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May 21, 2009

On Leadership

I've been doing some research lately on leadership, and I ran across this very useful website called The Teal Trust. Among its many pages is one containing quotations on leadership. Here are three of my favorites:

"Charisma becomes the undoing of leaders. It makes them inflexible, convinced of their own infallibility, unable to change." -- Peter Drucker

"Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy." -- Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

"I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod." -- Sir Winston Churchill

What are some of your favorite sayings about leadership?

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jason taylor

The grandson of the famed climber Tenzing Norgay using his family reputation to prod unwilling porters 'I understand why you are angry,' I told them sincerely, 'but we are Sherpas and we have never willingly let anyone die on a mountain. It is not our way. We have a great tradition, especially on Everest and to do this would bring great shame on our people."-Tenzing and the Sherpas of Everest by Judy Tenzing

"Leave that to me. I am the only one who must apologize to his majesty"-Adm Yammamoto facing defeat(MIDWAY, with Henry Fonda, etc)

"The Spartans are free, but not in all things. Their Law is their master. They fear it more then your slaves fear you." Spartan renegade describing his people to Xerxes.

"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three hundred to build a tradition"-Adm Andrew Brown Cunningham rescuing stranded troops at Crete

Jason Taylor

"Be so good as to call your peasants cattle"-sarcastic rebuke of her nobles MISUSE of authority by Czarina Catherine the Great

Jason Taylor

An anecdote about Adm William Halsey and about the proper use and the abuse of authority:

One of the most popular places on any US navy vessel in the Pacific was the
ice-cream("gedunk") bar. There was an unwritten rule in the navy that
a sailor had the right to eat as much ice cream as he wanted, in any
combination. So the gedunk line was a busy place, as men waited patiently for
their turn to whip up some fanciful concoction.
Naval historian Samuel Eliot Morrison, himself a veteran of the Pacific
war, once observed that British tars often joked about their American cousins' addiction to ice cream, claiming that their grog ration was a superiorpriveledge, but always seemed to head straight for the gedunk bar whenever they were guests on an American vessel.

Anyway, the gedunk line was once the scene of an unusual confrontation. It
seems that two freshly minted ensigns aboard the battleship New Jersey, the
flagship of the Third Fleet, decided they wanted some ice cream. Unfortunately, the gedunk line was interminably long with dozens of sailors waiting patiently
for their turn at the ice-cream bar.

Immensely conscious of their exalted rank, the two decided to jump to the head of the line. When they tried to cut in at the head of the line, saying something like "Gangway for officers," there was grumbling in the ranks. Then a
strong voice rose above those of the other men in line, calling out something
like "Get back where you belong," albeit much less politely. Just as
they were about to deliver a severe dressing down to the insubordinate sailor who dared challenge their authority, a rather stocky, craggy-faced fellow
stepped out to confront them. It was William F. Halsey, of considerably more
exalted rank then they, being a full admiral and comander of the Third Fleet,
who had been patiently waiting for his turn at the gedunk bar. The mortified
ensigns learned a valueable lesson on officer/enlisted relations and
"Bill"(never "Bull" except in the press)Halsey added still
more luster to his already formidable reputation among the sailors of the fleet.

Dirty Little Secrets of World War II by James Dunnigan

Jason Taylor

"He never exactly obeyed you. He sometimes agreed with you."
-C. S. Lewis describing his dog.


Dogs have owners---Cats have staff...

Maybe I'm a bit off topic...but what cat ever though anyone else was worthy to be followed? (unless Cat is following you to the cat bowl where you have placed food)

jason taylor

I can't think of a cat that thought other's leadership was worthy of him. Which is why autocrats don't like cats.

But the behavior of a beloved dog might be remembered for in being a good leader it might be helpful to remember what it is like to be a good servant.

Jason Taylor

A WORLD personage who maintained the highest traditions of the English constitutional monarchy passes in the death of His Majesty King George VI.

From his accession to the throne through all the ills which beset the world throughout the years of his reign--including the most disastrous war in history--he played his part nobly and with full understanding of the responsibility which was his. His heroic endurance of pain and suffering during these past few years is a true reflection of the bravery of the British people in adversity.

The King was ever conscious of his obligations as sovereign of a nation which through centuries has been the champion of personal liberty and those free institutions which ruthless dictators despise. He shared to the end of his reign all the hardships and austerities which evil days imposed on the brave British people. In return he received from the people of the whole Commonwealth a love and devotion which went beyond the usual relationship of a King and his subjects. This relationship flowed from the kindness of the King's heart and his complete dedication to those he both ruled and served.

The visit of the late King and his gracious Queen to this country heightened the good relations between our two peoples. Then there followed the visit last year of Her Royal Highness, now Queen Elizabeth II. It is a commentary on present day democracy that the daughters of the King of England and the President of the United States could exchange visits on a basis of friendship and mutual understanding and good will.

My deepest sympathy goes out to the British people. God bless Queen Elizabeth and may her father's exemplary memory provide the courage and inspiration she will need in the great responsibilities that lie before her.

Harry Truman, on the death of King George VI

Jason Taylor

This is Livy's version of the tale that inspired generations of Roman Nobles like Regulus, Fabius, and the Great Scipio, the man who defeated Hannibal. It is perhaps to long, but it is almost necessary in discussing leadership and how a true leader is a servant.

An immense body of Sabines came in their ravages almost up to the walls of the City. The fields were ruined, the City thoroughly alarmed. Now the plebeians cheerfully took up arms, the tribunes remonstrated in vain, and two large armies were levied. Nautius led one of them against the Sabines, formed an entrenched camp, sent out, generally at night, small bodies who created such destruction in the Sabine territory that the Roman borders appeared in comparison almost untouched by war. Minucius was not so fortunate, nor did he conduct the campaign with the same energy; after taking up an entrenched position not far from the enemy, he remained timidly within his camp, though he had not suffered any important defeat. As usual, the enemy were emboldened by the lack of courage on the other side. They made a night attack on his camp, but as they gained little by a direct assault they proceeded the following day to invest it. Before all the exits were closed by the circumvallation, five mounted men got through the enemies' outposts and brought to Rome the news that the consul and his army were blockaded. Nothing could have happened so unlooked for, so undreamed of; the panic and confusion were as great as if it had been the City and not the camp that was invested. The consul Nautius was summoned home, but as he did nothing equal to the emergency, they decided to appoint a Dictator to retrieve the threatening position of affairs. By universal consent L. Quinctius Cincinnatus was called to the office.

It is worth while for those who despise all human interests in comparison with riches, and think that there is no scope for high honours or for virtue except where lavish wealth abounds, to listen to this story. The one hope of Rome, L. Quinctius Cincinnatus , used to cultivate a four-acre field on the other side of the Tiber, just opposite the place where the dockyard and arsenal are now situated; it bears the name of the " Quinctian Meadows." There he was found by the deputation from the senate either digging out a ditch or ploughing, at all events, as is generally agreed, intent on his husbandry. After mutual salutations he was requested to put on his toga that he might hear the mandate of the senate, and they expressed the hope that it might turn out well for him and for the State. He asked them, in surprise, if all was well, and bade his wife, Racilia, bring him his toga quickly from the cottage. Wiping off the dust and perspiration, he put it on and came forward, on which the deputation saluted him as Dictator and congratulated him, invited him to the City and explained the state of apprehension in which the army were. A vessel had been provided for him by the government, and after he had crossed over, he was welcomed by his three sons, who had come out to meet him. They were followed by other relatives and friends, and by the majority of the senate. Escorted by this numerous gathering and preceded by the lictors, he was conducted to his house. There was also an enormous gathering of the plebs, but they were by no means so pleased to see Quinctius Cincinnatus ; they regarded the power with which he was invested as excessive, and the man himself more dangerous than his power. Nothing was done that night beyond adequately guarding the City.

The following morning the Dictator went, before daylight, into the Forum and named as his Master of the Horse, L. Tarquitius, a member of a patrician house, but owing to his poverty he had served in the infantry, where he was considered by far the finest of the Roman soldiers. In company with the Master of the Horse the Dictator proceeded to the Assembly, proclaimed a suspension of all public business, ordered the shops to be closed throughout the City, and forbade the transaction of any private business whatever. Then he ordered all who were of military age to appear fully armed in the Campus Martius before sunset, each with five days' provisions and twelve palisades. Those who were beyond that age were required to cook the rations for their neighbours, whilst they were getting their arms ready and looking for palisades. So the soldiers dispersed to hunt for palisades; they took them from the nearest places, no one was interfered with, all were eager to carry out the Dictator's edict. The formation of the army was equally adapted for marching or, if circumstances required, for fighting; the Dictator led the legions in person, the Master of the Horse was at the head of his cavalry. To both bodies words of encouragement were addressed suitable to the emergency, exhorting them to march at extra speed, for there was need of haste if they were to reach the enemy at night; a Roman army with its consul had been now invested for three days, it was uncertain what a day or a night might bring forth, tremendous issues often turned on a moment of time. The men shouted to one another, "Hurry on, standard-bearer!" "Follow up, soldiers!" to the great gratification of their leaders. They reached Algidus at midnight, and on finding that they were near the enemy, halted.

The Dictator, after riding round and reconnoitering as well as he could in the night the position and shape of the camp, commanded the military tribunes to give orders for the baggage to be collected together and the soldiers with their arms and palisades to resume their places in the ranks. His orders were carried out. Then, keeping the formation in which they had marched, the whole army, in one long column, surrounded the enemies' lines. At a given signal all were ordered to raise a shout; after raising the shout each man was to dig a trench in front of him and fix his palisade. As soon as the order reached the men, the signal followed. The men obeyed the order, and the shout rolled round the enemies' line and over them into the consul's camp. In the one it created panic, in the other rejoicing. The Romans recognised their fellow-citizens' shout, and congratulated one another on help being at hand. They even made sorties from their outposts against the enemy and so increased their alarm. The consul said there must be no delay, that shout meant that their friends had not only arrived but were engaged, he should be surprised if the outside of the enemies' lines was not already attacked. He ordered his men to seize their arms and follow him. A nocturnal battle began. They notified the Dictator's legions by their shouts that on their side too the action had commenced. The Aequi were already making preparations to prevent themselves from being surrounded when the enclosed enemy began the battle; to prevent their lines from being broken through, they turned from those who were investing them to fight the enemy within, and so left the night free for the Dictator to complete his work. The fighting with the consul went on till dawn. By this time they were completely invested by the Dictator, and were hardly able to keep up the fight against one army. Then their lines were attacked by Quinctius Cincinnatus ' army, who had completed the circumvallation and resumed their arms. They had now to maintain a fresh conflict, the previous one was in no way slackened. Under the stress of the double attack they turned from fighting to supplication, and implored the Dictator on the one side and the consul on the other not to make their extermination the price of victory, but to allow them to surrender their arms and depart. The consul referred them to the Dictator, and he, in his anger, determined to humiliate his defeated enemy. He ordered Gracchus Cloelius and others of their principal men to be brought to him in chains, and the town of Corbio to be evacuated. He told the Aequi he did not require their blood, they were at liberty to depart; but, as an open admission of the defeat and subjugation of their nation, they would have to pass under the yoke. This was made of three spears, two fixed upright in the ground, and the third tied to them across the top. Under this yoke the Dictator sent the Aequi.

Their camp was found to be full of everything-for they had been sent away with only their shirts on-and the Dictator gave the whole of the spoil to his own soldiers alone. Addressing the consul and his army in a tone of severe rebuke, "You, soldiers," he said, "will go without your share of the spoil, for you all but fell a spoil yourselves to the enemy from whom it was taken; and you, L. Minucius, will command these legions as a staff officer, until you begin to show the spirit of a consul." Minucius laid down his consulship and remained with the army under the Dictator's orders. But such unquestioning obedience did men in those days pay to authority when ably and wisely exercised, that the soldiers, mindful of the service he had done them rather than of the disgrace inflicted on them, voted to the Dictator a gold crown a pound in weight, and when he left they saluted him as their "patron." Quintus Fabius, the prefect of the City, convened a meeting of the senate, and they decreed that Quinctius Cincinnatus , with the army he was bringing home, should enter the City in triumphal procession. The commanding officers of the enemy were led in front, then the military standards were borne before the general's chariot, the army followed loaded with spoil. It is said that tables spread with provisions stood before all the houses, and the feasters followed the chariot with songs of triumph and the customary jests and lampoons. On that day the freedom of the City was bestowed on L. Mamilius the Tusculan, amidst universal approval. The Dictator would at once have laid down his office had not the meeting of the Assembly for the trial of M. Volscius detained him: fear of the Dictator prevented the tribunes from obstructing it. Volscius was condemned and went into exile at Lanuvium. Quinctius Cincinnatus resigned on the sixteenth day the dictatorship which had been conferred upon him for six months.

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