The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

38 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL I have always found former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s 13 rules of leadership to be a good practical guide. They are: 1. It ain’t as bad as you think! It will look better in the morning. 2. Get mad; then get over it. 3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it. 4. It can be done. 5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it. 6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision. 7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours. 8. Check small things. 9. Share credit. 10. Remain calm. Be kind. 11. Have a vision. Be demanding. 12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers. 13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. FSJ: What qualities make for a good leader and a good manager, and what advice do you have for others in leadership positions? JFT: On his 100th birthday, Dec. 13, 2020, former Secretary of State George Shultz wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post titled “The 10 most important things I’ve learned about trust over my 100 years.” It had some excellent advice for leaders. Shultz reflected on his century of life and long years of public service, saying: “I’m struck that there is one lesson I learned early and then relearned over and over: Trust is the coin of the realm. When trust was in the room, whatever room that was—the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room, or the military room—good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details. ... “‘In God we trust.’ Yes, and when we are at our best, we also trust in each other. Trust is fundamental, reciprocal and, ideally, pervasive. If it is present, anything is possible. If it is absent, nothing is possible. The best leaders trust their followers with the truth, and you know what happens as a result? Their followers trust them back. With that bond, they can do big, hard things together, changing the world for the better.” It is hard for me to come up with better advice for leaders. And Secretary Shultz proved it by the success he had in serving our country in multiple high-level positions. You have to work hard every day to build trust and invest in those who work for you. AFSA and Dissent FSJ: When did you join AFSA, and what convinced you to join? JFT: If my memory serves, I joined right after I entered the Foreign Service. I joined because I felt that we needed an organization to represent the interests of all the members of the Foreign Service. We needed an organization to speak for the Foreign Service as a whole and to represent individual members when they needed guidance or help in resolving disputes with management. FSJ: In your view, how and where can AFSA add the most value? JFT: I have seen firsthand how AFSA has helped its members over and over during my career. At the recent AFSA awards ceremony, I was so pleased to learn of AFSA’s support for initiatives dealing with disabled children of FSOs. And AFSA raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the legal expenses Former U.S. ambassadors to Russia (from left) John Tefft, Alexander “Sandy” Vershbow, John Beyrle, and William “Bill” Burns, at a dinner hosted in their honor by former Ambassador-atLarge for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer at her home on Jan. 13, 2018. COURTESY OF JOHN TEFFT