Lead Like A General (The US Army’s Nine Principles of War)
War is a time when leadership matters! It is a time when lives are at stake.
And in your life and mine – I believe that leadership also absolutely matters. While people may not die because of our failure to lead well, many will undoubtedly suffer.
So what can we learn from great leadership in the military? A lot…
Here are The Nine Principles of War from the US Army Field Manual and a few of my thoughts on each one. As I read through these, most of them seemed simple, but most of them are not simple to consistently apply.
So, what can we learn from leadership in the military?
1. Objective – Direct all efforts to a clearly defined, decisive, and obtainable goal.
- What is your objective?
- Is it clear?
2. Offensive – Seize the initiative in a decisive manner.
- Some teams play to win, some play not to lose. Have the courage to pounce on what you are trying to accomplish. We need to simply “bring home the bacon”!
- If you wait for the perfect moment to act, you never will.
3. Mass – Concentrate your combat power at a time when it matters most.
- Use and concentrate your greatest strengths. Do you know what they are?
- Use them at the right time to achieve your objective.
4. The Economy of Force – Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.
- You cannot be everything to all people.
- Know what is secondary and give it your minimum effort.
5. Maneuver – Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.
- Be flexible, adaptable, and ready to change with the demands on the ground.
- Draw great plans, but be ready to change them during battle.
6. Unity of command – All forces shall be under one responsible commander with authority to direct all forces in pursuit of a unified purpose.
- Take the responsibility as a leader.
- Delegate authority and responsibility, but be accountable to the final result yourself.
7. Security – Knowledge and understanding of enemy strategy, tactics, doctrine, and staff planning improve the detailed planning of adequate security measures.
- Understand clearly what you are up against and what the risks are to your team or organization.
8. Surprise – Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared.
- Choose the right time to attack your objective.
9. Simplicity – Simple plans, and clear concise orders minimize misunderstanding and confusion.
- Simplicity is imperative for continued success in your business and life.
Whatever you are up against as a leader, I wish you success! People are depending on you…keep on learning and improving.
And keep on fighting! I salute you for your sacrifice, integrity, and honor as you lead your people forward!
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