American Generalship: Character Is Everything: The Art of Command

By Edgar F. Puryear Jr. | Go to book overview

Chapter 11: The Pattern

There are thousands of articles and books written on leadership, and many different theories on how to lead successfully. One theory is called the quality or trait approach, listing professional knowledge, decision, equity, humanity, loyalty, courage, consideration, integrity, selflessness, and character. But listing these qualities is not enough to describe a successful approach to leadership. These qualities need to be given life and meaning by describing them around the careers of men who have proven themselves as successful leaders in the greatest test of all, war. I have described these qualities in my previous books: Nineteen Stars: A Study in Military Leadership and Character; Stars in Flight: A Study in Air Force Character and Leadership; and General S. Brown: Destined for Stars. With this study of leadership success, I have added more recent generals, which represents thirty-five years of research -- conducting more than a hundred one-on-one personal interviews with four-star generals. In addition, I have corresponded with and interviewed more than a thousand officers of the grade of brigadier general or higher. I have consulted hundreds of biographies, memoirs, and other texts on military leadership. The objective was to determine why these generals thought they were successful leaders. I have concluded that there is a pattern to successful leadership. American Generalship develops the consensus of their thoughts on successful leadership.

The most important of these qualities is character. After the surrender of Germany in World War II, Churchill wrote in a letter glowing terms of appreciation for Marshall's leadership and specifically emphasized addressing his "respect and admiration for your character." There are many references in this book emphasizing the importance of character. Woodrow Wilson, in a speech at the Univer

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American Generalship: Character Is Everything: The Art of Command
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chapter 1: Selflessness 1
  • Notes 41
  • Chapter 2: Decision 44
  • Notes 75
  • Chapter 3: "Feel" or "Sixth Sense" in Decision Making 77
  • Notes 105
  • Chapter 4: Aversion to "Yes Men" 108
  • Notes 140
  • Chapter 5: Books 142
  • Notes 184
  • Chapter 6: Mentorship 188
  • Notes 233
  • Chapter 7: Consideration 236
  • Notes 259
  • Chapter 8: Delegation 261
  • Notes 282
  • Chapter 9: Fix the Problem, Not the Blame 285
  • Notes 299
  • Chapter 10: Reflective Descriptions of Character 301
  • Notes 335
  • Chapter 11: the Pattern 338
  • Notes 362
  • Index 367
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