Veteran’s Day

Today, in the U.S., it is Veteran’s Day.  And I have several family members and close friends who have worn the uniform of the United States of America.  Although it is not my intention to turn this dialog into one that is centered on the military.  But, I would be remiss if I failed to reflect on the the subject of leadership while in the shadow of Veteran’s Day.

So, I will take as non-partisan approach as I possibly can and make it short and sweet as I reflect on leadership within the context of the military.

A colleague and very dear friend at work has a quote anchored in the signature block of every email that he sends.  It is a quote by General George S. Patton.  That quote is this:

Patton Quote 1

I plan to spend a great deal of time in the coming days dealing with many aspects of leadership.  But, I don’t ever want to lose sight of the fact that sometimes as a leader we must stand back and let our “troops” do what they have been trained to do or what they can figure out using their God-given talents and abilities.  This may sound a little laissez-faire or soft to you.  I don’t think anyone would ever confuse “Old Blood and Guts” with someone who was soft.  So, if he was willing to adopt this approach from time to time, then there must be a leadership principle in there somewhere.

Don’t you think?


5 Replies to “Veteran’s Day”

  1. Oh boy!! Do I ever agree with this!! I have been under school principals who tell what they want our students to be like and then leave it up to me to use my smarts to get it done. The year goes very smoothly. Then, I have ones who tell me exactly what I should be doing, trying to dictate every move and it stifles me as a teacher. Good leaders surround themselves with good workers and then let them do their job. I think it also has to do with power…..many leaders feel like they will not have enough power and control unless they control every detail. I have never been in the military but I am sure there are plenty of examples found there as well.

  2. Good quote. And somehwere in there, the option of failure needs to be acknowledged. It seems to me that leadership needs to take that into account and use it as a means to teach rather than to burn down people. Understanding that some simply aren’t qualified. But those who are will at times fail as well, and we need to use that in a positive way.

  3. I find that quote extremely interesting. Being of a military background, I think that by the time a person is serving Gen. Patton, they would have plenty of training/experience to fall back on, so the quote works. There are a few things you don’t hear much in the military, at least not where I was, and that is “micro-managing” there is neither the time or the place for it. I like Patsy’s comment about “…surrounding themselves with good people…” I think we should all strive to do that. I also agree with Hans, that failures are a part of it. I dont think the failure is necessarily where the lesson is but maybe how we overcome the failure. Just a thought.

  4. Leadership and a little Veterans day.

    I never served in the military. Many of my friends did as well as my son, but I never did. That said, I have learned a couple of things from those that did, the quote from General Patton being one of them. The other two were: trust your troops ( employees, collegues), and one thing a good leader does is make his/her folks believe in themselves.

    In my humble opinion, that happens in a couple of ways – training, lots of training, and when those you are responsible for, make a mistake, an honest mistake, back them up, fade the heat as the leader. A leader needs to be willing to deal with mistakes if you are goingf to develop talent. Talk about what they have learned from that mistake and how they can apply that knowledge goiing forward. Define the problem, solve the problem, don’t spend all your time trying to find out “who shot John” and lose sight of the issue. In my career, i learned more from what went wrong than what went right.

    My opinion for what it is worth. .

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