Monday, September 29, 2014


Leadership is a topic that consumes a lot of time at West Point.  Sometimes it's taught explicitly in leadership classes, sometimes it's merely modeled, but the concept is omnipresent.  That doesn't mean that every West Point graduate is an ideal leader, far from it, but it does mean that every West Point graduate has had some of the best leadership training any person could hope to experience.

Some people are natural leaders, some learn how to lead.  Any leadership skills I have are of the latter variety.  And, contrary to the opinions of some, not everyone can be a good leader.  I would assert that, with good training, anyone should be able to improve his/her leadership skills, but good instruction doesn't guarantee a good outcome.

Things we were taught in order to make us better leaders include:
1.  Officers eat after the soldiers.  It's a sign of leadership to take care of your people before you take care of yourself.
2.  Don't ask your soldiers to do something you're unwilling to do.  That should be obvious.
3.  Take more than your fair share of the blame, and less than your fair share of the credit.

It's that last one that I'd like to focus on here for a moment.  Nobody respects someone who takes credit for other people's work, and people do respect those who give them credit for the work they've done.  It's just common sense.  And if you give a little less blame than is merited, and a little more credit that might be merited, people appreciate and respect that.  Making people feel valued is a key component of leadership.

It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog, then, that today's example of lousy leadership comes from Barack Obama.  The Instapundit's commentary on "IN" is pretty much an abdication of the my third point above:
OUT: President Obama is “among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.”
IN: Obama: Intel officials underestimated ISIS. When things go well, it’s always “I, me, mine” with this guy. When things go badly, it’s always “they” who screwed up.
Related: Former DHS chief: Obama made mistakes on ISIS.
The buck stops anywhere and everywhere except with him.  No one respects that.

1 comment:

KauaiMark said...

President O'BOZO...