The Leadership Secret

February 2, 2017

 

 

A few days ago I was reading the story and achievements of General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander of U.S. Central Command during the Gulf War of 1991. He was considered by ABC-TV's news magazine show as an American hero who “became famous for planning a strategic military strike that almost immediately crippled Iraqi forces.” As I read the story, I was impressed with an interview he gave to a TV show that was celebrating his leadership. One of the questions was:"How would you like to be remembered in the future?"

The answer was simple:"That I loved my troops.That my troops loved me."

What a superior view of leadership! In fact, this was the secret of Schwarzkopf’s leadership. The general is quoted as saying that his first priority in the war was protecting the well-being of his troops: "I have loved soldiers since my first platoon, the first I ever commanded."

Love doesn’t seem to be a very common word in the corporate environment nor in many other leadership settings. However, as Kouzes and Posner say, “The best-kept secret of successful leaders is love: staying in love with leading, with the people who do the work, with what their organizations produce, and with those who honor the organization by using its products and services” (The Leadership Challenge, 351). Maybe it is time for us to review our concepts of leadership. It is time to embrace a new leadership paradigm!

 

 

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