Military officers attending the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership at the Peak program participated in a survey of their key developmental experiences and the lessons learned from those events. The research indicated that events involving Positive Role Models, Negative Role Models and Failures & Mistakes were the most frequently reported development experiences, and produced lessons on Managing Subordinates, Executive Leadership, Communication, Integrity, and Decision-Making. Understanding the types of events that lead to these vital lessons can provide current and future officers a greater ability to guide subordinates, provide opportunities to learn, and identify situations that can deliver important leadership lessons. These key events also assist practitioners when creating tools and processes to enhance leadership development.

Additional Contributing Authors:

Katie Puryear is a former Research Assistant at the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, CO. Katie’s research focuses on senior executive challenges, intercultural leadership, top management teams, women’s leadership, succession management, and lessons of experience. Katie has a B.A. in Applied Communication and an M.A. in Communication with an emphasis in intercultural and organizational communication from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Neil Hollenbeck is a U.S. Army infantry major, selected to serve as a leadership and management instructor in the Department of Behavioral Science & Leadership, United States Military Academy at West Point. Neil served as an infantry platoon leader and company commander in the 82nd Airborne and 3rd Infantry Divisions, leading Soldiers in Iraq during four separate deployments between 2004 and 2010. He is currently an MBA candidate at Duke University, where he also teaches as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Military Science. Neil has a B.S. in History from the United States Military Academy.

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