The Contrails: Leadership

Image of various Contrails from through out the years.

Image of various Contrails from through out the years.

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

(Editor's note: The exact text contained on pages 175-176 of this year's edition of The Contrails is seen here.)

Leadership

“The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice as to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others, cannot fail to inspire in them respect for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests disrespect towards others, especially his subordinates, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.” 

Lieutenant General John M. Schofield, USA (from his graduation address to the West Point class of 1879)

“The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.”

General Colin L. Powell, USA

“No man is fit to command another that cannot take care of himself.”

William Penn

“Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself and let your troops see that you don’t in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same.

Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide.”

German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel

“Require nothing unreasonable of your officers and men, but see that whatever is required be punctually complied with. Reward and punish every man according to his merit, without partiality or prejudice; hear his complaints; if well founded, redress them; if otherwise, discourage them in order to prevent frivolous ones. Discourage vice in every shape, and impress upon the mind of every man, from the first to the lowest, the importance of cause, and what it is they are contending for.”

President George Washington

“Remember that it is the actions, and not the commission, that make the officer, and that there is more expected from him than his title.”

President George Washington