Thoughts on Leadership

During the Korean War, General Douglas McArthur was so pleased with the Marine Corps’ performance during the Inchon invasion that he wanted to personally congratulate their commander, General Chesty Puller. He went to his headquarters located at the rear of the division but he was not there. MacArthur was miffed and asked where Puller was and was told to go to the front. MacArthur went to the front lines and found Puller a few feet from the thick of things, bullets flying, bombs exploding, calmly giving orders. “Puller, what on earth are you doing here?” he asked. Puller saluted and said simply “I only know how to lead from the front.” That is a leader.

A leader is the first to arrive and the last to leave. She gives credit; she does not point the finger of blame to her people. She knows that if the organization does well, she has done her job. She does not shirk responsibility. She does not pass the buck for she knows the buck stops at her desk (Harry Truman).

A leader knows who to kick in the butt and who to put an arm around. Her subordinates are not mere cogs in a machine, totally interchangeable; they are people, with good and bad in them. She brings out the best in them. She yells at those who respond to it, but always protects them from outsiders. A leader sees a burning building and rushes in without glancing back, knowing her people will follow. Because a leader knows how to instill the idea of duty, above and beyond. Admiral Horatio Nelson told his sailors at Trafalgar, “England expects that every man will do his duty.” And they all did.

Now look around you and see if you can find a politician in PR who is a leader.


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