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    Applying rules of engagement to real-life scenarios

    From military to clinic, lessons learned can provide valuable experience for future directives


    Rule 3. If you tell one person a secret, it isn’t a secret anymore.

    Be careful of the information, feelings, and opinions you share with the staff. It will get spread around—even if it is innocently done.

    Rule 4. When you think you have seen it all—look again.

    Rule 5. There is no such thing as coincidence—you just weren’t paying enough attention to see it coming.

    Rule 6. Don’t be afraid to apologize. It is NOT a sign of weakness.

    This is where I disagree with Gibbs’ rule of never apologizing. The ability of leaders to apologize when they have been wrong is a sign of strength, and shows respect for staff. We don’t always have the answer, and we can make mistakes just like the next person. But laying blame for mistakes on others, or ignoring that it happened, is a poor leadership attribute that needs to be corrected immediately. Your staff knows you made a mistake—admit it and move on.

    Rule 7. Been there, done that, bought a T-shirt, and sold it at the yard sale.

    Don’t forget the past and the lessons you can learn from it—but don’t dwell there or lean too heavily on it. Use the past to guide you into the future, but leave the past in the past.

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