Monday, August 22, 2005

On Leadership

I'm still spitting with rage at the Brit general who publicly disparaged the men he's paid to lead. In my career, ex-military folks have been the best of colleagues - resolute, analytical, calm and brave - regardless of their social origins.

Here's my advice to young Brit officers.

1. Throughout its history, your Army has been the nation's engine for converting young people from all levels of society into solid citizens. Your role is not just to produce warriors, but people who, after discharge, will become pillars of society.

2. Your job is to lead, and that means winning the respect of your men and then teaching them teamwork and fighting skills.

3. Leadership requires two-way respect (which you should not confuse with familiarity).

4. Your job is complex, but millions of ordinary predecessors have performed it well, so be of good heart.

5. Oh, and as your first principle, you should never, ever, disparage in public the people you command. Besides being dishonorable, this will cause you forever to forfeit their respect.