Memorial Day Leadership Lessons
Memorial Day is about more than barbecues, at least it should be. It is a day to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who served in our armed forces and gave what Abraham Lincoln famously referred to as the "last full measure of devotion" to this country.
The men who led them into battle also gave us many important ideas about leadership and strategy that have proven just as valid and useful in the world of business as they have in the arena of war. But many business leaders find that their efforts to apply these principles fall short of their mark.
I learned why this week from a friend who is a major in the U.S. Army.
"Military leadership is built on the foundation of shared suffering," he explained to me. "Most people who try to apply the principles of military leadership don't understand that."
He said America's greatest generals were great because they understood this principle and lived by it. Generals such as Lee and Sherman cared deeply about their soldiers and shared not only in their triumphs, but also in their privations.
As Gen. Patton once said, "Do everything you ask of those you command."
That is good advice - and it is advice that many business leaders too often fail to heed.