I am looking at BornTwoLead’s title header. Along with the words “BornTwoLead” and a quote on top of blue sky, there are the pictures of the leaders whose qualities TJ had chose exemplified what leadership is all about. There is Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and yes, that little figure in that group shot is GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Maybe I am getting too old, but I can’t help thinking what makes those men different than those people who are in Washington today. Democrats, Republicans, Senators, Republicans, and the Executive branch all seem to have lost their leadership ability.
Is it because we have settled for a group of professional politicians instead of real leaders?
Winston Churchill, although he was born in an aristocratic family, he spend most of his time as a military man, starting in 1893, the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, where he applied for the cavalry. He served a long hard military service. While he was serving, he also wrote about his exploits. In 1941, he received the honor of being appointed Regimental Colonel of the 4th Hussars, an honor which was increased after the Second World War when he was appointed as Colonel-in-Chief.
Although, Churchill was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, it never stayed there long. He had a down to earth, hard living life. And from this experience came one of the finest Prime Ministers that England has ever seen. A real leader who lead Great Britain against Hitler’s attack.
“It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” –Winston Churchill
General Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in 1890, in Denison, Texas, the third of seven boys. His father owned a general store (which went bankrupt), was a mechanic, first for the railroad, and then for a creamery. He accepted an appointment to West Point because he could get an education since he couldn’t afford any tuition. His military service was legendary. By World War 2, In December 1943, President Roosevelt decided that Eisenhower would be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
He is one of those responsible with the victory of the D-Day Normandy landings.
And of course, Eisenhower was considered one of the great, and best loved presidents of the United States.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
I do these leaders a great disservice. I don’t even begin to scratch the surface of these great men’s contribution to their country. To begin to do justice to these men, this article would be the length of the New York City telephone directory.
But I write this to make a point.
These two greats learned by getting their hands dirty. They learned the hard way how to lead men. They were soldiers. They had a job to do. And they did it. The Army was a training ground for the leadership positions that were to be.
Long before John Maxwell wrote about how leaders should share the credit and take the blame, Eisenhower wrote this note behind just in case the D-Day invasion failed:“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”
This was a sign of character. Something you can not learn from a book. Eisenhower had the Army, while Churchill had the British Navy who not only taught them leadership, but values such as honesty, loyalty, service, honor, respect, and integrity.
When we look to the next election to decide who should replace those lawmakers that are there now, may I suggest there is no better incubator of leadership talent than the Armed Forces.
Let’s continue the conversation below. What attributes are you looking for in the next generation of our country’s leadership? Please share in the comment section.