Leaders are Lovers On and Off the Battlefield

 By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to inspire exemplary performance in yourself and others.

     “I shall always love you. I will never, ever, ever forget you.”

           No that isn’t a line out of a sexy movie or an excerpt from a sensational tabloid, even though those words of love fell gently from the lips of a giant of a man. So passionately. So poignantly.

General Norman Schwarzkopf

         Significantly, those words gushed from the heart of a General in the United States Army during a public speech he delivered so personally in front of his soldiers and a national television audience. The General pledged that he would always love and never forget his soldiers that he had led to victory in the Persian Gulf War in 1991.  General Norman Schwarzkopf was retiring from the army after 31 years.

         I was surprised to hear the word “LOVE” expressed so passionately by a General in the United States Army to his troops.  But I learned a lot about leadership that day from General Schwarzkopf. I learned that the most effective leaders love and respect their followers and consequently bring out the best in them.                Ever since that day —some 20 years ago -when I first heard General Schwarzkopf’s Love speech, I have tried to lead my teams in a more personal, more caring way.  And here’s what I found out:  Love ‘em and they will love back. And they perform better than you or they thought they could.

      Take it from former president and chief executive officer of SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Jan Carlzon who says:”You have to manage by love, you have to create an atmosphere in which people feel they are respected, that you have faith in them, even that you love them. They will dare to take risks. Dare to use their imagination.” And become even more successful than they thought they could be.

     Take it from Reggie Jackson,  the prolific home run hitter of Mr. October fame who batted his way into the Baseball Hall of Fame over 21 years with the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s.  “A great manager has a knack for making ballplayers think they are better than they think they are, ” Jackson  said. “He forces you to have a good opinion of yourself. He lets you know he believes in you. He makes you get more out of yourself. And once you learn how good you really are, you never settle for playing anything less than your very best.”

        In my experience the most effective leaders love their staffs as an extension of their families. Those loving leaders will continue to rule in the future, according to Joe Batten in his book Tough-Minded Leadership. Loving leaders possess “a synergistic blend of a tough mind and a tender heart.” Even in the horror of war.  Just ask General Norman Schwarzkopf.

Today’s ImproveMINT
Love your staff as an extension of your family to keep your leadership skills in mint condition.

You might also like these Leadership Mints on Caring.

Goosing the Goose Bumps
Saying I’m Sorry The Write Way
Confessions of a Listener: Father  I Have Sinned
Building Intimate Relationships

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7 thoughts on “Leaders are Lovers On and Off the Battlefield

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