Despite the night-and-day contrast between Dyer's life back in the States and in Iraq, there is one aspect he has found to be tremendously similar—his leadership duties. He says the main leadership challenge he faces in his military role is the same one he faces in working with clients at the law firm.

“Without question, the toughest leadership challenge is leading without being in charge, per se,” he wrote in one e-mail. “I'm not in command here, and I'm not leading anyone in the sense that a combat commander tells a hundred of his men to take a hill. I'm part of a staff, but not all opinions that come from staff members—even if they hold equal positions in the pecking order—are given equal weight.”

Dyer says there's a striking ...

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