved the situation better from a tactical point of view. But because it wasn't even my decision that unnecessarily robbed us of time and energy.

And that was by no means the fault of the comrade. I was the leader. I alone was responsible. He just did his best to work for me from his point of view. It was up to me to make the final decision.

On this day I learned the following things:

  1. Trust your gut feeling. Most of the time you already know what the right decision is. You just have to have the courage to meet her too.

  2. Decide quickly. As General S. Patton said:„A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.“

  3. You don't always have to be right. Whether right or wrong, the important thing is that it your decision is. This is the only way you can learn and develop.



Good luck out there!



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Sources: Cover picture: Marcel T. (Greetings go out!), Dickung:

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