Academic journal article Military Review

Leadership: Lessons from the Past for the Future

Academic journal article Military Review

Leadership: Lessons from the Past for the Future

Article excerpt

"A good soldier, whether he leads a platoon or an army, is expected to look backward as well as forward; but he must think always forward."

General Douglas MacArthur

What an incredible legacy we have inherited from the soldiers and leaders who have gone before us. They established a reputation of professionalism, dedication and selfsacrifice that has made our Army legendary. This tradition of vigilance and ability to motivate, encourage, develop and guide others to achieve their full potential has been the key to US Army battlefield victory for the past 223 years. The leader's ability, knowledge, exertion, inspiration and capacity to function under stress enabled soldiers to perform far beyond the point where a less-inspired commander would have taken them. Such leadership takes place at the "point of the sword," where the fighting is the fiercest. It also takes place at operational levels of command, where the commander is very visible but is not necessarily wielding a rifle, machinegun or grenade launcher. Finally, it can be found at the strategic level of command, where senior of ficers' vision, direction and creativity often lead to spectacular results. Leadership lessons gleaned from the past will indeed be a hallmark for leadership success in the future.

To meet the expanding challenges of a world undergoing unprecedented and accelerating change, we must develop leaders who understand history's implications and can apply these lessons to exploit current doctrine's full potential. …

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