Phillip Jamison/ Class 10: Leadership Training

by Phillip Jamison

251. What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me means to bear the qualities and capabilities to lead others.  It means to lead by example and manifest the values in which the leader wants the team to convey.  Being a leader means to live in congruence with the teams philosophy and mission statement.  As a leader, responsibilities gravitate to him, for he is capable of shouldering them and completing them.  A good leader is also a strong role model to others.  He treats people as if they were what they ought to be and helps them become what they are capable of becoming.  He has the power to help others reach their full potential and become winners.  He’s also the lead driver of the team and commands his men through assertiveness and humility – expressing care, willingness, openedness and trust in his troops.  A leader also expresses empathy in the lives, thoughts, feelings and opinions of his men, for they are a direct reflection of his command.  That is what leadership means to me…

252. In what ways have your past decisions prepared you for leadership?

The decisions I’ve made in my past were all valued based decisions.  By making the correct investment decisions to assist me in becoming a better modeled individual.  This supported me in becoming my values.  By becoming my values, I conveyed my values to others through my actions, thus displaying leadership qualities.  “A man must become the change he wants to see.

253. Where does leadership begin?

To become a leader, a person has to begin seeing their choices as a seed.  In essence, they’ll need to plant a different system of beliefs into their mind.  These beliefs are the seeds of values.  Through perfect practice, discipline and commitment in following these beliefs.  This saturates and fertilizes their seeds allowing them to mature into baby trees.  Through this process they’ll grow firmer – displaying the merit in which they possess.  For me, this process all started when I began involving myself in the Straight-A-Guide.  Later in time, I began partaking in area’s the prison had to offer such as RDAP, where I gained the essential tools to deal with life’s challenges.  As I incorporated the principles of my values into my life and accepted what each day brought.  Through demonstrating courage and enthusiastically embracing the present and looking towards the future.  I began becoming a leader/senior guide in RDAP.  True strength is the flower of wisdom, but it’s seed is action.  On every thorn, delightful wisdom grow’s and on every rill a sweet instruction flows.  “To see things as seed, that is genius – Lao Tzu

254. In what ways can an individual measure his capacity to lead?

I can only speak for myself on this, for I’ve learned a lot about man and the true meaning of personal initiative and willingness throughout this coarse of my life.  I started by using accountability logs and inputting my daily and weekly thoughts and actions.  This allowed me to go back and see the changes I’ve made through time.  Additionally, I’ve learned how to conduct an attitude check and rational self analysis through RDAP.  These are tools I can use to examine my thoughts and beliefs that occurred during an event and look ahead of the possible consequences, before executing my actions.  After I’ve completed these documented checks.  I would achieve them and review my progress once a month to see what changes I’ve made.

255. In what ways can an individual measure his effectiveness at leadership?

To measure the effectiveness of a leader, is to measure the performance of his followers.  It’s not about what he pours into his people that counts, but what is planted.  How they convey themselves is a direct reflection of the mentor that taught them.  Additionally, it’s how he carries himself as a person and the values he demonstrates.  He can either sit back and take all the credit at the hands of his men or he can express the willingness to work along side them.  A strong leader is content to lead by example and show the way through his own actions.  These actions are demonstrated through the 5 elements of a team (C.H.O.S.T) Caring, honesty, openedness, support and trust.

256. What does it mean to have a vision?

A vision is an idea of the existence of something I’ve imagined or pictured in my mind that serves as a purpose.  An idea created from a vision is like a seed planted in the human mind.  By devising a plan of action, this brings the vision to life – acting like a fertilizer to the seed.  Through the process of executing this plan, the seed begins sprouting roots.  When the vision is finally in full effect, it slowly blossoms into a tree – branching out into different directions revealing the beauty it has to offer in all directions.  The best way to enrich a vision is through motivation, inspiration and dedication.

257. How does a leader gauge the effectiveness of a plan?

A leader can measure the effectiveness of a plan by utilizing accountability logs.  He must also understand the possible risks involved with in the plan.  A leader must always have a secondary back up plan or be ready to make modifications at any given moment.   Secondary back up plans will act as a crutch when a potential risk arises and causes the primary plan to fail.  But above all, a leader had to have once walked the pathway he is leading to truly test the effectiveness of his vision upon others.  For this reason, if it worked for him, it will work for many others too.  “To be a leader means to have once been a follower.” – Phil Jamison

258. Why would leadership require accountability tools?

The use of accountability tools will assist a leader in keeping account of his progress.  He can also keep accountability on the performance of his subordinates.  Through this, he will be able to monitor the progress and growth of his plan – allowing him to look back and examine the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of past inputs.  Accountability logs will additionally help him measure the effectiveness of the companies actions, determining if any adjustments are required.

259. How would a leader make the most effective use of accountability tools?

To make the most effective use of his accountability tools.  He’ll want to first create a plan consisting of the steps he’ll want to take to reach his goals.  Additionally, he’ll want to keep account of the various job assignments delegated to his junior subordinates with in the different divisions of the business.  This will better assist him in evaluating the progress made or lost in each of these areas.  By recording the functions and the development of his operation.  He will be able to monitor the steady progression of his business.

260. How would you describe leadership by example?

Leadership by example means to represent the epitome of the values I adhere to.  I must convey the positive image I want my junior subordinators to reflect.  For this reason, they will mirror my behavior – representing the balance and core values of my business.  In addition, leadership by example means to walk the path of a leader – demonstrating the effectiveness of my actions and behavior.  This shows others that it can work for them as well, because it successfully work for me.  Demonstration through talent, must involve effectiveness and balance.

261. What does leading with integrity mean to you?

“To lead with integrity means to lead in congruence to the code of values I adhere to.”  A leader must never demonstrate a breach of integrity through poor behavior.  He must consistently and persistently “walk” the merit in which he bears – never expressing weakness in the eyes of his men.  Leading with integrity means to display a strong level of humility and open-mindedness.  The leader must always remain respectful and never forget about the struggles he went through to gain his command.  He also wants to continue looking into discovering ways on how he can enhance his ability to be a stronger leader.

262. In what ways does personal leadership require an individual to put the concerns of others ahead of his own?

A team is a bond between multiple individuals united through a commonality of core values.  Each individual must be fortified with the willingness to support and trust one another with in the team.  With out trust, one can’t rely on the other.  With out support, there’s no moral foundation with in the team.  A team – like a series of flexible links creates a chain.  This chain is connected to a powerful anchor, which is at the most forward end of the chain link.  This anchor (leader) must rely on the trust and support of his links (subordinates).  If one link (subordinate) shall fail, the anchor (leader ) shall fall.  The anchor (leader ) wants to focus on strengthen the integrity of his links (subordinates).  He can accomplish this through the process of proper training that will broaden their knowledge on the principles of their job.  Furthermore, he wants to focus on strengthening the integrity of their values.  For this reason, he wants to put their concerns above his.  Therefore they’ll be fully capable of pulling him out of the deep when the sea’s get to choppy.  “Anchor’s away!”

263. How can our behavior in prison influence the lives of those we ask to support or sponsor us?

Everyday I’m faced with decisions that could dictate the outcome of my future.  These are choices such as who I interact with or activities I participate in.  Even how I speak to prison staff members or handle high risk situations.  If I choose wisely through valued-based decisions, desirable consequences will occur.  But if I choose poorly and it constitutes in earning a disciplinary infraction.  This behavior will disturb the foundation I’ve build for my future.  In additionally, my support network will lose trust and respect in me – discrediting the relationships I’ve cultivated with them.  I could lose my sponsorships and future employment opportunities along the way as well.  The ripple effect from a bad decision will compromise my ability to have a success future beyond imprisonment.

264. When living within the restrictions of prison boundaries, where can we turn for leadership training?

I can study self help books that offer knowledge on leadership and mentoring.  I can also focus on reading books authored by individuals who have once walked a pathway of leadership. These are books written by Michael Santos himself as well as books written by Military Armed Service Members.  I’m currently reading a book written by the author Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer “No Easy Day”.  It’s an autobiography of a Navy SEAL, regarding the raid on Osama Bin Laden.  To conquer and triumph over a man of this nature takes strategic planning, a powerful team and indomitable leadership skills.  The Navy SEAL’s possess the highest form of valor, integrity, leadership and honor with in the United States Armed Forces.  Through Mr. Owens story it has given me a greater understand of what the value of leading with integrity represents.  God Bless the SEAL’s, Hoo-yah!  Other things I can look into doing to strengthen my knowledge on leadership are facilitating religious gatherings, such as prayer or Bible studies.  This will support me in learning how to create planning and exercise my communication skills

265. Describe an individual who has leadership skills that you admire?

A leader who I admire more than any other is my fallen friend LCPL Anthony C. Melia.  I admire and envy the immeasurable level of honor and bravery he conveyed in defending the lives of his men, his country and my freedom.  As the fire team leader of his Marine Corp platoon.  He led with integrity and put the concern of his teammates lives over his.  In the midst of of combat – forcing to face adversity head on.  He looked evil straight in the eyes and faced it with courage and valor.  While taking on heavy fire, he sacrificed his own life to eliminate the threat – protecting the lives of his teammates.  At the young age of 19, Anthony embodied what it meant to be a leader.  He embodied what it truly meant to be Semper Fi.  He embodied what it meant to be his values.  And He embodied John 15:13 “No one has greater love than this, that he should lay down his life for a friend.”  Although the boots he once wore will one day turn into dust and be gone with the wind.  And the weapon he once used to defend this country against all enemies will one day be melted down in to scrap.  The memory of Anthony’s compassion and bravery for his country will live on forever…  I believe that a man is never gone until he is forgotten, for he lives with in me.  For this reason, I will never forget this man.”  Semper Fi…

266. To what extent would emulating such leadership traits influence your prospects for success?

As I continue emulating leadership traits after my incarceration.  This will help me to build a life bigger than myself.  This will support me in being a much greater father to my son Kai and my daughter Justus.  Through the values I adhere to and manifest through daily living.  My children – like a sponge, will absorb these traits, later conveying these qualities through their own actions.  In addition to leadership traits.  This will help me in achieving the career dreams I desire to achieve.  Additionally, these traits will help me in earning the trust of my probation officer as well as strengthening the relationships with in my support network.  Furthermore, it will help me to continue building my support network to unimaginable heights.  The only limits for me are the ones I set for myself.

267. In what ways do our day-to-day actions show our commitment to personal leadership development?

To commit to personal leadership development.  I must practice and commit myself to living with poise and in accordance to my core values.  I have to understand the meaning of valued-based decisions – expressing the willingness to look at my day to day choices with an open mind.  I want to forge the concept of looking ahead of the consequences of my actions into my inner being.  Courage to face the things I’m fearful of doing is a have to.  Enhancing my ability in being a greater father is a need to.  True devotion in the progression to develop stronger leadership skills is a must…

268. How can a commitment to personal leadership development while in prison influence your relationship with people you haven’t yet met?

Living a life of transparency has allowed many to look into my life and witness my steady uprising through imprisonment.  They’ve watched me grow into a stronger individual through the process of following values, which has fostered me in to “becoming my values.”  They’ve also observed the overcoming of my history of social rule breaking, only to rise up from my swamp of poor decisions a more positive pro-social law abiding citizen.  Giving others the opportunity to look into my life like an open book demonstrates proven objective fact and reality that one can change and one can succeed.  As I’ve practiced and committed myself in becoming a young leader, especially in the midst of incarceration – which considerably gives out the fails perception of hitting “rock bottom”.  Despite it seeming like the end of my life, actually  opened my eye’s to a new beginning.  As I’ve learned self-discipline, made valued based decisions, followed good conduct, created and accomplished clearly defined goals and adhered to values.  By liberating from my own fears and struggles; my actions may liberate others from theirs.  If my actions constituted in helping at least one child, teen or young adult.  Than this was “Mission Success”!  Next to helping others, this will help to push back the bias perception individuals have harbored against me, due to my irrational behavior that constituted in earning an incarceration.  When I was no longer able to change the situation, I challenged to change myself.  Growing old is inevitable…  growing UP is optional, and I choose going UP!

269. In what way can the Straight-A Guide influence your prison adjustment?

The Straight-A-Guide influenced my adjustment to prison to be more safe, secured and at the same time “EMPOWERING.”  It has helped me understand the functions with in the infrastructure of the prison environment.  It has allowed me to successfully navigate my way through the depths of confinement more mindful of my surroundings.  Additionally, it has supported and assisted me in understanding the true value of valued-based decisions that benefited me through day to day challenges.  It has taught me how to commit to my goals and become a better man.  Lastly, the Straight-A-Guide has made it crystal clear to me that despite the adversity I put “MYSELF” in.  Things would turn out best for me if I made the best out of the way things turned out.

270. In what ways can the Straight-A Guide influence your prospects for a law-abiding, contributing life upon release?

The Straight-A-Guide taught me the value in creating core values to adhere to and live with through daily living.  I’ve learned how to create clearly defined visions and goals – defining how I’d feel after I’ve achieved them.  Additionally, I’ve practiced being more persistent and consistent in making correct investment decisions, which supported me in achieving my short/long-term goals.  Through this process of perfect practice, I became more self-disciplined, responsible and can now manage my life with more balance.  Next to this, I learned how not to aim in being the tallest, stiffest tree, for they are easily cracked and bridle.  But practiced more on being the bamboo and willow tree, for they survive by bending with the wind.  Through this process of perfect practice, I’ve learned self-improvement skills – giving me a stronger sense of humility, where I became right sized and more humble.

Aside from this, the Straight-A-Guide showed me that there are two ways of spreading positive light to others: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.  Through this process of perfect practice, I’ve became more efficient in expressing willingness and caring, which has assisted me in building a powerful support network, furthering my communication skills and expanding my knowledge on relationships.  Furthermore, a greater understanding of business ethics as well as seeking and discovering more ways in gaining knowledge on financial literacy.  Above all, I practiced how to be more open-minded and open hearted, which brought me closer to my loved ones, J/C and God.  This gave me a greater understanding of (1 Peter 5:10) “But after YOU have suffered a little while, the GOD of all undeserved kindness, who called YOU to his everlasting glory in union with Christ, will himself finish YOUR training, he will make YOU firm, he will make YOU strong.”  Through this entire process I BECAME A LEADER…  The desirable consequences of my commitment and perseverance is a lifetime of serenity, peace and glory…

271. In what ways will you use the Straight-A Guide going forward?

I am the author of my life and my journey to enlightenment.  How I choose to end my story is completely up to me.”  Growing up I’ve always been buffet by circumstances, for I thought of myself as a human being affected by outside conditions.  This led in creating a pendulum change with in myself – later developed into irrational habitual patterns.  Like a volcano, these patterns erupted into criminal acts of sentimentality, cognitive indolence and entitlement.  This THESIS of my story only constituted in losing an 11 year military career, the loss of respect from fellow comrades, earning a federal incarceration and the abandonment of my family.

The BODY of my story started in February of 2012, where I began involving myself in the Straight-A-Guide.  In spite of being confined with in the dark and lonely pitfall of imprisonment.  This has helped me to foster skills and knowledge on how to progress in developing into a better person.  This became the paradigm shift that changed my life.  This educated me on how to properly seek out methods on achieving personal growth with in the prison environment.  Through this process, I have learned how to expand my playing field, and the quality of my life.  Additionally, I discovered the Residential Drug Abuse Program, where I gained an arsenal of tools and knowledge to support me in dealing with life’s challenges beyond imprisonment.  This entire process started out as a small seedling.  Through the saturation of commitment and the fertilization of willingness.  It precociously developed strong shrubs, with tough pliable shoots – maturing into an everlasting  pliant willow tree.  And blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken.  The roots of this development will stick with me throughout the rest of my life…

The CONCLUSION of my story will begin when I’m finally released from the clutches of this prison.  Beyond imprisonment, I will continue living my life in accordance to the principles of good conduct, integrity and adhering to my core values.  I will carry the knowledge I’ve retained from the Straight-A-Guide throughout my life – planting it into the minds of others.  With this being said… I choose not to have an ending to my story.  For this reason, the Straight-A-Guide and enlightenment is a lifetime.  Although I was once a man who was buffet by circumstances, for I thought of myself as a human being effected by outside conditions.  I now realize that I am the power that commands the feeling of my mind and from which circumstances grow.


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