John Keegan, former senior lecturer at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in the UK, wrote The Mask of Command, which is about military leadership. He wrote about 4 generals -archetypal hero Alexander the Great, anti-hero Wellington, the unheroic Ulysses S. Grant and the false heroic of Hitler.
Keegan lists the qualities he considers necessary for effective military leadership. Among them, he says EXAMPLE is the most important. He writes, "The first and greatest imperative of command is to be present in person. Those who impose risk must be seen to share it..."
Do you think this is also necessary for effective leadership in the business world? In my ezine, I asked readers to write and tell me what they thought.
From the mailbag:
"My favorite boss was my favorite because she was there with us when the rubber hit the road. I remember one time we had to get something to the federal court and all the electricity went out in the building. She sat out in the parking lot with me while we waited for a courier to come pick up the work. She sure didn't have to do that! Another time we had an impossible deadline on a pleading, and instead of throwing it at us, she went into the workroom and helped us get it all assembled and out the door. And she was always calm at these times. It kept us from getting stressed. She was my hero for being there with us at the worst of times. Other bosses I've had just walked out the door, like they didn't want to be around "it". Well we didn't really, either! I don't know that we really needed her to accomplish these things, but the goodwill it engendered was invaluable. It made us go the extra mile." S.D., San Antonio, Tx
"i only quit one job in my whole work life and that was because the boss was so nervous about everything. he tried to hide it too. every time there was a mess, he would leave. he'd say he had to go to lunch or something. he just didn't want to be there when it got hard we could tell. it got to us after a while." S.G., Durham, N.C.
"My boss is really in an impossible situation. Way in over his head (lots of business), and that makes the whole thing disorganized, but there just isn't time to get organized the way it should be, so it is always behind the 8-ball. It makes the work difficult and high-pressure. But he always stay late with us, and he always orders us dinner, whatever we want. I have been there more than once till midnight, but he is there too, red-eyed like the rest of us. It makes a difference." S.A., Dallas, Texas
Write and tell me what you think - firstname.lastname@example.org .