Leading Teams and Delighting Customers

Tag: Churchill

Listen, Learn, and Help. Then, Lead.

I’m constantly drawn to leaders in military settings. I suspect it’s because of the immense gravity surrounding their specific situation.

It’s hard to fathom what it’s like to lead a country being bombed on a nightly basis like Churchill or finding a way to stay positive when you’re facing a seemingly dominant adversary with a dwindling force and no money to pay new recruits like Washington.

These situations only magnify the importance of great leadership, which makes them all the more useful for us to learn from.

Recently, I finished reading Call Sign Chaos by four-star General James Mattis and Bing West. The book traces Mattis’ 44-year career through the Marine Corps and the various leadership lessons he learned along the way. Outside of the direct experience he gained leading millions of troops in battle, Mattis is a voracious student of military history.

When someone with this much experience offers to share their knowledge, it’s not a bad idea to listen!

Mattis continually referred to the “Listen, learn, and help. Then, lead” leadership style attributed to George Washington. This approach provides a helpful contrast against the typical power-hungry

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Churchill on Leading With Calm During a Crisis

I recently finished reading The Splendid and the Vile, a fantastic novel depicting Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. While reading, I was struck by the gravity of the situation Churchill faced immediately upon stepping into office.

Hitler had begun his conquest across Europe conquering Holland and Belgium. France would fall soon afterwards. Throughout his first 12 months as Prime Minister, Germany would bomb the United Kingdom relentlessly, killing tens of thousands and destroying many cities. Leading a nation at any time would be a monumental task. Leading a nation through World War II, with the threat of constant bombing and imminent invasion is hard to fathom.

Throughout it all, across many public addresses, Churchill recognized the importance of maintaining a confident and positive front. It was perhaps one of his greatest traits, presenting a courageous attitude that made other people feel stronger and more hopeful.

He articulated the importance of this specifically in a message to all ministers:

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