This is the second in a series of articles examining Leadership Lessons from the highly effective – yet often underrated – world-renowned leader named Dwight D. Eisenhower, the thirty-fourth president of the United States.
In the book entitled: Dwight Eisenhower’s Leadership Lessons, the editors write the following:
“As commander of all the allied troops, Dwight Eisenhower led the greatest military machine in the history of the world. First in North Africa, then in Sicily and Italy, and finally in the invasion of Normandy, he used his logistical genius and diplomatic skill to coordinate his forces and keep his quarrelsome allies in line.”
Note the emphasis on logistical and diplomatic skills rather than trying to force something on his colleagues via raw power or title. Even minor exposure to local, national and international media quickly confirms that many leaders continue to make the deadly mistake of trying to force people to do things via perceived power of position and authority. Sooner or later, this mistake almost always destroys the perceived power, position and authority of the “leader” who makes this fatal mistake. The important leadership lesson is that in almost all cases, diplomacy is far more effective, both short and long term, than forcing your will on others via raw power, title or authority.
Never forget General George C. Marshal’s very true statement: “There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
The editors of the book Dwight Eisenhower’s Leadership Lessons further elaborate as follows:
“Winston Churchill was reluctant to establish a foothold in southern France; Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery thought he was better qualified than Eisenhower to be in command; the imperious Charles DeGaulle always knew better than anyone else. Eisenhower said his role was to be chairman of the board – and with tact and diplomacy, he held his armies together.”
The same is true for your life, your work, your career and your leadership throughout every area of your life. Become exceptionally competent in carrying out the role of chairman of the board. With tact and diplomacy, hold your family, friends, colleagues, teams, company, partners, customers and clients together.
If you become exceptionally competent in carrying out the role of the chairman of the board, as Eisenhower defined and lived it, you will have achieved The Ultimate Strategy for Success, which is Leadership Excellence!