Effective Leadership Traits: A look at Norman Schwarzkopf
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about today’s blog topic: Leadership. I’ve done some research on the issue and of course there is no shortage of great articles on the internet about the subject of leadership. In fact, my colleague Matt Rocco recently published a fantastic article on leadership that you can read here. His article highlights the difference between highly successful leaders and those who are not…..and yes, within the realm of leadership, there are various types of leaders. Those who are highly successful and those who are not. Leaders that others are eager to follow and those leaders others would rather not follow.
This last one got me thinking: What is the common denominator in people who seem to be incredibly effective at getting people to WANT to follow them? There are a few leaders who lived throughout the twentieth century who, in my view, seemed to have a knack for being the kind of leader that people WANTED to follow. Those leaders are: Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Norman Schwarzkopf. Now the obvious trait that we initially see in these leaders is the immense success each experienced as they led nations through enormous conflict. However, looking below the surface, each of these men possessed a certain leadership quality that had a way of inspiring those around them.
I’d like to take my next few blog entries to focus on these individuals. Let’s start with General Norman Schwarzkopf. He commanded the US and coalition military forces during the Persian Gulf War. If you recall, his nickname during this time was Stormin’ Norman. He led one of the shortest and most decisive military victories in US History. If you are old enough to recall this conflict, you know that it was the first war to be televised and it was this vehicle of television that catapulted Gen. Schwarzkopf to fame. He was simply one of the most likeable individuals who had the perfect balance of toughness and warmth. As I researched information about him, I found there was no shortage of information about his leadership. One of the articles discussed his 14 rules of leadership outlined in his book “It Doesn’t Take A Hero”. Each of his 14 rules are worthy of their own blog, however I’d like to mention a few that caught my attention.
- Leaders lead people not systems or processes. This seems quite obvious and simple however it’s stunning to see how often leaders can lose sight of this. I’ve seen it over and over again. When the focus becomes the process, nothing gets accomplished and everyone seems to lose.
- Character people pick character to follow during times of crisis. People want to follow someone who has the strength of character to do the right thing. A person with character quickly earns respect which is another essential of a great leader.
- Don’t tell them how to do the job! Allocate resources, set standards and the results will exceed expectations. Leaders do not deal with how to get the job done, they surround themselves with talent, allocate resources, remove roadblocks and allow the talent to excel.
- Leaders love their “troops” and let them know in many ways. Another aspect of leadership I’ve seen hold true. When the people we lead truly know that we care, it can make all the difference.
For General Norman Schwarzkopf, these were qualities he possessed that made him a very effective leader; one that people very willingly followed. This is the kind of leader I want to be; how about you?
Dilip Barot is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Etech Global Services, and founder of Creative Choice Group, headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Etech employs 2,500 team members across the US, India and Jamaica. If you would like to learn more about Etech, contact email@example.com for more information