On Leadership – Colonel Glover S. Johns Jr.

I wanted to share this quote from a book I am reading. About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior by Colonel David Hackworth. This is from a farewell address from Colonel Glover S. Johns Jr.

Johns was a leader who taught by example, so most of the points he made weren’t exactly new to us. But to hear in a single speech this great man’s basic philosophy of soldiering was like being let in on the secret ingredients of some magical formula. To wit:

– Strive to do small things well.

– Be a doer and a self-starter–aggressiveness and initiative are two most admired qualities in a leader–but you must also put your feet up and think.

– Strive for self-improvement through constant self-evaluation.

– Never be satisfied. Ask of any project. How can it be done better?

– Don’t over inspect or over supervise. Allow your leaders to make mistakes in training, so they can profit form the errors and not make them in combat.

– Keep the troops informed; telling them “what, how and why” builds their confidence.

– The harder the training , the more troops will brag.

– Enthusiasm, fairness, and moral and physical courage– four of the most important aspects of leadership.

– Showmanship–a vital technique of leadership.

– The ability to speak and write well– two essential tools of leadership.

– There is a salient difference between profanity and obscenity; while a leader employs profanity (tempered with discretion), he never uses obscenities.

– Have consideration for others.

– Yelling distracts from your dignity; take men aside to counsel them.

– Understand and use judgement; know when to stop fighting for something you believe is right. Discus and argue your point of view until a decision is made, then support the decision wholeheartedly.

– Stay ahead of your boss.

pg. 402-403

©Larry Buffaloboy