Monday, May 19, 2008

Guidelines for Effective Leadership

Originally uploaded by rebeccaregnier

Much of my initial training in leadership came at The United Stated Military Academy at West Point. As a young New Cadet on July 1st, 1983, I was issued a book called "Bugle Notes." The cover featured a silver profile of the statue of the man in profile above, General Douglas MacArthur. "Bugle Notes" is published once a year for each incoming plebe class and contains the history of West Point and its legends and traditions. It is a New Cadet's first exposure to the awesome history of that hallowed place.

I keep this book on my desk, some 25 years later, and refer to it from time to time. Today, I revisited a favorite touchstone on page 63 entitled: Guidelines for Effective Military Leadership. In the title of this post, I have deleted the word "military" because I believe, and have proven repeatedly, that these guidelines apply to all leaders, military or civilian. They are universal. Here they are:

  • Set the example (appearance, conduct, soldierly habit)
  • Know your personnel (background, interests, problems, strengths)
  • Be concerned for their welfare (basic, personal, family)
  • Keep them informed (get the word to the individual who does the job)
  • Be consistent (and fair in your dealings with all)
  • Be loyal to those above and below (loyalty is a two-way street)
  • Unselfishness (your subordinates come first)
  • Develop teamwork (work together toward common goals)
  • Learn to inspect (anything not inspected may be neglected)
  • Take notes (aid memory; insure your subordinates get all info)
  • Be yourself (recognize limitations; constantly work to improve)
  • Give orders in your own name

As I reflect on these guidelines, I thank God to have had the privilege to learn the foundation of leadership in such an incredible place.

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