9 Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall

The Leader’s Bookshelf is a great resource on leadership. There is one chapter on the book “Soldier Statesman Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall.” Here are the 9 principles of leadership which are timeless.
Do the right thing - This is the principle of integrity. George Marshall stood for the highest of values. In our lives this can be applied by clearly defining our mission statement, clearly defining the values we want to stand by and keeping our promises.
Master the situation – This is the principle of action. As a leader action is everything. Another key quality a leader needs is flexibility which is the ability to be nimble under the onslaught of change. Assess the situation and take appropriate action.
Serve the greater good – This is the principle of selflessness. Servant leadership is the best form of leadership. You have to find a mighty cause that serves a larger purpose than just profit. Business when it is combined with altruism is great for the world.
Speak your mind – This is the principle of candor. Of course Jack Welch was famous for imparting candor in GE which worked big time. Candor is saying things like it is. It is not the easiest thing to do but when you have a culture of candor trust is fertilized.
Lay the ground work – This is the principle of preparation. Preparation is the hallmark of truly great leaders. Preparation for every business objective moves you closer to where you want to be.
Share knowledge- This is the principle on learning and teaching. With technology and information exploding in all directions equipping your people with all the knowledge needed is critical for the success of your enterprise. Conduct training programs on cutting edge topics and ensure your team is equipped with the best information.
Choose and reward the right people – Rewards and reinforcement are the keys to maintain high morale within the organization. It is also imperative that rewards are provided for the right people who have achieved the most. Rewards do reinforce the performance you want to see.
Focus on the big picture – This is the principle of vision. Whenever I hear the word vision I am reminded of this line from John F Kennedy. “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” This is the best example of a vision. He articulated the vision which laid the groundwork for a decade of effort but more importantly it was a vision that outlasted him as a person.
Support the troops – This is the principle of caring. If you show genuine warmth for your team and you really engage with your people they will do their best for you. Leadership is truly a privilege and the leaders who win in the end are those who truly put people first.
There you have it the 9 lessons on leadership. I found these to be great qualities that all of us can strive for on our leadership journey.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.

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